Jeff Pain Retires from Competitive Skeleton Racing
Legendary skeleton athlete to share story across Canada beginning with military families
After nearly two decades of travelling the world representing Canada in the sport of skeleton, Jeff Pain has decided to officially retire, the Olympic silver medallist announced on Wednesday at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Pain slides into the next stage of his life as one of the most accomplished skeleton athletes in the world. The ultimate competitor, the three-time Olympian will be remembered as an athlete who pushed himself, and his teammates who battled for the podium each week, to the limits in his determined pursuit of excellence.
“Today marks the end of an incredible journey and amazing chapter in my life. I feel I have accomplished a tremendous amount in my career both on and off the ice. It has been so enjoyable and I can hardly believe the time has come to say good-bye,” the American-born Calgarian said in front of family and long-time World Cup and Olympic teammates during the media conference.
“Our sport has come a long way since the days of traveling Europe, living in cars and hostels, and so have I,” added Pain. “I am leaving with great memories, friendships and experiences that I will hold close forever, but it is now time to move on to new challenges and opportunities.”
Pain is also known for injecting his personality into the sport as one of the first athletes in the world to paint his skeleton helmet with a ‘Raging Beaver’ to represent Canada’s national animal. Identified around the world as the “Raging Beaver,” the trademark was voted best helmet at the 2010 Games, just ahead of United States goalie, Ryan Miller.
Pain has been a trailblazer for skeleton in Canada since joining the national program before it was even an Olympic sport in 1995. In his 15-year career, Pain retires having re-written the Canadian record books, and firmly established himself as one of the world’s most accomplished skeleton athletes.
His remarkable trail saw him compete in each of the last three Games since skeleton was reintroduced into the Olympic lineup in 2002. He was part of Canada’s near podium-sweep at the 2006 Olympics when he won the silver medal behind teammate, Duff Gibson, and ahead of fourth-place finisher, Paul Boehm. Pain also racked up three World Championship podium finishes, including two gold, he was a two-time Overall World Cup title winner, and he won 22 medals – 10 gold, six silver, six bronze – in his 74 World Cup appearances. He spent seven years ranked in the top-four in the world, and more than half of his World Cup finishes were in the top-six.
“Jeff has created a culture of excellence, expectation and belief for athletes in our sport that they too can get on the podium and win,” said Reid Morrison, president, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. “Jeff was a ferocious competitor who was determined to win every time he hit the start block. He has done a lot of heavy lifting for our sport and has encouraged Canadian skeleton athletes they too can achieve their dreams of winning World Championship and Olympic medals. His impact on the sport, and the future of Canadian athletes, is significant and his page in the history books may never be challenged.”
During his retirement ceremony, Pain announced he will begin sharing his story around the challenges of balancing life as a high-performance athlete and being a husband and father with Canada’s military families. Sourcing excerpts from a book he and his wife, Aly, recently co-wrote titled The Business of Marriage and Medals , Pain will share a raw and honest account of the couples marriage while dealing with tremendous sacrifice and extended time apart in addition to trying to build and maintain a successful and sustainable partnership along the way.
“Spending extended periods of time away from family and friends while representing our country with passion and pride in an intense environment is something I believe athletes share with members of the military,” said Pain, who spent time one-on-one with legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus, to cite input on balancing sport and family as part of his preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “One of my biggest fears throughout my career was how my skeleton life, and distance away from family, would have on my kids’ lives. Mr. Nicklaus was extremely gracious in putting things into perspective for me about the intricacies of family and competition. I now hope to share this common bond with more Canadians.”
Possessing a degree in Landscape Architecture, Pain will also continue to seek additional opportunities
within the sport community and many of the partners he recognized on Wednesday that helped propel him onto the international podium.
“When I first began in the sport, we lived out of cars and scraped together pennies to participate in a sport we loved,” said Pain. “Everything changed with our inclusion into the Olympic Games. I simply could not have kept up with the top athletes in the world without the generous support of Sport Canada, Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Can Fund and B2Ten. There are so many people that helped me achieve my dreams and I’ll be forever grateful, but nobody played a more important role than my family. I truly could not have done this incredible ride without you. I thank everyone and will remember your support forever.”
For more information on Jeff Pain and his career, please visit http://www.jeffpain.ca on the Internet.