The Austrian women’s technical team took another hard hit today as Kathrin Zettel added her name to a long list of retirees during a press conference this morning in Vienna, Austria, hosted by her sponsor Raiffeisen. Zettel cited a long running battle with injuries as a main factor in her decision to retire at age 28.
“(My career) was connected to great times, but also with pain for 11 years. And that’s the reason why I say now: thank you, but unfortunately it is no longer,” Zettel said.
The 2015 season started strong for Zettel with a fourth-place finish in the opening GS in Soelden, followed by three straight podiums in the next three World Cups in Levi and Aspen. But the chronic pain and injuries that have plagued Zettel over the past few seasons did not allow her to continue to ski at a high level. She was unable to maintain consistent top-5 results for the remainder of the season. Despite her struggles with pain, Zettel still managed to finish the season fifth in the slalom standings and eighth in GS.
Zettel finishes her career with 50 World Cup podiums and nine victories in 209 World Cup starts. She also added an Olympic bronze medal in Sochi in slalom and two World Championship medals, highlighted by a gold in the 2009 combined in Val D’Isere, to her long list of accomplishments.
Zettel took the World Cup tour by storm beginning in 2005 and by the start of the next season had already found herself on her first World Cup podium at the November GS in Aspen. Zettel continued to ski strongly all season and finished fourth in the slalom standings, sixth in GS and seventh overall.
Her first World Cup victory came at the site of her first podium — Aspen — when she won the GS in November of 2006. Zettel’s most successful seasons occurred in 2009 and 2010 where she finished fourth and fifth in the overall standings, respectively, and second in both the slalom and GS standings in 2010. Zettel skied in an era of strong Austrian technical skiers and at her peak was often overshadowed by teammates Marlies Schild and Nicole Hosp, who have a combined 18 Olympic and World Championship medals between them.
Zettel is the fifth Austrian woman to announce her retirement this season, joining Hosp, Andrea Fischbacher, Regina Sterz, and Alexandra Daum.