Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two-time world champion Lambiel retires at 23

Two-time world champion Stephane Lambiel retired from competitive figure skating Thursday, citing a lingering hip injury.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalist will now perform only in exhibitions.

"This decision was taken after a long time of reflection," the 23-year-old Lambiel said at a news conference in his native Switzerland. "I have made a good choice and made my health my priority. Now I'm going to turn the page."

Lambiel moved to the United States over the summer to live and train, after finishing fifth at the 2008 world championships in Goteborg, Sweden. He had been working in Wayne, N.J., with Ukrainian coach Viktor Petrenko, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist.

But Lambiel was reportedly behind schedule preparing his routines for the new season and had pulled out of upcoming Grand Prix events in Canada and France.

He said he had been able to train only at 90 percent because of an adductor muscle injury.

"It's seven months that I've been going to see the best doctors," Lambiel said. "I still have the pain and it's really not possible to train like that. I didn't have the ability to reach my objectives. My goal was to be world champion and Olympic champion."

Lambiel was world champion in 2005 and 2006. He won silver at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, behind Evgeny Plushenko of Russia.

He was 16 when he skated for Switzerland at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

Lambiel said he still has a passion for skating and entertaining fans, and would return to the ice in exhibition productions.

"I still want to give my best possible performance," he said.

No comments: