14 Oct 2009

Hermann Maier retires

6:32 am on 14 October 2009

The Austrian ski star Hermann Maier has announced his retirement, blaming physical problems for his decision.

The 36-year-old won Olympic gold in the Super-G and Giant Slalom events in 1998 at Nagano and also claimed a silver and a bronze in 2006 in Torino.

He won three world titles in Super-G and downhill in 1999, and in the Giant Slalom in 2005. He also claimed two silvers in 2001 and a bronze in 2003.

In addition, Maier won 54 World Cup races and clinched four overall titles.

Maier injured his knee last March but resumed training and had been targeting a return to the World Cup at the end of November at Canada's Lake Louise.

Nicknamed 'The Herminator', Maier began competing on the circuit in 1996.

He won his first World Cup event the following year, but Maier's career was almost ended in 2001 when he nearly lost a leg in a motorcycle accident.

But the skier known for his durability and work ethic won the World Cup super-G at Kitzbuehel in a remarkable comeback in January 2003, after more than a year in rehabilitation.