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Events & Results
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Top Romanian Cross-Country Skier Announces Retirement 

The Romanian cross-country skier Raul Popa announced his retirement from the professional rankings. 

Photo: Patrick Steiner/Bildbyrån

Raul Popa (ROU) during the 15km classic race at the Winter Olympic Games 2022.

In a post on social media, 25-year-old Romanian Raul Popa announced that he would be retiring from the professional rankings after 14 years of training, dedication, and excellent results for Romania as a traditional cross-country skier. 

Popa took part in several FIS races, and eight World Cup starts, four editions of the World Championships, and one Winter Olympic Games.

Raul Popa’s announcement:

“It would have been nice to have it lasted forever, but unfortunately, my path to performance has come to an end. It was a journey of 14 years that I went through situations and events that have made me the man I am today, in which I learned, matured, and developed. 

The last 5 years have been the most challenging years of my life in which the most repeated thought in my mind was ‘One more step,’ even if it sometimes happens that I train with tears in my eyes, this is how I managed to overcome many difficulties and become to check at least one dream I had and the rest I will try to accept them because they were not possible. I have the feeling of gratitude towards myself that although there were times when maybe no one in the sports world believed in me anymore, I continued to be as professional as I could and dedicated to my goal, even if it took me years to get to give at least a sign that I had a chance and I succeeded.

I never considered myself a good athlete, I always thought I could do more and that I could show more, maybe I was demanding too much of myself, but since other top athletes inspired me, that’s what I wanted, to be an example for the little ones and to inspire motivation towards their performance.

It was a very difficult decision for me because I love this sport, but when the body says it can’t anymore, the mind makes it overcome, but when the opposite happens, things get complicated. My family has always supported me, and I am very grateful for that; to thank you seems too little for the efforts made.

I want to thank my loved ones who supported and encouraged me to continue, who sometimes told me, ‘One more step.’ I thank the people who carried the flag with me, made considerable efforts to represent me at competitions, and had the patience to support me, and the man from whom I learned the most was our coach Daniel Borca. Not being an athlete, he was the most dedicated man I’ve known about performance; he always put the athlete on a pedestal.

Several people have contributed to my journey in this sport. I want to thank them, Mr. Tanko Elemer being the man in ski training, Mr. Poponeci being present with us, Mr. Valeriu Tomescu, Mr. Petre Radescu, Adrian Martin and Zoller Carlo, but all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Romanian Biathlon-Ski Federation and Mr. Puiu Gaspar, the Dinamo Bucharest Sports Club, and the Romanian Olympic and Athlete Committee.

To get here, I needed to grow up properly and to be put in the right direction, and here I want to thank especially Mrs. Roxandra Persoiu, with whom I started this wonderful sport, and Mr. Costel Terciu, together they taught me the first steps of skiing, and they guided me correctly in the years when I was most prone to mistakes and bad choices. Thank you very much!”

Raul Popa (ROU) at the Lenzerheide World Cup in 2021. Photo: Modica/NordicFocus.

Here you can find Raul Popa’s results.

Are you interested in traditional cross-country skiing? Read more here.

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