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Aspen Olympian Katie Monahan to retire from racing

Aspen Times Staff Report

Aspen resident Katie Monahan, a two-time Olympian whose 10-year U.S. Ski Team career included a third in World Cup super G at St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1999, announced Friday that she will retire from racing.

After missing three of the last four seasons due to knee injuries, Monahan, 30, rehabbed and trained at Mt. Hood, Ore., this summer before coming to her decision, according to the U.S. Ski Team.

“This was my choice. I could’ve kept on racing but this was something my heart was telling me,” Monahan said in a written statement to the Ski Team. “I always did it because I loved skiing and racing.”

“It was a hard and emotional decision to make.”

Monahan bounced back from knee injuries dating back to 1999 to compete in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, where she was 17th in super G, but she injured her left anterior cruciate ligament midway through last season and missed the final two months of the 2003 World Cup season.

One of the U.S. Women’s Ski Team’s top super G racers, Monahan returned to training at Mt. Hood in August facing another lengthy rehab situation. “And I just felt I didn’t want to sustain it anymore,” she said. “I know what’s involved and I knew it would be a grind this season, probably just to finish 30th. My knee was great and I felt I skied well, but…”

Monahan grew up in Aspen and Carbondale, and got her start in ski racing near Glenwood Springs with Sunlight’s junior program. She attended school in Aspen through her freshman year at AHS, then enrolled in an elite ski academy in Waitsfield, Vt., the Green Mountain Valley School, as a sophomore.

She made the leap to the U.S. Ski Team after a post-graduate year at GMVS, and in 1992 made her World Cup debut in Vail with a 22nd place finish in super G.

Monahan enjoyed her best World Cup season in 1999 as she started the season with her first top-10 (eighth in super G at California’s Mammoth Mountain) and topped things by finishing third in another super G at St. Moritz, Switzerland. That winter Monahan also won the super G and combined gold medals at the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine National Championships in Utah.

But her string of injuries began that fall, in an October 1999, with a knee injury sustained in a training crash in Switzerland. Knee and leg injuries continued to plague her into last season.

This would have been Monahan’s 11th season on the U.S. Ski Team; in addition to the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, she competed in the 1997 and 1999 World Championships.

Currently taking classes at the Aspen area campus of Colorado Mountain College, Monahan says she’s uncertain about her future, whether it might be medical school, coaching or something else, according to the U.S. Ski Team statement.

“My primary goal right now is to finish college,” she said. “I haven’t narrowed things down yet and it’s fun to dream about my next endeavor.”

She thanked all her coaches and teammates for her decade-plus on the ski team, noting, “I couldn’t have asked for better coaches or teammates. Thanks for believing in me.”

U.S. women’s downhill/super G head coach Alex Hoedlmoser praised Monahan as “the perfect teammate.”

“Katie was easy to coach and such a strong competitor,” Hoedlmoser said. “She also was so good to have around because she really is team-oriented and we will miss that kind of friendship and leadership. We were hoping she’d be back; we certainly wish her all the best.”


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