Triple Olympic champion Kuzmina decides to fully retire
Triple Olympic biathlon champion Anastasia Kuzmina has confirmed that she will fully retire ahead of the new season.
Kuzmina, 35, had decided to retire at the end of last season where she ended her career in the perfect fashion, by winning gold in the Sprint at the 2019 World Championships in Ostersund.
However she admitted that she had kept training with the idea of possibly returning to participate in some Team Relay events.
But at a press conference on Wednesday evening she reiterated her decision to retire fully from the sport.
“Six months have passed since the end of last season, I have continued to train seriously because I had this idea in mind: to help my teammates in the relays.
“My preparation went well, I feel fit, but many things have changed in my life during this time. So I started evaluating the pros and cons, so in the end I decided to end my career.
“I don't want to become a burden for my team, for my teammates and, for the preparation of the next Beijing Olympics, the generational change will be faster and it won't be bad.
“It was a very difficult decision to make and I want to thank all the biathlon fans, my family, and all those who supported me during my career in Russia and Slovakia this evening.”
Former British biathlete and Eurosport expert Mike Dixon paid homage to Kuzmina as an 'inspiration.'
"Kuzmina has been an inspiration to so many in the women's field and the sport in general." Dixon said.
"Her first Olympic gold came in the 7.5 Km Sprint at 2010 Olympics in Vancouver where only 5 weeks previously she fell on ice and broke a number of fingers on her left hand. This showed her strength of character and an indication of more to come. Only 3 days after the gold she also secured the silver medal in the Pursuit competition.
"Anastasia's training was at the toughest level and to achieve this in her earlier years whilst looking after her oldest child was a huge strain. Later for Pyongchang when her mother looked after her then two children back home it released another surge of energy for her later medals.
"Anastasia was always friendly and helpful and very modest. She paved the way for apparent outsiders, representing smaller nations to come through and take on the giants."
Kuzmina won gold in the Sprint at Vancouver in 2010, as well as silver in the Pursuit, and at Sochi in 2014.
She then won gold in the Mass Start at Pyeongchang in 2018 as well as silver in the Individual and the Pursuit.
She was the first woman ever to win gold medals in three consecutive Winter Olympic Games.