October 25, 2005

Olympic skeleton champion Shea retires

SALVO, North Carolina, Oct 25 - Olympic gold medallist Jim
Shea Jr. has announced his retirement from men's skeleton
competition after failing to make the U.S. team for the World
Cup season.

The 37-year-old Shea, a third-generation Olympian who won
gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, would not have been
eligible to defend his Olympic title in Turin in February
because U.S. selections for the Winter Games will be based on
World Cup results.

Shea, the 1999 world champion, won the skeleton title at
Salt Lake City with a dramatic victory over then-world champion
Martin Rettl of Austria.

He dedicated the gold medal to his grandfather Jack, a
speedskating double gold medallist in the 1932 Lake Placid
Olympics who was killed when struck by a car 17 days before the
Salt Lake Games.

"My grandpa was with me the whole way," said Shea, who
raced with a picture of his grandfather taped inside his

Shea's father, Jim, competed in cross country skiing at the
1964 Innsbruck Games.