germany

Laura Dahlmeier
Getty Images

Laura Dahlmeier, two-time Olympic biathlon champ, suddenly retires

Leave a comment

German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier, who won the PyeongChang Olympic sprint and pursuit, has retired at age 25.

“After an unbelievably tough season full of ups and downs, I no longer feel the one hundred percent passion required for professional sport,” was posted on Dahlmeier’s Instagram in a surprise announcement. “That’s why I have decided to end my active biathlon career after some time of reflection.”

Dahlmeier earned two golds and a bronze at her second Olympics last year. That came one year after the avid mountain climber became the first biathlete to win five gold medals at a single world championships.

Dahlmeier missed the first two World Cup stops last season due to unspecified health setbacks, including hospitalization in August and September when she feared she may never compete again.

She returned to make three World Cup podiums and earn two world championships bronze medals while still not 100 percent. Dahlmeier posted on her website Friday that she still is not the same athlete she was before the hospitalization.

Her retirement at such a young age is reminiscent of countrywoman Magdalena Neuner, who earned 12 world titles and a pair of 2010 Olympic golds and then retired at age 25 in 2012, citing a similar lack of desire.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic ski halfpipe medalist hospitalized by world-record try crash

View this post on Instagram

Dear fans, friends, partners and companions – it's time to say goodbye! 👋 After an unbelievably tough season full of ups and downs, I no longer feel the one hundred percent passion required for professional sport. That's why I have decided to end my active biathlon career after some time of reflection. Since my childhood, I have dedicated myself completely to biathlon, I was able to experience incredibly great and intense moments and got to know some wonderful companions and supporters, without whom all this would not have been possible. Many thanks for all the years I spent in this sport – they made me who I am! 🙏 To make room for new adventures, it's time for me to close the biathlon chapter. A detailed report about my reasons for ending my career can be found on my website – link in bio. I am looking forward to what is awaiting me now – see you out there! 🙂 Best, Laura ✌️ #bettertobefAst

A post shared by Laura_Dahlmeier (@laura_dahlmeier) on

Aljona Savchenko, Olympic pairs’ champion, announces pregnancy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic pairs’ champion Aljona Savchenko’s indefinite break from figure skating doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

The 35-year-old German and husband Liam Cross are expecting a child, according to her social media.

Savchenko and gold-medal skating partner Bruno Massot last competed at the March 2018 World Championships.

The following month, they said they were taking an indefinite break from competition, according to German press agency DPA. Savchenko said Wednesday that her pregnancy does not necessarily mean the end of her competitive career, according to R-Sport.

Savchenko and Massot performed in ice shows last fall and winter. Savchenko also coached.

Savchenko, a five-time Olympian, became the oldest Olympic pairs’ gold medalist in South Korea. She then claimed her 11th world medal — tying the female record held by Norwegian singles legend Sonja Henie — and sixth world title — tying Soviet Alexander Zaitsev for second on the all-time pairs’ list, four behind Irina Rodnina.

The French-born Massot, 30, competed in his first Olympics in PyeongChang and earned his first world title. Savchenko’s previous five world titles came with now-retired Robin Szolkowy.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Officials plan to strip Alpine skier of World Cup win for oxygen mask use

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — The International Ski Federation (FIS) intends to strip German Alpiner Stefan Luitz of his first World Cup win for using an oxygen mask but will not seek a further ban.

FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis said Friday that the German Ski Association has been notified that the rules call for “disqualification from the race at the event where the offense occurred.”

Racing in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 2 that started at 10,340 feet, Luitz was seen using an oxygen tank between runs. He won by retaining his first-run lead.

The victory ended runner-up Marcel Hirscher’s five-race winning streak in the event, but the Olympic champion in giant slalom could yet be awarded the win, the 61st of his career.

FIS anti-doping rules state oxygen tanks cannot be brought to race venues, and “competition results achieved after the use of the equipment shall be automatically disqualified.”

“It’s part of the anti-doping and medical guide regulation but it’s related to a prohibited method so it’s very different from blood doping or taking of anabolic steroids and different offenses are categorized in different ways,” Lewis said. “This is just a breach of the regulations.”

The German association was informed of the FIS decision this week and now has two weeks to request a hearing before a decision will be made. After the decision is issued, the German association can appeal the ruling to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

While there were reports that other German skiers also used oxygen masks, Lewis said no other athletes were investigated.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Is Mikaela Shiffrin chasing records? Not exactly