Dionne to retire

Freestyle skier Deidra Dionne, an aerialist who has won Olympic and world championship medals, will announce her retirement later this week.

VANCOUVER — Freestyle skier Deidra Dionne, an aerialist who has won Olympic and world championship medals, will announce her retirement later this week.

A source told The Canadian Press on Monday that Dionne will make the announcement during a news conference Friday in Vancouver.

Dionne, 27, was in a fight to earn a spot on the Canadian freestyle ski team that will compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was dropped to the national development team this spring after failing to crack the top 10 in any World Cup events last season.

She won a bronze medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and battled back from a serious neck injury to compete at the 2006 Turin Games, where she was 22nd.

Dionne, who was born in North Battleford, Sask, and raised in Red Deer was a bronze medallist at the 2001 and 2003 world championships. She was almost paralyzed when she injured her neck in a training accident in September 2005.

Dionne needed surgery to have a titanium plate and a bone graft from her right hip to fuse two vertebra together. Recovering from the injury took about two years out of her career, time other competitors used to refine their technique.

In a recent interview, Dionne said while her neck has healed physically, there are still mental scars.

“I deal with it on a daily basis,” she said. “I’m one of those people in a sport of fear that I don’t like to deal with my feelings.

“Now I’m learning it’s best for me to say the neck injury has changed me as an athlete. It makes me more tentative, it makes me more nervous, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be successful.”

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