Retired Olympian now busy with family, new business
Published Saturday, February 12, 2011 12:56PM MST
It's a change of pace for one Olympic athlete a year after the 2010 games.
Cross-country skier Sara Renner retired after the games and is now focusing on family and a new business with husband Thomas Grandi, a veteran competitor in the World Cup circuit's slalom and giant slalom runs.
They run the Paintbox Lodge, a boutique hotel in downtown Canmore, which Grandi says is a perfect endeavour for the couple.
"I think both Sara and I were somewhat trained for this job over the course of our athletic careers," he says.
"Being on the road all the time, travelling though Europe and staying at lots of really neat places around the world really prepared us well for this."
Grandi officially retired in March 2009 while Renner competed in four cross-country ski events at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Now the focus has shifted from competition to family.
"I think your heart expands with children, so it just got a little bit bigger with Gabriella coming into our lives," says Renner, who also has four-year-old daughter Aria.
"I think Sara is transitioning really well and she's really embracing motherhood and its challenges, and it's not easy in any way," Grandi says.
"She makes a lot of comparisons with childbirth and racing on an Olympic World Cup track."
Renner and Grandi took over the Paintbox Lodge from Renner's parents almost a year ago, and made some changes to the facility including adding a state-of-the-art kitchen.
They have also stayed in touch with many former teammates, and say they're providing a good example to them for life after sport.
"People see that we retired and we've started our own business, and for other athletes in the community, it's reassuring for them to see that you can do something outside of sport," Renner says.
The couple says it's important for them to live and work in Canmore - it's a community they can call home after so many years on the road.