The luge careers of Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin have crossed the finish line.
America's most decorated doubles luge sliders announced their retirement Sunday, not long after placing second at USA Luge's national championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.
They competed together in four Olympics, winning a silver medal at Salt Lake City in 2002 and a bronze at Nagano in 1998. Grimmette and Martin won 65 international medals together, finishing third at the world championships six times.
Their last international race came at last month's Vancouver Olympics, where they placed 13th.
"In 22 years of going this, there's way too many things that you remember to pick just one moment," Martin said in a telephone interview about 30 minutes after he and Grimmette made their final run. "Lots of good times, lots of not-so-good times. But the total thing has been a pretty special ride."
Grimmette and Martin made the decision Friday.
They decided to team up in 1995, less two years after Grimmette raced in the first of what became five Olympics for the native of Muskegon, Mich. He and Martin were an instant hit, winning the first of their eight national championships together in 1998, the same year that they won bronze at Nagano.
"For me, the most special actual sliding moment was winning that first Olympic medal in Japan," Grimmette said Sunday.
A silver followed four years later at Salt Lake, but Olympic gold was never in their grasp. They crashed out of the Turin Games in 2006, and committed to another four-year cycle to take one last shot in Vancouver.
"When they turned out the flame, it's a sad moment," Martin, of Palo Alto, Calif., said at the closing ceremony for the Vancouver Games. "And you start waiting for the next four years to start it all again."
Not this time.
They finished 0.633 seconds behind Christian Niccum and Dan Joye for the national title on Sunday, and even knowing it would be their last race didn't make the day overly emotional for Grimmette and Martin.
"It was kind of like every other run," Martin said. "How do we get down to the bottom as fast as we can?"
Added Grimmette: "There wasn't a whole lot of pressure on us today."
Erin Hamlin won her third straight women's national championship on Sunday, and Chris Mazdzer won the men's title for the second time in four years.
But the day belonged to Grimmette and Martin.
"It has been an honor to have them on our team for the last 14 years," USA Luge CEO Ron Rossi said. "And I would like to thank them for their hard work, fond memories and outstanding results."
Grimmette, 39, says he'd like to get into coaching young sliders and sharing the knowledge he's picked up by spending more than half his life racing all over the world. Martin, 36, isn't sure about his future plans.
"It didn't take that long for us to decide," Grimmette said. "We spoke about the season, about the career and we were on the same page."
Even without a third medal, the 2010 Olympics would be tough for Grimmette to top.
One of his most cherished moments as an athlete came in 2002, when he was one of the athletes selected to carry the flag from the World Trade Center into the opening ceremony at Salt Lake City. Grimmette carried the U.S. flag into the 2010 games as well, picked by members of the American delegation to lead them into Vancouver's opening ceremony.
"Both of those moments, just very special," Grimmette said.
Grimmette and Martin won 11 World Cup races in their career, plus the overall World Cup championship three times.
They say this retirement is official, too.
"It was pretty cool today to have a whole roomful of people clapping for you," Martin said. "It's a great honor to have represented this organization and this country for a number of years, and to be recognized for that is very nice."