Living legend Hermann Maier, one of Alpine skiing’s greatest, yesterday announced his retirement from competitive racing. Maier, who picked up the nickname ‘The Herminator’ won four overall World Cup titles – 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2004, two Olympic gold medals at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, three World Championship titles – 1999 x 2 and 2005 and a total of 54 races on the World Cup circuit.
His racing career nearly ended following a motorcycle accident in August 2001 when he collided with a car on his way home from a summer training session in Austria. Doctors nearly amputated his lower leg, but instead Maier underwent massive reconstructive surgery. Most believed his racing career was over when he had to sit out the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
His first full season back was 2004 when he reclaimed both the Super-G and overall titles, a feat widely seen as one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. In 2004, Hermann Maier received the Laureus World Sports Award for the “Comeback of the Year” and it was at this time that he picked up his nickname for his indestructible nature.
Hermann Maier in action.
Maier had victories again in the World Cup series in 2005 and 2009 but after surgery on his right knee in the offseason he has decided to hang up his boots.