Ending on a high note: Greatest athlete farewells

After years of competition and thousands of hours spent training, there comes a time for athletes to hang up their skis, shoes, skates, and sticks as they step away from a monumental part of their lives.

Ending on a high note, as these Team Canada athletes did, can make retirement a little easier  to walk into when it’s time to say one final goodbye to their sport.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (2018)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada celebrate

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada celebrate during the venue ceremony after winning the gold medal in the ice dance, free dance figure skating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

After 22 years of skating together, Virtue and Moir had their final competitive performance at PyeongChang 2018. Having finished second twice at Sochi 2014, the pair had a golden comeback four years later, winning gold in the team and ice dance events to become the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.

Alex Gough (2018)

Gough cheering holding Canadian flag

Team Canada’s Alex Gough celebrates winning Bronze in Ladies Single Luge at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, February 12, 2018. The medal marked Team Canada’s first even luge medal in history. Photo/David Jackson

Gough came so close to making history at Sochi 2014, but instead had the disappointment of two fourth place finishes to drive her forward. At PyeongChang 2018, she finally wrote her name into the Canadian record books. A bronze medal in the women’s singles event made her the country’s first Olympic medallist in luge. Two days later, she captured silver with her relay teammates to round off her career.

Roseline Filion (2016)

Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion at the women's synchronized 10-meter platform diving final in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion at the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving final in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The three-time Olympian finished her career with a second straight Olympic bronze medal with longtime diving partner Meaghan Benfeito, overcoming a broken foot suffered in December 2015 to do so. Sitting fifth heading into their final dive, the duo saved their best for last to reach the podium in the 10m synchro event at Rio 2016.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton (2016)

Theisen-Eaton celebrating after event

Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton, centre, celebrates a successful high jump event during the women’s heptathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2016. She won Olympic bronze the next night.

Theisen-Eaton had won silver at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, so it was surprising to find her in sixth place after the first day of heptathlon competition at Rio 2016. But with a couple of clutch performances on day two, she leapfrogged her opponents to end her career on the podium, her bronze was Canada’s first Olympic medal won by a woman in a combined event.

Alex Harvey (2019)

Alex Harvey celebrating

Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neige Que. gets emotional as he steps on the podium after finishing second in the men’s 15 km mass start classic, Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the COOP FIS cross country World Cup in Quebec City. Harvey is competing in his final World Cup event this weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

In the last race of his illustrious cross-country skiing career, Harvey captured a World Cup silver in the 15km freestyle pursuit. It couldn’t have come in a better place – on home soil in Quebec City, as he had one last goodbye on the podium to the country and the sport.

Brent Hayden (2012)


The Canadian swimmer captured a long awaited Olympic bronze at the London 2012 games in his final 100m freestyle race, Canada’s first ever Olympic medal in the event.

Clara Hughes (2010)

A six-time Olympic medallist, Clara Hughes closed out her illustrious speed skating career on home soil at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where she won bronze in the 5000m.


Alexandre Bilodeau (2014)

Alex Bilodeau ended his Olympic career on top, becoming the first freestyle skier to successfully defend his title.


Jennifer Heil (2011)

The Olympic champion wrapped-up a prolific freestyle skiing career by grabbing 2011 World Championship gold in both the single and dual mogul events.

Jennifer Heil