Olympic ski champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch has called it a day. The 29-year-old who was a prodigious talent as a junior and went on to achieve Olympic glory will no longer race on the slopes.
At Sochi she showed her versatility winning gold in the super combined and silver in the super-G. Four years earlier at the Vancouver games she took gold in the super combined and the slalom.
“Naturally it was a very, very difficult decision for me. On the one hand I love the sport, it was my sole raison d’etre for the last 15 years. Everything I did related to that. But after the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games where it was a perfect time for me with two gold medals the next big challenge – and possibly the last as I even said then – was to once again win Olympic Gold. And I did manage that in Sochi,” she told reporters.
Last week at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheidi in Switzerland the German was leading the World Cup overall standings and set to finish the season with those two Olympic medals in a blaze of glory.
But a crash in which she injured her shoulder ended her season. Now she has decided to retire.
The skier who was born among the mountains of Bavaria recorded a total of 27 victories and 81 podium finishes on the World Cup circuit, landing the slalom title in 2009 and the combined crown in 2013.
“An athlete is leaving who has put her imprint on the sport of Alpine skiing in the past 10 years,” said her country’s Olympic chief Alfons Hoermann.
And from her great and friendly rival American Lindsay Vonn there was this tribute, “She was a fierce competitor and I’m proud to call her a friend.”