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Canadian skier Erik Guay will not compete at the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Alpine Canada says that Guay was not able to return to healthy form due to continuing severe back pain.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision to stay home from the Olympics,” said Guay. “Despite everything we did, I do not feel I can attend the Games and be at a competitive performance level that I would be proud representing Canada with.
“I am so thankful for the support behind me. My family, fans and sponsors have been incredible to me and I cannot thank all of them enough for their never-ending backing. I will be cheering on all of Team Canada from home, especially my teammates at Alpine Canada.”
The three-time Olympian from Montreal is Canada’s most accomplished alpine ski racer, having reached the World Cup podium on 25 occasions and has three world championship medals.
The 36-year-old revealed in December he had a ruptured disc in his back, and would skip a couple of World Cups to recover.
Wednesday’s announcement comes two days after Guay was named to Canada’s 14-athlete alpine ski team for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
After competing in Val Gardena, Italy earlier this season, Guay expressed regrets about returning to the hill without taking the proper time to recover.
However, as recently as mid-January, Guay indicated he was still planning to ski in the Olympics despite his back pain.
The decision means Guay has skied his last Olympic race. He confirmed on a conference call that he has no plans to make a run to return at the 2022 Games in Beijing.
“I can definitely say I will not be there,” Guay said. “This was my final shot at the Olympic Games. As far as whether I’ll continue next year or not, that’s still a question mark. I think the remainder of the season is probably going to be finished for me.”
Guay said that back issues of varying degrees have plagued him throughout the season. Guay added he knew that things weren’t progressing the way he hoped, but he wanted to wait until the last minute before making the final call on the Olympics.
“When I’m free-skiing it’s not too bad, but the moment that I get into a downhill position — in my tuck — I have pretty severe pain in my back,” Guay said. “It catches me within four or five turns.”
World Champion <a href=”https://twitter.com/erikguay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@erikguay</a> made a tough decision today, pulls out of <a href=”https://twitter.com/pyeongchang2018?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@pyeongchang2018</a> to continue healing his back.<br>Heal well Erik! <a href=”https://t.co/iPGy83Xpdd”>https://t.co/iPGy83Xpdd</a>
Guay said he hopes to get stronger over the coming months and get his back in a “good place” before making a decision on plans for next season.
“It would be a shame to go out this way though,” he said. “I have it in my mind that I’d like to continue next year.”