16 / 10 / 2009

The Herminator retires

An emotional Hermann Maire at the press conference

Hermann Maier the Austrian skiing legend has decided to retire from competitive skiing it was announced on Tuesday. Speaking at the press conference he said “I have decided to bring to an end my career as a competitive skier. After a lot of thought, the decision just made itself spontaneously.”

His career nearly came to an end in 2001 after he suffered an horrific motor bike accident which left his lower leg shattered. It was testament to his physical and mental condition that he went on to win 2 Olympic medals, both in Sestriere, gold in Giant slalom at the World Championships in Bormio and a silver in Super G when the worlds were held in St Moritz in 2003.

In total he won 54 World cup races (24 super-G, 15 downhill, 14 Giant slalom and 1 Combined), 10 World Cup discipline titles, 6 World Champ medals, 4 Olympic medals and 4 overall World cup titles. Only the great Ingemar Stenmark has won more titles. Not bad for a man who was originally told by the Austrian team selectors that he didn’t have the physicality to be a competitive skier.

He acquired the nickname ‘The Herminator’ after an almighty crash in the Nagano Olympics. He caught some serious air in the downhill landing on his head and shoulders, flipping over and then somersaulting through not 1 but 2 safety nets. As the snow was settling and most people feared the worst, he simply got to his feet and walked away. A few days later he won two gold medals. He will be missed on the ski circuit.