VIENNA (AP) — Austrian skier Elisabeth Goergl retired Monday, 2½ years after becoming the oldest woman to win a World Cup race.
A two-time world champion and two-time Olympic bronze medalist, the 36-year-old Goergl said she lacked motivation to prepare for the Olympic season.
“Many fans have asked me to continue for another year but I want to develop in another direction,” she said. “If I had still felt a spark, I would not have retired now.”
Goergl has started an education to become a ski coach, and she has just released a CD with her own songs.
Her career highlight came in 2011, when the Austrian upset favorites Lindsey Vonn and Maria Hoefl-Riesch twice to win the downhill and super-G gold medals at the worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
“That was my biggest and nicest achievement, for sure,” said Goergl, who had performed the song “You’re a Hero” live on stage during the opening ceremony of the worlds.
“To win the super-G the following day was very special. And winning the downhill was the icing on the cake. Double world champion sounded great.”
During 17 seasons, Goergl won five medals at major championships and competed in 378 World Cup races, winning seven of them. She was 33 years, 301 days when she last won a race, a super-G in Val d’Isere, France, in December 2014.
Goergl is also the oldest winner of a downhill. She was 32 years, 11 months when she triumphed in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee in January 2014. However, she will lose that record to Vonn if the American wins a downhill next season.
Her announcement Monday was no surprise. In January, after failing to make the Austrian team for the world championships in St. Moritz, she said she would consider retirement, even with an Olympic season coming up.
“I have taken a lot of time to think about it,” said Goergl, who won the overall title of the lower-tier Europa Cup in 2003. “Since I was 10, I have been chasing my goal to become a ski racer with huge passion. I never gave up and I always found new motivation.”
Goergl stems from a ski-mad family. Her mother, Traudi Hecher, won Olympic downhill bronze in 1960 and ’64. And her older brother, Stephan Goergl, competed on the men’s World Cup from 2001-12.
“The Goergl family has contributed massively to the ski sports in Austria,” said Hans Pum, sports director of the Austrian ski federation.
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