Maria Pietilae Holmner of Sweden announced that she has made the difficult decision to end her career after 15 years on the World Cup. The technical ace, who collected two World Championships medals, three World Cup victories, 10 World Cup podiums, and participated in three Olympic Winter Games, was attempting to rehabilitate a chronic back problem in time to return to competition for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
The decision was an emotional one for Pietilae Holmner, who had not been able to compete during the 2017-18 season. A degenerative disc issue in her back, that she has struggled with for several years, prevented her from being able to ski at the same level that helped her garner success in the past. She was patient with her recovery and made persistent efforts to get back to form, but she ultimately decided that her limitations are too severe to compete again at the highest level.
“I have a long and beautiful career behind me where the body as my main tool has been trimmed and pushed hard to reach the top and my dreams and goals,” she said. “I have had a problem with my back for a couple of years, and in recent years I have been able to adapt and fine-tune skiing and skiing skills in the best way, and that’s thanks to the fine grinding I’ve been able to go the last few years.”
The 2006 Junior World Slalom Champion had her best World Cup season in 2014 when she finished third in the giant slalom standings, fourth in the slalom standings, and seventh in the overall standings. She finished in the top 10 in both disciplines again in 2016. The Swedish team is sad to see her leave the team.
“It’s always very sad when such a good athlete has to make the decision to finish his career,” said alpine manager Tommy Eliasson Winter. “We have had many good years together with Maria and she will obviously be missed by the entire organization. It’s always great to work with a person who is professional athlete all the way out of the fingertips, and that’s exactly what Maria is. She has had an incredible career and we obviously wish her all that she chooses to do.”
Releases courtesy of FIS and Swedish Ski Federation