Canada’s Megan Imrie — known as one of this country’s “bold, beautiful biathletes” — is hanging up her biathlon rifle to crack the university books, Biathlon Canada announced this week.
One of the most driven athletes as it relates to seeking sponsorship, Imrie and four of her World Cup teammates turned heads in 2009 by peeling off their clothes to create the hugely successful “Bold, Beautiful, Biathlon” nude calendar.
Significantly underfunded compared to their international competitors, Canada’s top women biathletes developed the plan to aggressively seek additional funding opportunities leading to their home Olympics in Vancouver-Whistler 2010.
The 28-year-old Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., is now retiring from the National Biathlon Team after having competed for nearly a decade against the top athletes on the World Cup. Imrie will pursue pre-veterinary science at the University of Victoria this fall.
One of the most respected and likeable athletes on the international circuit, Imrie also represented Canada at the Sochi and Vancouver Games, along with three World Championships.
“I knew mentally and physically heading into this Olympic season that this would by my final year,” said Imrie. “Embracing that reality was a real spark for me this year. I was relaxed and just had fun. When you are having fun in sport, that is when the results come.”
And they did for the soft-spoken, yet always quotable Canuck.
Cruising under the radar, and letting her performance do the talking, Imrie enjoyed career-best results. In Sochi, she was the first woman in Canadian history to suit up for an Olympic mass start competition, which is the overall top 30 competitors of the field. Imrie qualified for every competition at the Games, and with her teammates, narrowly missed a relay podium. Earlier in the season, she finished a historic fourth with her teammates in a relay at a World Cup in France.
“Outside of the Olympics, that was the most proud I have ever been wearing the Canadian uniform,” said Imrie. “I have witnessed everyone of my teammates train through blood, sweat and tears to the breaking point. We were underdogs, but very fit this year and hungry for results. We came so close to that podium, but it wasn’t meant to be. I do believe you’ll see the Canadian biathlon women on the World Cup podium again in the very near future.”
“Megan has been a central part of our high performance program over the past two quadrennials. Her positive spirit and fierce determination made her a valuable contributor to our team performance and culture,” said Chris Lindsay, high-performance director, Biathlon Canada.
Results aside, Imrie often found herself in the media spotlight throughout the last Olympic quadrennial, thanks to her creative and edgy fundraising efforts to support her Olympic journey.
Watch Rich Mercer’s interviews with Imrie and the Bold Beautiful Biathletes:
Photo from the 2009 Bold Beautiful Biathlete Calendar.
SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles