03/24/2012 01:58 EDT | Updated 05/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Former Olympian Anna Goodman retires after nine years on Canadian team

MONT-SAINTE-ANNE, Que. - Veteran slalom skier Anna Goodman announced her retirement on Saturday, saying she'll miss her Canadian teammates as much as the sport she's leaving behind.

The 26-year-old from Pointe-Claire, Que., is retiring after nine years on the Canadian team. She made her World Cup debut in 2004 in Austria and skied at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Goodman, the daughter of former national team skier Russell Goodman, will ski one more slalom race on Sunday at the Canadian Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que.

"I have given so much of my life to ski racing and I'm just ready to see what else is out there," Goodman said on a conference call.

Her career-best World Cup result was a ninth-place finish in 2009. She had taken on more of leadership role on the team over the last five years, including mentoring rising Canadian stars Marie-Michele Gagnon and Erin Mielzynski.

Gagnon claimed her first career World Cup podium earlier this month, while Mielzynski recently became the first Canadian in over 40 years to win gold in a World Cup slalom race.

"I was really proud to be there when the girls had their podiums and I was proud I was a leader for them over the last five years," said Goodman. "It is very satisfying to see where the women’s slalom team has come and how much it has evolved and improved."

Goodman said the 2010 Olympics stands out as a high point for her career. She finished 19th in the slalom despite suffering a serious knee injury just a month before the competition.

Goodman had torn her anterior cruciate ligament but decided to put off the surgery and do whatever it took to make it to the start gate. She had a knee brace fitted and did her best to ski through the pain.

"After I tore my ACL I didn't think it was possible," she said. "And the fact that I could still race with a brace on and be there and be part of the team was really special for me."

Gagnon and Mielzynski said it's tough to imagine the ski team without Goodman. Mielzynski, who made history by winning gold in Ofterschwang, said she wouldn’t have made it to the podium without Goodman’s help.

“This year was the most fun year for me and it was because of Anna. ... I don’t think I could have done what I did this year without her,” Mielzynski said. “Most of the time in training we were tying or really close. Anna was a big part of that (gold medal) happening."

Goodman plans to study business in the fall and hopes to stay involved in skiing through camps and possibly coaching.

She said it will be tough to leave her teammates.

"Obviously I love my team like they're your family on the road, it's going to be really hard to say goodbye to everybody," her voice trembling. "But I know that we'll all be really close forever."