Canadian alpine skiers Chris Williamson and Matt Hallat have announced their retirements from competitive ski racing.
Williamson, is one of the world's most decorated para-alpine athletes, and announced his retirement at the Sport Chek Canadian Nationals Championships in Mont Ste. Anne Quebec on 27 March 2015 bringing to an end his 17-year career.
Most recently Williamson won a bronze medal in slalom at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in the visually-impaired category, with guide Nick Brush, having fought back from injuries sustained in 2012 and 2013.
Williamson competed in the visually-impaired category for 17 seasons, which makes him the longest standing member of the Canadian Para Alpine team, as well as the most decorated competitor earning gold, silver and two bronze medals at the Paralympic Winter Games, 13 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships medals, eight IPC Crystal Globes (14 disciplines titles) and 105 IPC World Cup podiums, 56 of which were victories.
“These past 17-years have been amazing,” said Williamson. “There has been a lot of physical turmoil, just with the number of injuries and surgeries I have had to deal with. The most amazing feeling is putting on that yellow speed suit; It is one of those things. Every once and a while there is a sport that has a certain colour and with Alpine Canada it has always been that yellow speed suit. I am so honoured to have been able to wear it and race for my country.”
Aged five, Hallat had his leg amputated due to Ewing's sarcoma and began ski racing soon after however it was during a fun race at nine years old that his passion and love for the sport was confirmed. One of his out-riggers got stuck in the start gate and the only conclusion he could draw at the time was sabotage. Hallat laughs now but states: "I was mad which I believe shows my competitiveness which has translated throughout the rest of my career."
Hallat has been with the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team for 13 years, participating in three Paralympic Winter Games, a two-time IPC World Cup podium finisher and most recently the slalom bronze medallist at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships.
His last run as a competitive ski racer was Slalom at the Sport Chek Canadian Nationals Championship where he finished third.