Olympic Champion Kyle Shewfelt Announces Official Retirement from Competitive Gymnastics



    
    - Shewfelt Reflects on a Successful 20-year Career and Joins Gymnastics
    Canada in Ambassadorial Role -
    

    CALGARY, May 21 /CNW/ - Surrounded by friends, teammates, coaches and
support staff, Olympic Champion Kyle Shewfelt today announced his official
retirement from competitive gymnastics, reflected on his 20-year career in the
sport and discussed plans for his future.
    Shewfelt will best be remembered for his breakthrough performance in 2004
but it's his monumental comeback from two broken legs that cemented his legacy
in the sport for so many that supported his journey to the 2008 Beijing Games.
    "Life without competitive gymnastics is going to be different, there's no
doubt about that. But, when I look back and reflect on my career, I realize
that I literally got to live my dream. That is so special. It was an
incredible journey and I have absolutely no regrets. Now, I feel the time has
come to transition my focus. I want to create a rich legacy that has an impact
on Canadians," commented Kyle.
    Revered internationally for his strong and graceful blend of artistry and
athleticism, Kyle Shewfelt's stirring gold medal performance in the floor
exercise has become the international standard since the 2004 Olympics in
Athens.
    This performance earned him the Lionel Conacher Award as the 2004
Canadian Male Athlete of the Year.
    A defining performance for Kyle also became a transcendent moment in
Canadian sport history: being the first Canadian gymnast to win a medal at an
Olympic Games opened the eyes of an entire nation to believe that it was
possible. His performance blazed a trail for a new generation of gymnasts,
fortified the depth of the Canadian team in the years to come, and sent
thousands of new kids tumbling into gyms across the Country.
    Jean-Paul Caron, CEO and President of Gymnastics Canada, believes that
Kyle's podium performance continues to be a historic and resonant moment in
Canadian sport and in the growth in participation of young gymnasts.
    "Kyle has given our sport a recognizable face in Canada: his
international success, passion and unquestionable work ethic has increased
participation and raised the profile of our sport across the country. He is an
exemplary representative for Canada, his teammates and we are excited to have
him join us in an ambassadorial role," added Caron.
    Kyle's time as a competitor in the sport hasn't been without hardship.
    During a training session at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart,
Germany, Kyle suffered a devastating injury, breaking both of his legs just
below the knees. In an instant, everything changed.
    Back in Calgary, Kyle embarked on the biggest comeback of his athletic
career - overcoming two broken legs in just 11-months to compete for Canada at
the 2008 Games.
    On August 9th, 2008, his mission was accomplished and he once again
delivered world-class performances in Beijing, his third Olympic Games.
    His comeback story was recently recognized at the 2009 Canadian Sport
Awards as the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year.
    Kyle's first coach, Kelly Manjak, who guided him from an energetic 6
year-old to an Olympic Champion, commented on Kyle's comeback and his
commitment to the sport.
    "Kyle has always exuded an unparalleled level of commitment and
dedication in his pursuits. I've never seen an athlete work as hard as Kyle to
overcome what would have been a career-ending injury for many other athletes.
His achievements in the sport, both on and off the mat, are an example for
teammates and future participants in the sport. I have no doubt he will carry
over this awesome work ethic to all his future projects," said Manjak.
    Kyle took some time to inform those in attendance of his plans and the
place that gymnastics will hold in his future.
    "I approach life with the same fervor I did in my career as a gymnast, so
I am working on many projects that encompass my many interests - broadcasting,
speaking, writing and other philanthropic projects. I am looking forward to
growing my legacy in sport and in the community," said Shewfelt.
    As mentioned earlier, Kyle will begin working as an ambassador with
Gymnastics Canada Gymnastiques, but he also will be part of the broadcasting
team covering the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Hamilton, Ontario June
1-7. Kyle plans to continue his speaking engagements with businesses and
schools as well.

    
    About Gymnastics Canada Gymnastiques
    ------------------------------------
    From athlete development to coaching and judging education, Gymnastics
Canada sets the operating standards and practices for the sport in Canada. Our
mandate is to promote and provide positive and diverse gymnastics experience
through the delivery of quality and safe gymnastics programming.

    About Agenda Sport Marketing
    ----------------------------
    
    Agenda Sport Marketing specializes in sport sponsorship consulting,
planning, brand activation and represents a group of Canada's foremost amateur
athletes including Olympic Champions Carol Huynh, Kyle Shewfelt and Duff
Gibson; two-time Paralympic Champion Earle Connor; World Champion and Olympic
silver medalists Denny Morrison and Kristina Groves; and Olympians Zach Bell
and Jessica Zelinka. For more information, please visit www.agendasport.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: For Kyle Shewfelt, Jennifer
Johnson, Agenda Sport Marketing, (403) 797-3248, jennifer@agendasport.ca

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