Canadian Mercedes Nicoll, who recently completed her fourth Olympic Games, announced her retirement from competitive halfpipe snowboarding on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old from Whistler, B.C., took part in her first World Cup competition in 1999 before representing Canada at the Olympics in Turin, Italy (2006), Vancouver (2010), Sochi, Russia (2014) and the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February.
Her best result at the Winter Games was a sixth-place showing in Vancouver.
Born in North Vancouver, Nicoll also earned eight World Cup podium finishes, including two silver medals.
“I’m a total mix of emotions right now. I feel great closure from the 2018 Games, but I’m sad to be leaving the team,” said Nicoll. “I’m walking away with it being my choice, not an injury or not qualifying, I’m walking away with my head held high.”
Proponent of mental health
Nicoll missed a year-and-a-half of competitive snowboarding after suffering a concussion in practice at the 2014 Olympics. She also endured a bruised right hip and face, sprained ribs and two displaced vertebrae in her neck.
Nicoll, who suffers from depression, has since been a major proponent of mental health causes and a key spokesperson for Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative.
“I look back now with no regrets, my crash in 2014 let me learn more about myself, how driven, focused, stubborn and dedicated I am. I can honestly say I’m proud of my accomplishments in my competitive career in halfpipe.”
While no longer a competitor on the national team, Nicoll plans to continue her involvement with Canadian snowboarding. She will also remain in her role as president on the athlete’s council, a subcommittee aimed at giving national team members a voice on the Canada Snowboard board of directors.
“The future is wide open,” she said. “I’ll be at Whistler Blackcomb doing the ride with an Olympian program, looking forward to possibly mentoring/coaching as well as more on-camera hosting.”