Drew Neilson Retires From Competitive Snowboard, Turns to Coaching
Snowboard cross legend takes on new duties as technical coach for the Canadian Snowboard Team
Snowboard cross legend and two-time Olympian Drew Neilson of North Vancouver, B.C., has announced his retirement from competitive snowboarding. Drew will lend his knowledge and expertise to further develop Canadian snowboarders as the new technical coach on the Canadian Snowboard Team. Neilson is currently in Hintertux, Austria at a training camp fulfilling his new duties.
“I am definitely looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Having the opportunity to remain involved in the sport that I love most will be great for me. We have a great team and a solid group of promising riders, and I feel that my knowledge and success in the sport can be helpful in their careers,” said Neilson, 36. “The friendships that I have maintained and valued while competing all over the world the last 14 years will stay with me forever, and I am thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had throughout my career.”
Neilson’s addition to the Canadian Snowboard Team comes at a good time now that Canada Snowboard enters a new Olympic cycle working towards Sochi 2014. Neilson will be working with current national team members to further develop their technical skills, mentored by head coach Marcel Mathieu.
“We are really excited to have Drew joining our coaching crew. He is well respected by the riders, both current national team riders and upcoming stars. He has tremendous hands on experience in the sport, and we feel that his addition to the coaching staff will help improve our riders,” said Mathieu.
Neilson’s years as an athlete were stellar. During his outstanding career, he won nine races on the FIS World Cup Tour and stepped on the podium 10 other times in 62 starts. Neilson, one of the very first snowboarders to participate in the sport, took the victory in his first ever World Cup race, held at Whistler on December 14, 1997.
Neilson won the Crystal Globe as the 2007 overall snowboard cross World Cup champion and took home the bronze medal at the 2003 FIS World Championships in Kreichberg, Austria. He took part in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games, posting his best Olympic result in Vancouver finishing in 11th position. Other accolades include gold medals at the 2000 ESPN Winter X Games and Gravity Games, multiple victories on the ISF Swatch World Boardercross Tour and winning 06/07 Jeep King of the Mountain World Pro Tour.
In 2008, Neilson suffered a dislocated wrist while downhill mountain biking in North Vancouver, an injury that required many surgeries. Neilson’s well documented comeback was remarkable and despite the setback, he managed to qualify for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, held in his very own backyard at Cypress Mountain.
Neilson is married to Amy and the father of two little boys, Caleb 6 and Elias 2. Neilson and his family currently reside in North Vancouver, British Columbia.