Tatjana Hüfner, a 2010 Olympic luge champion and five-time world champion in singles, said she will retire after this season, according to German newspaper Bild.
Hüfner, 35, cited recent health problems, including back and leg injuries leading into her last Olympics in PyeongChang, where she finished fourth, missing a fourth straight medal by .69 of a second (Hüfner dropped from second place going into the last run). Plus breaking a rib in a training crash this preseason, plus suffering food poisoning, according to the report.
Hüfner, who reportedly said before February’s Olympics that they would be her final Games, has been arguably the most integral luger in Germany’s recent dominance in female sliding.
Her Olympic career began as a spectator at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, watching Sylke Otto lead a German medal sweep. Later, Hüfner would break Otto’s record with five world singles titles, plus join Otto on the podium at Torino 2006, earning bronze. Hüfner took gold in Vancouver, then silver behind the new leading woman, Natalie Geisenberger, in Sochi.
Huefner spent offseasons scaling European peaks such as Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, the Matterhorn, and the Sella in northern Italy.
This season’s world championships are in Winterberg, Germany, in January.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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