Hallat excited for post-retirement life 

Paralympic medallist strong in final season

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SCOTT GRANT/COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE - hanging up the boot Canadian Paralympian Matt Hallat officially announced his retirement from competition last week.
  • photo by Scott Grant/courtesy of the Canadian paralympic committee
  • hanging up the boot Canadian Paralympian Matt Hallat officially announced his retirement from competition last week.

Matt Hallat feels his best seasons will be behind him when the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games officially begin in PyeongChang, South Korea.

So the standing skier is arguably making sure his best seasons are his final ones.

"I didn't have everything it was going to take to get me to Korea," he said. "This is sort of right."

The standing skier, who had his right leg amputated when he was five after being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, recently placed third in slalom at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) alpine championships at Panorama last month. He won silver in the standing downhill at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi last February.

"It was sort of my plan all along with the World Championships in Canada," Hallat said. "It was a perfect opportunity to move on. I thought about it, for sure, after Sochi, but I wanted to finish up at home.

"It's been a long time and I've really enjoyed it, but I'm excited to do other things now."

Hallat is a three-time Paralympian, improving steadily each time out. He finished no higher than 31st in Torino in 2006, improved to 18th in the super-G here in Whistler in 2010 and hit the top 10 twice in Sochi, including his silver.

To cap his career by hitting the IPC podium on home soil, he said, was on par with accomplishments at the Paralympic level.

"It was amazing," he said. "It's a lifetime accomplishment. I worked a lot, put in a lot of time to get there. I learned a lot of things the hard way along the way.

"In the last two years, I really feel I nailed my performance. I did really well in Sochi and I did really well most of this year as well. It all came together at the absolute right moments and at the absolute right time."

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club member described tough conditions at Panorama as he sought to haul in a medal. However, his experience at the mountain shone through, even as he had nerves from first-run success and knowing it would be his final run.

"The hill is obviously very difficult and the conditions that day were extremely hard," he said. "I knew that the nature of the hill was going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of people.

"For me, it was just going what I always do. The hard part was before the race and in between the two runs where I had to deal with being third after the first run and putting the bullseye a bit on your back."

Hallat, who turned 31 on Monday (April 13), is getting set to finish his business degree at Simon Fraser University. He's also getting set to focus on Peak Yacht Detailing, a business he runs in Vancouver with his wife.

"All possibilities are open. And kind of scary," he said.



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