Olympics-Twice Olympic champion Veerpalu hangs up his skis

TALLINN Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:10pm EST

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TALLINN Feb 23 (Reuters) - Estonia's twice Olympic 15 kms cross country ski champion Andrus Veerpalu has decided to retire at the age of 40 and will not compete in the world nordic skiing championships in Oslo this week.

"My health and age send a signal that even the most ambitious athlete must heed. I would have dearly liked to cap off a career nicely at the world championships, but real life is something else," Veerpalu was quoted as saying by the Estonian National Broadcaster on Wednesday.

Veerpalu won Olympic gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games and again in Torino four years later.

(Reporting by David Mardiste; Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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