Canadian cross-country skier Scott retires

Updated: April 13, 2006, 9:52 AM ET
Associated Press

CALGARY -- Canadian cross-country skiing is losing its trailblazer.

Beckie Scott, a two-time Olympic medalist who championed drug-free competition, announced her retirement Wednesday.

"I can no longer sustain the incredible amount of focus and dedication, and commitment, the energy and time it takes to be successful at a high, high level," an emotional Scott told a news conference.

"It's just time to say goodbye."

Scott was the first North American to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, taking bronze at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. But after both Russians who finished ahead of Scott in the five-kilometer race were later caught in blood doping tests, she was eventually awarded the gold.

On Wednesday, she said the resolution of that fight was the most satisfying part of her career off the snow -- even though she never wanted to become known as a champion for anti-doping.

"It wasn't so much for me personally this gold medal," she said. "What I had done was help rewrite the history books: that these athletes were not going down in Olympic history as champions. They were going to suffer consequences for what they'd done and I had played a role in that, a significant role. I felt very happy with that."

Scott says the pinnacle of her career was capturing bronze in Salt Lake City.

"I can't remember ever feeling as happy, as thrilled with a race as I was with that bronze medal," she said. "We celebrated it as if it was gold."

In February, Scott was elected to represent athletes on the International Olympic Committee. She will have full IOC membership status during her eight-year term and hopes to be able to lobby for more integrity in sport.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press