Wed, Oct 14, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Ski legend ‘Herminator’ calls it a day

AP , VIENNA

Ski legend Hermann Maier of Austria sheds tears during a news conference in Vienna yesterday where he announced his retirement from professional skiing.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Austrian ski star Hermann Maier announced his retirement yesterday.

The 36-year-old cited physical problems after having knee surgery in the offseason as the main reason for quitting the sport.

“My preparations for the Olympics have gone well so far,” Maier said. “I gave it a lot of thought but decided spontaneously that now is the best time for retirement.”

The speed specialist won two golds at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, and took three world championship titles. He won 54 World Cup races and four overall titles, putting him second only to Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark, who captured 86 race victories.

Maier had knee surgery after the World Cup season ended in March, and only began training on skis earlier this month.

“I am healthy now and that’s the way I want to live on,” the “Herminator” said, while fighting back tears at a news conference.

Maier’s career nearly ended after a horrific motorcycle accident in 2001, which kept him sidelined for almost two years. Doctors contemplated amputating his lower leg after the crash, but the Austrian came back against all odds to capture the overall and super-G World Cup titles in 2004.

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