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Hermann Maier retires

Austria's Hermann Maier, one of the most dominant ski racers in history, announced his retirement last month, capping speculation that he would stick with the sport for one more season and compete in his fourth Olympic games. The 36-year-old skier, nicknamed the "Hermmanator," made the announcement on Oct. 13 after attending a glacier camp at Soelden.

With snow falling in the alps, he took some time to consider his future and decided it was time to move on.

"I enjoyed freeskiing the other day in Soelden and was happy my body was back in shape after that long break. But afterwards I found out that it was also a good time to retire, it was a tough yet spontaneous decision.

"Last Friday, I suddenly decided to quit as I wanted to retire in a good shape and relax a little... Ski racing is a demanding activity and you need to be totally fit and ready to fully charge the slopes to really have fun practicing it. Last season I had some good results but I also felt that my body was sometimes tired and suffering."

Maier exploded on the World Cup scene in 1997 with his first World Cup win, and followed up the next year with two gold medals at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, and dominated for the next three seasons until he was involved in a serious crash while riding his motorcycle where he nearly lost his leg. He returned to racing two seasons later and it wasn't long before he was back on the podium, and in 2004 he clinched his fourth overall World Cup title. His best season was 2001, where he won 13 races.

He leaves the sport with an incredible 54 gold medals at FIS World Cup competitions, 22 silver medals, and 21 bronze medals for a total of 97 podium appearances. His last win was captured on Canadian soil, at Lake Louise in 2008.

Maier has struggled to find the podium in recent years with one in medal in 2007, one in 2008 and two in 2009.

"I have reached much more than I thought in my great career, I'm really proud of what I was able to achieve, especially during my comeback years," said Maier.


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