02/05/2013 11:30 EST | Updated 04/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Cross-country veteran Chandra Crawford taking a break from competition

CANMORE, - Canadian cross-country skier Chandra Crawford is taking a break from competition before the final push to the Sochi Olympics.

The 29-year-old Olympic gold medallist from Canmore, Alta., said she is physically and mentally exhausted.

"My motivation and love of competing at the highest level in cross-country skiing has made so many dreams come true for me, but it can also cause me to go overboard," said Crawford.

She plans to return to serious training in May.

"It's really disappointing to end my season early, but with my ultimate purpose of showing up calm as a Buddhist monk and bulletproof in Sochi next year, it's an opportunity to prepare mentally and physically to execute my best training ever," she added.

Crawford, who's struggled to find her top form this season, made the decision with her coaches prior to competing in last weekend's World Cup test event on the Sochi Olympic course.

"Chandra is a world-class person both on and off the playing field, and we are fully supportive of this decision to get her back home in order to get rested for the Olympic year," said Tom Holland, Cross Country Canada's high-performance director. "Sometimes the demands on an athlete's body are just simply too much, and the most effective form of preparation is to take a short break."

Crawford raced to Olympic gold at the Turin Games in 2006 and has also won seven World Cup medals. She also leads "Fast and Female," an organization aimed at inspiring girls ages nine to 19 to live healthy, active lives.

"Cross Country Canada has always celebrated our victories, and battled with us through the tough times, and this has been no different," Crawford said. "This is the best thing for my body and I will sacrifice part of this season in order to give everything I have to my Olympic performance next year."