One of the greatest of all time calls it a career …
By Patrick Lang
A week prior the start of the next alpine World Cup season one of the greatest legends of the sports surprisingly announced his decision to retire from the ski tour.
Double Olympic champion Hermann Maier, who turns 37 in December, informed the amazed Austrian reporters gathered at the last minute in Wien by his press agent and the Austrian Ski Federation that he had decided to end his career as one of the leading heroes of the sports after overcoming another series of health problems.
“I just felt that it was time to retire as I felt fully healthy again. I’m closing an important chapter in my life but I’m sure that there will be many more exciting moments to face from now on.”
Maier exploded on the ski scene in February 1997 a month after breaking a hand in a downhill crash at Chamonix in surprisingly beating all top-favorites in a Super-G race at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He became a world star a year later at the 1998 Winter Olympics clinching two gold medals only a few days after a horrendous crash in downhill. He was nicknamed “The Herminator” afterwards by his colleagues, the press and his numerous fans from all over the world because of his incredible determination and his reckless racing tactics.
He won two more gold medals at the 1999 World Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek, in Colorado, and kept on dominating the scene until 2001, winning a total of 13 races that season. In March 2000, he captured his second overall World Cup title with a record of 2000 points.
Unfortunately he suffered a terrible motorbike accident in August 2001 and was lucky to survive it after a series of operations. After working very hard during his rehabilitation, he celebrated an incredible comeback in 2003, winning the treacherous Super-G race at Kitzbühel and a silver medal at the World Championships at St Moritz.
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