Austrian Matthias Mayer, an Alpine skiing gold medalist at each of the last three Olympics, announced a shock retirement at age 32.
Mayer delivered the news in a TV interview after inspection for Thursday’s World Cup super-G in Bormio, Italy, which he did not race. He did not start a downhill on Wednesday after posting the third- and fourth-fastest downhill training runs earlier in the week.
“Last season was fantastic with the third Olympic gold medal and I have started well in the new season and I’m satisfied. But it’s enough,” Mayer said on ORF, according to an Associated Press translation. “I’ve done my last course inspection today and that’s it. I don’t have that fire anymore. The sport is very important for the people and it should go on, but for me it’s OK.”
Mayer, after four top-five finishes in six starts this season, said he had been thinking about the decision the last few days.
Mayer, then 23, was the surprise 2014 Olympic downhill champion, then having zero World Cup wins and zero World Cup downhill podiums to his name. He remains the youngest Olympic men’s downhill champion since 1980, according to Olympedia.org. It marked Austria’s first Olympic men’s Alpine medal since 2006 after the men missed every podium at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
He came back from breaking the sixth and seventh vertebrae in his back in a December 2015 crash (and missing nearly one year) to win the Olympic super-G in 2018 and 2022. His father, Helmut, took super-G silver at the 1988 Calgary Games.
Mayer tied Toni Sailer for the most Alpine golds in the history of Austria, the most successful nation in the sport. He is the lone male Alpine skier to take gold at three consecutive Olympics.
The 2022 Olympic downhill champion, Swiss Beat Feuz, announced earlier this month that he will retire in January at age 35.
Their departures will leave men’s Alpine skiing without any active Olympic speed event champions (downhill or super-G) for the first time since 2010.
The active Olympic men’s Alpine gold medalists are 2022 champions Marco Odermatt (giant slalom), Clément Noël (slalom) and Johannes Strolz (combined), plus 2010 slalom champion Giuliano Razzoli, who is 38. Mikaela Shiffrin is the lone 2014 Olympic Alpine gold medalist who hasn’t retired.
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