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Canadian squash star Carolyn Russell announces retirement
Carolyn Russell of Winnipeg one of Canada’s most consistently successful professional squash players announced her retirement at age 36 today.
The Vancouver-based Russell competed five times at the world team championships helping Canada to a top-10 finish on four occasions. She earned two individual bronze medals at the world university championships, in 1998 and 2002, also contributing to fourth pace finishes by Canada in the team event. She was the 2006 Canadian champion and third the following year.
However the career highlight was the team gold at the 1999 Pan Am Games in her hometown. She repeated the exploit at the 2007 Pan Ams in Rio.
‘’It was my home club with Canadian fans and there was national TV coverage,’’ she said. ‘’It was one of the first really big events for me. It was a lot of fun, we were all really proud to beat that American team. It’s that kind of competition I’m going to miss the most. I just loved competing.’’
Few players have enjoyed such a lengthy career in this very physically demanding sport.
‘’Obviously I was dedicated to fitness but I also had a good balance between school, work and squash,’’ said Russell. ‘’I certainly took a different route from a lot of other players. It was a tough decision to stop but I’m ready to focus more on my career and personal life.’’
In 2009, she made a remarkable comeback from back surgery. She was operated on March 20, 2008, and was off the court until August. She was named to the Canadian squad for the world team championships and helped 10th seeded Canada to a ninth place finish which was four spots better than in 2006.
Canadian national team women’s coach Shauna Flath of Vancouver was a teammate and Russell’s coach the past few years in Vancouver.
‘’She was one of the toughest players on the court,’’ said Flath. ‘’If you beat her, you had to earn that win. She fought until the end in every match. A real inspiration for our younger players. She showed the intensity and commitment it took to be a top player.’’
Russell is a project director with Multi Sport Centre of Excellence Foundation in Burnaby, B.C., a sport medicine athlete development centre. She is a graduate from Queen’s University with a Masters of Science in engineering and received her MBA at the University of Toronto in 2004.
Also a bike racer and triathlete, it isn’t surprising Russell can excel at a high level in several sports. As a youngster she dabbled in ringuette, field hockey, badminton, soccer and, of course, squash.
‘’The reason squash won out from all that is because it is a sport that offers a lot of opportunity,’’ she said. ‘’As a kid I made a junior team at 12-years-old and started getting a chance to travel to tournaments across Canada.’’
That dedication to excellence on and off the playing court will surely continue to provide plenty of opportunities to Russell in the future.
Contact: Louis Daignault
Tel: (613) 824-9475
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