Medical Condition Forces Olympic Gold Medalist And Idaho Native Farrington To Retire
Idaho native and Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington announced an unexpected retirement Thursday, just a year after winning the halfpipe snowboarding competition in Sochi.
Farrington, 25, posted her announcement on Instagram and with an ESPN.com story. Farrington says she's been diagnosed with congenital cervical stenosis, which is a degenerative spine condition.
"I thought I was too young to hear the word 'retirement,'" she told ESPN. "There's so much I still want to do in the halfpipe. I thought I'd be pushing the sport for many more years and try to make the Olympic team in 2018. But the risk of snowboarding in a halfpipe or hitting jumps is too high. It's been tough to accept, but I'm retiring from competitive snowboarding."
Farrington told ESPN she was born with the condition, but only learned about it after getting an MRI following a spill in Austria.
Farrington was raised on a ranch in Bellevue, Idaho.
"I can walk. I can still snowboard," Farrington told ESPN.com. "I just have to keep my feet on the ground. I still want to be a professional snowboarder, I just have to figure out what that means."
NBC Sports writes Farrington won gold in 2014 over "the previous three Olympic champions — Torah Bright, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter."
Farrington told ESPN had she been diagnosed sooner, she may never have competed in the Olympics let alone won a gold medal.
"The timing is crazy," Farrington told ESPN.com. "The last big halfpipe run of my career, I won [gold at the Olympics]. It's been a wild year. I had the highest high of my life to now this complete life-changer. The next quarter of my life is going to be extremely different from the first. I have to figure out how to make it just as great."