Skiing great Marcel Hirscher confirms retirement

By Sports Desk September 04, 2019

Skiing great Marcel Hirscher has announced his retirement at the age of 30.

The Austrian claimed an eighth consecutive FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup overall title in 2018-19 but will not continue his record-breaking career into next season.

Hirscher hinted at the end of last term he was undecided on his future and is now following fellow greats Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal in quitting this year.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist earned 12 small globes at the World Cup as well as his overall crowns, winning six apiece in the slalom and giant slalom.

Only Ingemar Stenmark has more men's World Cup race wins than Hirscher's 67.

"Today is the day on which I will end my active career," Hirscher announced at a news conference.

"The decision is two weeks old. I think it is good the way it is. This feels right."

Hirscher added: "I'm incredibly lucky to be able to sit here with two healthy knees.

"I want to play soccer with my kids, to ride motocross, and I'm glad I can do it now, and I'm fortunate to be healthy and survive my career without major injury.

"It will certainly be a big change, but some projects are waiting for me.

"It will certainly not be easy [being absent for the start of next season], but the beauty is that I can now choose the days to go skiing."

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    Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin posted emotional tributes to Marcel Hirscher on social media after the fellow skiing great announced his retirement.

    Hirscher, who won a record eight consecutive overall FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup titles, confirmed his decision to quit the sport at the age of 30 on Wednesday.

    Record-breaking female star Vonn also called time on her illustrious career this year and said the loss of Hirscher was another blow to skiing.

    "It's been a tough year for ski racing," Vonn wrote on Twitter. "The legend Marcel Hirscher has announced his retirement.

    "Congratulations on an amazing career my friend. Racing in the same era as you has been an honour. Eight overall titles is a record no one will ever break! Enjoy the time with your family."

    She added: "Now... retired life isn't so bad after all. Chapeau Marcel."

    Shiffrin is well placed to challenge records claimed by Hirscher and Vonn, having registered 60 World Cup wins by the age of 24.

    But she lauded Hirscher's inspirational career, his sportsmanship and ability to show "what we once thought was impossible is possible" as she dubbed the Austrian the greatest ever.

    Shiffrin posted on her Twitter account: "Strange how emotional it can feel to say 'goodbye' to a retiring athlete, but then again it's not strange at all.

    "When it's an athlete you have been learning from and finding inspiration from for your entire career, it's not strange. (*wipes tear from eye*)

    "When it's an athlete who took your sport to totally different heights, who showed that what we once thought was impossible is possible, it's not strange.

    "When it's an athlete who has inspired generations of athletes to come to get up, to fight, and to bring their absolute best every single time, it's not strange.

    "When it's an athlete who always treated the others with respect, and showed us what sportsmanship means, it's not strange. No, it's not strange at all...

    "THANK YOU for the incredible moments in this sport, Marcel Hirscher. And all the best for the future. #GOAT"

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