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Silje Norendal, Norwegian snowboard star, announces pregnancy, retirement

Silje Norendal

PARK CITY, USA - FEBRUARY 10: Silje Norendal of Norway wins the bronze medal during the FIS World Snowboard Championships Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle on February 10, 2019 in Park City, USA. (Photo by Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Norwegian snowboarder Silje Norendal, an X Games champion and 2019 World silver medalist in slopestyle, is pregnant and retiring 14 months before the Winter Olympics.

“It’s with a lot of different emotions I am posting this!” was posted on her Instagram without mentioning retirement or pregnancy, which was separately confirmed by Norway’s snowboard federation. “Mostly happy and excited for what’s to come, a new journey in my life. Snowboarding has been a huge part of my life for 22 years and I am looking back on an amazing journey.”

Norendal, 27, went into slopestyle’s Olympic debut in 2014 as the reigning X Games champion and a medal favorite. But she fell ill and placed 11th.

She repeated as X Games champion in 2015, then added a world bronze medal in big air in 2017 ahead of that event’s Olympic debut in 2018. In PyeongChang, she was fourth in slopestyle and sixth in big air.

The PyeongChang Olympic slopestyle final was contested controversially in bitterly cold and windy conditions. Of the 50 total runs, 41 saw riders crash or pull up on jumps.

“All I wanted to do was sit up top and cry,” Sorendal said that day, according to The Associated Press.

Norendal came back to take silver at the 2019 Worlds, where the final was canceled due to weather and qualifying results used for the final standings.

This past February, Norendal broke one of her legs in three places while warming up at the Burton U.S. Open. She has since recovered, and she said the injury did not play into the retirement decision, according to Norwegian media.

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