Germany’s most successful ski racer, three-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion and 2011 World Cup overall winner Maria-Hoefl Riesch, announced today that she will retire immediately from the sport of ski racing.
Hoefl-Riesch most recently won Olympic combined gold and super G silver at the Sochi Games as well as the 2014 World Cup downhill title. However, she suffered illness and an arm injury as the season wound to a close, and she was unable to compete in the last races at World Cup Finals despite being in the hunt for the overall title again this season.
The 29-year-old made her World Cup debut in Feb. 2001 and emerged as an all-around skier who famously battled with Lindsey Vonn in the hunt for the overall title from 2009 onward. She finished second in those standings in 2009 and 2010, behind Vonn, before claiming the title for herself in 2011. In 2013 and 2014, she once again finished as runner-up.
“It was not an easy decision,” Hoefl-Riesch announced at the Munich Airport. “I wanted to end with this highlight,” she said, in reference to her multiple medal performance at the most recent Olympics.
“I gave everything I had for another Olympic medal. I worked hard to fulfill this dream again,” she added. “It went well in the super combined in Sochi, and this was a big relief for me. The decision was not an easy but I am of the opinion you should stop when you are at your best.”