Hay River’s Brendan Green has reached the final finish line in a storied 14-year career as a world-class biathlete.
Green officially retired following a World Cup relay race in Canmore, Alta., on Feb. 8.
It was an emotional few days as he approached his final competitive race.
“This whole week, leading into this World Cup and the whole race, I was trying not to cry,” he said in an interview following the race.
“You see someone on the sideline, an old coach, and it would bring back lots of emotion. What a special way to end it here in Canmore, where it all began, in front of friends and family and my whole team.
“It was a really special race and an amazing way to finish.”
Green’s relay team finished 10th in his final race, as he skied the anchor leg of the 4×7.5-kilometre men’s relay.
“I knew it was a decision that I was going to have to make sooner rather than later and the last few seasons of racing have been challenging for various reasons,” he stated of retiring in written comments sent to The Hub, noting he suffered a shoulder injury this past summer.
It required surgery that ended up being more complicated than anticipated.
“It’s been a difficult injury to recover from and despite my best efforts I am currently not able to race at a level that I expect from myself,” he stated.
“That aside, it’s been a great career with lots of amazing years, experiences, and awesome people, which is what I will remember. Every athlete’s career has to come to an end at some point.
“Now is my time and I am ready and excited to begin a new chapter in life.”
Green first represented Canada at the World Youth Championships in 2005, where he won a relay silver medal. He was also a bronze medalist in the men’s relay at the 2007 World Junior Championships.
The 32-year-old had been a member of the men’s national biathlon team since 2007, which was also the year he won gold at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse in cross-country skiing.
Green’s best result as a senior biathlete was at the 2016 World Championships in Norway, where he helped the men’s relay team to a bronze medal.
That is perhaps the pinnacle of his career, he said.
“That’s the dream moment that you train for. So to be on the podium in Oslo was an incredible experience.”
His career was also highlighted by appearances at three Winter Olympics, where he managed two top-10 finishes – 10th in the men’s relay in 2010 in Vancouver and ninth in the men’s mass start race in Russia in 2014.
When he looks back on his career, Green stated in his email it’s the hardships he faced that shaped him most as an athlete.
“For me, this was mostly in the form of overcoming injury,” he stated. “Those experiences, although difficult at the time, I think are in part what helped bring me success.
“There are so many lessons you learn and realizations you make when you’re at the bottom and building yourself back up again.
“Some of my best years of racing came after my most difficult injury.”
Green expressed thanks to everyone who helped him in his athletic career, including his family, his coaches, his teammates and Hay River.
“There are so many people in the North that dedicated valuable time and resources to help me achieve my sporting dreams,” he stated.
And he especially thanked his fiance Rosanna Crawford, a member of Canada’s national biathlon team, who will also be retiring after the World Championships in March.
“It helps to be able to do this job with your best friend by your side the entire time. Without her, I definitely wouldn’t have been as successful or made it in this sport as long.”
Green stated he is very proud of his career and what he was able to achieve in biathlon.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced so many great years within this sport, among so many amazing individuals,” he stated.
Green has no finalized plans for his life now that he is retired from competitive biathlon.
“It’s an exciting but also scary transition,” he stated. “I have a few ideas of what I would like to do, but pieces of the puzzle are still coming together.
“I know I would also like to give back to biathlon and stay involved in some way.”