Swedish speed skier Kajsa Kling, who this past season took time off from competition to treat depression, has made the decision to not return to the World Cup and thus finishes her ski racing career.
Kling made her debut in the World Cup in 2007 at the age of 18 and ran a total of 179 World Cup competitions during her career. In total, she managed to finish inside of the top 10 31 times, including two podium finishes in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Lake Louise, Canada.
In 2013, Kajsa earned the first World Cup podium of her career when she shocked the competition by charging to second place in St. Moritz Super-G from start number 44. In 2016, Kajsa managed to climb on the podium once more when she finished third in the downhill in Lake Louise.
“Kajsa has had a great career and it has been a privilege to be able to be part of it,” said Tommy Eliasson Winter, Alpine Manager at Ski Team Sweden Alpine. “Kajsa is seen by us in the national team as an extremely driven, colorful, and wise sportswoman who managed to create opportunities for himself to reach her full potential. The national team loses both a personality and an extremely skilled athlete, but Kajsa will always have a place or a home with us in the alpine family.”
Kajsa Kling’s open letter can be read in its entirety below.
I have made the decision to end my alpine career. It is with mixed feelings that the decision has been made but I feel in my heart that it is correct. I have turned and turned it around in many ways, and I have finally decided that I’m done. I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished and succeeded in and am very grateful to all the people who have been there throughout my career. Without all of them, nothing would have been possible and I will carry with me everything I received forever. I have been a part of the national team for 10 years with mixed results and ups and downs. I have pushed myself as hard and as much as I can with the conditions I have had. In addition to the experiences in the sport, I have come to know amazing people and we have together created memories for life. These are the people and memories I will remember most from my career. It’s a time that I’ll look back on with joy, though the last two years took more power and energy than it actually gave.
The year 2017 was the heaviest year in my life. I had driven both body and mind to the bottom and needed to recover from training, competition, pressure, and all that is involved in elite efforts. Being an elite skier is about staying as close as possible to the maximum, but the line between what is max and what is too much is hard to balance. I have felt recovered for a long time where I feel good and the body responds as I want when I exercise, but the motivation I thought would come back as I feel better has not. The drive I’ve had and still have within me is aimed more at just skiing at the elite level. I cannot say that my end has come as I thought it would be, but with a smile I can ask myself how often in life everything happens how you actually thought it would?
I love this sport. I always have. Although for a while that love for skiing has gone, it has appeared in new light. I look forward to seeing other sides of the sport. To get something back and to be part of it firmly in another way. What that way will be or how my future will look, I can not say right now and it feels liberating, but I know I want to be a part of the sport that I loved and still do.
I would need a lifetime to say thank you to all those who supported me during my career. To all who believed in me, especially in times when I did not believe in anything at all, from the bottom of my heart, thanks. See you!