Goldsack swaps trails for bright lights
The final act of Drew Goldsack’s ski career has come to a close, yet the bright lights of Hollywood beckon.
The two-time cross-country skiing Olympian announced his retirement from the sport Wednesday (July 18), and has accepted a job with Modern City Entertainment as an associate film producer.
“This wasn’t the way I saw myself coming to this decision. At the end of the season I didn’t feel like retiring, but there were a lot of different factors pushing it,” Goldsack said.
Injuries, funding and new opportunities all factored into his decision. A brutal crash last season left him with lingering shoulder pain, hindering his training and results. Goldsack, 30, also lost his carded athlete status, cutting off his government funding. Weighing these factors against a new opportunity in the film industry, he decided to leave the sport.
“The timing was right. I struggled back and forth with the decision. I love to ski and love the lifestyle, but on the other hand I had this great opportunity. I thought maybe I could ski another year and nothing would change, but I didn’t want to pass on this other opportunity.”
He’s been given the chance by long-time friend Bill Erfurth to work in film as an associate producer on the upcoming documentary Heroes Behind the Badge.
“It’s an interesting field and the production side is similar to the athlete lifestyle… I felt a lot of my skills would be able to transfer over,” Goldsack said.
Goldsack burst onto the scene with a first-place finish in the sprint at the U23 championships and made his way onto the World Cup circuit in 2004. He made his Olympic debut two years later, finishing 31st at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.
He also skied for Canada in Vancouver, where he finished 40th in the sprint. He’s been an influential member of the ski community for some time. Last season, he recorded a career-best fourth place finish on the World Cup in the team sprint when partnered with Len Valjas. Despite the success, his season was marred by injury and disappointment.
“This is not how I saw things happening. I had one of my best results on the World Cup, but the season was disappointing. Things didn’t go my way,” he said.
While Beckie Scott and Sara Renner were leading Canada’s women’s team, Goldsack was part of a young men’s team that included Devon Kershaw, George Grey, Chris Jeffries and Dan Roycroft.
“I’ll most miss the time on the road with the team and the good times with them. I definitely have fond memories hanging out with the team and seeing others perform. Seeing Devon succeed and hanging out in coffee shops in Europe I’ll miss,” Goldsack said.
On the track, he was a consistent performer, but off the track he helped shape the future of the sport. Goldsack served as the Cross Country Canada athlete representative for the past five years, where he was a strong voice for his fellow athletes. He regrets not standing up for himself as a young athlete,
“One of the biggest things for me is the changes we were able to make to the organization. We’d talk about leaving the sport better set up for younger athletes to perform,” Goldsack said.
As the athlete rep, Goldsack said Cross Country Canada had problems when he first began, however, many of those have changed. The national team went through five coaches in five years, and was plagued by logistical issues, but Goldsack said the athletes fought for better conditions.
“When we were young skiers, the organization had problems. We spent time and effort asking for changes to help athletes perform,” Goldsack said. “We sorted out the coaching situation to fit the team well and the athletes were listened to and we got what we were asking for.
“Things changed for the men’s team and the organization has come around. Luckily, it made a huge difference in the last few years. That’s a great feeling. Now there’s a different mood around the team.”
Reminiscing about Goldsack’s U23 win over the best in the world, Kershaw said he’ll miss his good buddy on the team and credits Goldsack with making changes to the organization in the best interest of athletes.
“Drew had a huge impact on the team as the athlete rep. He deeply cares about the health of cross-country skiing in Canada and has done some amazing work,” Kershaw said.
He still wants to stay involved with the ski community as a volunteer coach, and will work with Stoneham Clothing, bringing high-fashion ski clothes to Canada. He believes skiing will always be part of his life.
“I’m happiest with the life that skiing has provided for me. Being a skier and an Olympian has given me a reason to live in Canmore for the past 11 years and be a part of the community.”
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