After 14 World Cup seasons with 153 starts, Eva-Maria Brem on Sunday officially announced her retirement from active skiing. The Tyrolean made it onto the podium 11 times in her specialty, giant slalom, winning three races in total. One of her greatest successes was winning the small crystal globe in GS in the 2015-16 season. 

“I feel that the time has come for me to end this phase of life, for which I have so far put everything else in the background, and to start positively in something new and unknown,” Brem said. “I am grateful, healthy, happy and satisfied with everything that I have achieved and experienced as an athlete in top-class sport. Even if last season was difficult and the end of my career might be foreseeable for some, it still comes as a surprise for me. Because 14 years in the Ski World Cup have also taught me that it is always worth overcoming such phases. Because in our sport, often only small details decide between zero and Hero. It is surprising to me that my inner voice, which whispered ‘further, further and further’ in my ear every day and with every swing, has become quieter.”

In December of 2005, Brem celebrated her World Cup debut in the giant slalom in Lienz at the age of just 17. After a fractured tibia and fibula in 2010, she fought her way back and won the parallel team competition with her teammates at the 2012 World Cup finals in Schladming and achieved two more podium places in that discipline. With a third place in Are, Sweden in March 2014, Brem got off to a flying start and from then on consistently made it into the top 10.

At the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek, she won the gold medal in the team competition. She crowned her solid performance in 2015-16 by winning the season title in the giant slalom and was voted Austria’s sportswoman of the year. In the following winter she was thrown back again due to an injury (broken shin and fibula) and subsequently had to struggle with sporting setbacks. Now the giant slalom specialist is ready to start a new chapter in her life, she says.

10 questions with Eva-Maria Brem

My greatest success …

… was sure to win the small crystal ball in the giant slalom. The year before I finished second in the overall standings, which of course made me really happy, but on that day at the 2015 season finale, I knew that I would not be satisfied with second place in 2016. Starting the season with that one goal and making it in the end was a brutal experience. An unbelievable journey: races with fever, World Cup victories, which I was of course happy about, but which were just a necessary step on the way to my goal … That’s why there are so many milestones and memories on the way to this success it is the most beautiful for me.

Will not be forgotten …

… me these 2 1/2 seasons, in which I was in the top 10 in all 19 consecutive World Cup giant slaloms, 17 of them in the top 4. Before that, in my career I felt like I had my back to the wall and was able to work my way out there and perform at every race and feel my finally perfected swing over and over again.

My most emotional moment …

… was my first World Cup victory. The first time in the lead after the first round, the knowledge of this great opportunity that I had been working towards for so long. The pressure that comes when you finally have what was originally a childhood dream within your grasp.

The most difficult time for me was …

… my second tibia and fibula fracture in November 2016. I had already suffered this injury in 2010, so from the moment it happened and I was lying in the snow, I knew what was in store for me. I knew that I had to start all over again, or actually even further down, and I was aware that if I wanted to come back I would have to work through my health anew, every millimeter and every hundredth of a second. That was certainly a difficult time, but giving everything of myself for a goal has never deterred me and accepting this challenge has once again shaped me as a person and an athlete.

I will miss … 

… definitely those 1 minute and 20 seconds from start to finish in which the run and the slope are yours alone. The fulfilling feeling of happiness after a good run, the tension and concentration at the start and the challenge itself, I will certainly miss all of that.

What will be remembered most for me …

… probably not the exact result of a race, but the respective story behind it: the decisions made, the shared experiences with my team, family, fan club, friends …

I am grateful for …

… my closest confidants who were always by my side. Grateful that they walked the path with me and how they walked it with me. My parents, who brought me to sport as a child and always supported me. For the fans and viewers who shared the excitement, trembled and were happy with me. For the great sponsors I was allowed to work with. And for my team of ski trainers, conditioning trainers, physiotherapists and service people. I loved giving everything of myself for this sport and accordingly demanded a lot from my environment and I really want to thank everyone who has helped me on my way.

From this time I will take …

… a lot. Sport has taught me almost everything I am. I am grateful for the successful days in my career, the setbacks that made me stronger, and the realization that hard work can make childhood dreams come true.

Most of all I’m looking forward to …

… more time at home. More time and energy for hobbies, family and friends. To be able to enjoy life more. As an active athlete, the focus is always on the here and now and the whole year is planned through. The next season, the next race, the next training day and you always want and have to bring your best. I’m looking forward to reducing this pressure a little for the time being and spending the first “normal and real summer” in what feels like an eternity. Swimming and barbecuing, instead of skiing on the glacier in August, I’m really looking forward to it …

My plans for the future are …

… I would like to continue to devote myself to my studies and complete it. Since I am used to a “full throttle life” and this is a distance learning course, it is also quite conceivable for me to enter professional life on the side. But now I’ll let all of that come to me first.

Release courtesy of OSV.