TRIBUTES AS MARCEL HIRSCHER RETIRES
4th September 2019 | James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
The 30-year old is one of the greatest ski racers of all time and he has called premature time on his career.
He made the announcement in a news conference in Salzburg.
“My decision is two weeks old. I think it is good the way it is. This feels right,” he said.
“Today is the day on which I will end my active career,” he added.
“I always wanted to end my career as long as I am winning races. I didn’t want to oversee the moment where things get worse.”
In 2018 he married his long-term girlfriend, Laura Moisl, and became a father.
He said “blue and red are not the most important things in life.”
This refers to the colors of the gates in a slalom race.
“I want to be able to play football with my kid, I want to go moto crossing, I want to go hiking in the mountains,” Hirscher said.
“Now I can still do all these things.”
He was earlier named in the Austria squad for the 2019-20 season, but the national ski federation said they didn’t know whether the double Olympic gold medallist would race in 2019/20.
“I think about retiring every day,” he said at last season’s World Cup races in Adelboden in Switzerland.
He is widely considered the best skier of his generation and perhaps the best Austrian skier of all time.
He has a record eight consecutive World Cup titles.
He has won 11 medals at the Alpine Skiing World Championships – seven of them are gold.
In the Winter Olympics he won silver in the slalom at the Sochi Games in 2014 and two gold medals in the combined and giant slalom at the the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.
Lindsey Vonn: “It’s been a tough year for ski racing, the legend has announced his retirement. Congratulations on an amazing career my friend. Racing in the same era as you has been an honor. 8 overall titles is a record no one will ever break!”
Aksel Lund Svindal: “an absolute honor competing with you … the greatest skier of all times. Congrats on an amazing career.”
Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen: “It’s a pity but it’s the right decision: One cannot achieve more than what you have achieved.”
It had been widely predicted and here on PlanetSKI we reported it last week.
“Of course this is a very, very difficult decision for Marcel. No matter what he decides, I know professional skiing is his life, his passion,” Hans Pum, former sports director of the Austrian Ski Federation told the newsagency, AFP.
“He is simply a role model for everyone. He really lived the sport, 24 hours a day, with an exceptional consistency and attitude, and that is of course very intense.”
He made his World Cup debut in 2007, aged 18, in the 2007 giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, where he finished in 24th.
He won his first victory two seasons later in 2009 in Val d’Isere, France.
We have a full tribute to Hirscher in this related article:
“Congratulations on an amazing career my friend. Racing in the same era as you has been an honour. Eight overall titles is a record no one will ever break! Enjoy the time with your family,” said the US racer, Mikaela Shiffrin.
She added: “Now… retired life isn’t so bad after all. Chapeau Marcel.”
Shiffrin is well placed to challenge records claimed by Hirscher and Vonn, having registered 60 World Cup wins by the age of 24.
But she lauded Hirscher’s inspirational career, his sportsmanship and ability to show “what we once thought was impossible is possible” as she dubbed the Austrian the greatest ever.
Shiffrin posted on her Twitter account: “Strange how emotional it can feel to say ‘goodbye’ to a retiring athlete, but then again it’s not strange at all.
“When it’s an athlete you have been learning from and finding inspiration from for your entire career, it’s not strange. (*wipes tear from eye*)
“When it’s an athlete who took your sport to totally different heights, who showed that what we once thought was impossible is possible, it’s not strange.
“When it’s an athlete who has inspired generations of athletes to come to get up, to fight, and to bring their absolute best every single time, it’s not strange.
“When it’s an athlete who always treated the others with respect, and showed us what sportsmanship means, it’s not strange. No, it’s not strange at all…
“THANK YOU for the incredible moments in this sport, Marcel Hirscher.
And all the best for the future. #GOAT”
For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news