The purpose of this study was to examine how a sample of elite athletes coped with distressful reactions to retirement from sport. As part of a larger research project, 15 former elite athletes were identified as having experienced severe emotional difficulties upon athletic career termination. Through use of a micronarrative methodology, it was determined that account making can be a significant moderator of distress during the career transition process. In addition, the quality of the account making was found to be related to present affect and overall success in coping with athletic retirement. Finally, changes in athletic identity were found to be significant determinants of adjustment for athletes upon career termination. Suggestions are presented for future research on treatment strategies for distressful reactions to retirement from sport.