Battelle denies rumors of retirement |

Battelle denies rumors of retirement

— Freestyle moguler Ann Battelle has not retired, contrary to printed reports.

Battelle said she has not decided to end her career but believes she might know the origin of those rumors.

“I’ve always said 2002 was going to be my last Olympics,” she said.

But she never stated she was done skiing competitively.

“Frankly, I love to ski and jump,” she said before heading off to hike with a friend. “To do what I love and to do it for so long and be reasonably healthy is great.”

Battelle compared her decision on whether to retire to any other profession. She is happy where she is and sees no reason to walk away as long as she is content. If anything, her competitive drive has magnified over the years.

Freestyle coach Don St. Pierre can’t deny that. When asked if Battelle had raced down her final hill, he was skeptical of the reports.

“Many people make claims of retirement after an Olympics,” he said. “I would throw caution at that. I have a list of athletes on my team, and I include them until they stop showing up.”

A month after competing in her fourth Olympics, unprecedented for a freestyler, Battelle competed in the U.S. Freestyle Nationals at Bogus Basin Ski Area and finished fourth behind Shannon Bahrke, Hannah Hardaway and behind Michelle Roark in a tiebreaker. At this time, it was reported she was done.

After competing in the inaugural Olympics for freestyle moguls in Albertville, France, in 1992 and maintaining an excellence through Salt Lake City, it would be easy to understand why Battelle might want to walk away, but St. Pierre tells stories of her competitiveness and drive few can match.

“It’s very difficult to beat her to the hill,” the coach said. “And you’d have to stay pretty late to be the last one on the hill. Ann’s one of the more determined athlete’s you’ll find. It’s quite inspirational.”

As the 1999 and 2000 World Cup champion and the 1999 World moguls champion, Battelle has been at the top of the podium looking down. Injured in September 2000, she has been relegated to a swimming pool facing the possibility of never racing again. With both extremes, Battelle has endured the best and worst of sports and will know when to walk away. When she does, St. Pierre has hopes for what she would do.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she stuck around,” he said. “It would be great if she did. The stories she could tell would be great.”

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