Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer, the most decorated ski jumper in World Cup history, will return to competition this weekend after a year break.
Schlierenzauer announced on his 26th birthday last January that he would take an indefinite break from the sport.
“I want out of the spotlight,” Schlierenzauer said then, according to an International Ski Federation (FIS) translation. “Right now I simply don’t know what the future brings, I want to spark the passion again and become clear about how my way shall continue without any pressure.”
Then in March, Schlierenzauer suffered a torn ACL while skiing recreationally in Canada.
Schlierenzauer owns rock-star status in Austria, where he’s been known by a nickname — “Schlieri” — since he was a teen.
He owns a record 53 World Cup victories and individual gold or silver medals at each of the last four world championships. But he has not performed as well at the Olympics, picking up two bronze medals in 2010 and no medals in 2014. He also earned team gold in 2010 and silver in 2014.
Schlierenzauer’s last World Cup win was Dec. 6, 2014.
The new ski jumping stars are Poland’s Kamil Stoch — who swept the normal and large hill events in Sochi and just won his first Four Hills Tournament title — German Severin Freund and Slovenian brothers Domen and Peter Prevc.Follow @nzaccardi