Penticton’s Andi Naude is retiring from freestyle skiing.
In a statement from Freestyle Canada on April 24, the 23-year-old Olympian said after taking time off from competing last year to study veterinary medicine, she has decided it is a good time to retire.
“I knew coming out of the Games last year that I was going to take a year off no matter what, so I decided to apply to a bunch of different vet medicine schools in the U.K. just to see what my chances of getting in were, and luckily managed to get a spot at my dream school, the Royal Veterinary College in England. Everything sort of just fell into place after that,” Naude said in a press release.
Naude, who has been living in England for almost a full year, said she is loving every single day.
“I’m just thrilled to be part of something else I can really work hard towards. “I dreamed of going into vet med, so to be here is a dream come true,” Naude wrote. “It made my decision to retire a whole lot easier, because I am focusing on something I love just as much as moguls skiing. I feel fortunate to be in this position.”
In 2012 at age 16, Naude competed with the national moguls team for seven years. She skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events during her career, according to Freestyle Canada.
Her last competition was on March 18, 2018 in Megève, France, where she finished the dual moguls event in fifth place.
Naude has won 10 World Cup medals, eight of those in single and two in dual moguls events.
She made the podium three times on Canadian soil, with her third-place finish in Calgary on Jan. 30, 2016 when she stood with gold and silver medallists Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe.
Named World Cup rookie of the year in 2013, Naude finished in the top five in the overall rankings in each of her last four seasons on the World Cup circuit, from 2015 to 2018.
Placing sixth in women’s moguls at the 2018 Olympics, Naude also competed in three world championships. She got her best result in Norway in 2013 with a seventh-place finish in dual moguls.
“Representing Canada at the Games alongside my best friends was a dream come true,” Naude said. “Sweeping the podium a couple of times with Canadian teammates was a highlight. Actually, I really enjoyed the whole thing.”
“What I will miss the most is my teammates, the travel, the daily routine of really pushing yourself 110 per cent every day in training, those long days on the hill pushing myself and working hard.”