Langley’s Courtney Shmyr won gold in the 500 metre short track speed skating competition at the Canada Winter Games in 2011. (file)

Langley’s Courtney Shmyr won gold in the 500 metre short track speed skating competition at the Canada Winter Games in 2011. (file)

Shmyr calls it a career

Langley speed skater and gold medal winner hangs up her skates

Langley’s “golden girl” has announced her retirement.

Courtney Shmyr acquired the nickname after the short track speed skater struck gold in the 500 metre short track speed skating competition at the Canada Winter Games in 2011.

It was Team BC’s second gold medal of the Games and it was also Shmyr’s second medal thanks to the bronze the Walnut Grove Secondary grad won the day before in the 1,500 metre race.

Shmyr said she wrote up her announcement four months before she posted it online.

“It was a tough decision,” the 27-year-old said.

She wanted to leave while the sport was still fun rather than stay too long and end up losing her affection for it.

“I still love it,” Shmyr told the Langley Advance Times.

READ MORE: Shmyr a golden girl at Canada Winter Games

READ MORE: Canada Winter Games: A medal of each colour for Shmyr

She recalled the moment she put on her first pair of speed skates, more than 20 years ago, she knew it was for her.

“It was love at first skate,” Shmyr recalled.

“This sport has allowed me to travel the world, meet some amazing people, and taught me some very valuable life lessons,” she added.

She thanked her family, friends, “support staff, and anyone else that has been part of my skating journey.”

She singled out her grandfather, parents and great-uncle for special mention.

“Thank-you for pushing me towards goals I didn’t know I was capable to achieve, and giving me the strength to strive for more.”

Shmyr admitted to some mixed feelings, observing there were some goals she did not achieve, in particular skating for Canada at the Olympics.

But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“I look back on my skating career knowing that I poured so much blood, sweat and tears into every goal I set, despite the setbacks..”

She represented her country as a Team Canada athlete at the World Cup and World Junior Championships, something she described as “an honour in and of itself.”

“As this chapter of my life closes, I am filled with gratitude and sadness. It is sad that I’m distancing myself from this sport, but I am so grateful for the many years that speed skating has been part of my life.”

She hopes to go back to school to become an ultrasound technician, and is thinking about coaching.

Her alma mater, the Langley Blades have extended an invitation.

“I would love to give back to the sport.”

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