All the best to our retiring athletes !
Ski racing is a very demanding sport and at some point, athletes want to see what’s outside the white circus and meet new challenges. So far, 8 athletes announced their retirement and will no longer be seen on the World Cup Tour next season, and 4 athletes are most likely quitting as well.
We thank them for the inspiring moments they offered us on the Tour and wish them to be safe and happy in whatever they chose to do.
Daniela Merighetti (ITA, 81)
After 228 World Cup starts, Italy’s Daniela Merighetti decided to end her professional career as a ski racer. 6 podiums (4x DH, 1x SG, 1x GS), one victory (DH in Cortina d’Ampezzo in 2012) and two 7th places in the downhill standings (2012 and 2013) are the best lines on her athlete’s biography. In her final season, she qualified for the World Cup Finals in her favourite discipline, but as so many times during her career, she crashed and got injured (torn ACL).
Reinfried Herbst (AUT, 78)
This season’s slalom in Kranjska Gora was the last one for successful slalom specialist Reinfried Herbst. The Austrian can look back on an impressive career, with 126 World Cup starts, 16 podiums, nine victories (two of them on home turf in Schladming), one Olympic medal (second in 2006 in Sestriere) and one globe for the 2009/10 Slalom standings.
Massimiliano Blardone (ITA, 79)
It was a very emotional season for Giant Slalom specialist Massimiliano Blardone. After being at the top of his game during over a decade, including 11 Top 10 in the discipline ranking, the Italian struggled to find the pace and scored only one Top 5 between 2012 and 2016. But in Yuzawa Naeba, Blardone surpassed himself and earned the podium spot that made all the efforts worth! As the second oldest GS athletes, he ended the season at the 16th place and is quitting the World Cup with 153 starts, 25 podiums and 7 victories.
Cyprien Richard (FRA, 79)
The French giant slalom specialist participated in his first World Cup in 2000. 16 years, 81 races and 4 podiums later, he decided to retire, taking with the memory of a successful career. 2011 was his golden year, with a 2nd place in the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, his sole World Cup win in Adelboden and the 3rd place in the season ranking of the discipline.
Marco Sullivan (USA, 80)
American skier Marco Sullivan ended his 15-year-long World Cup career on Sunday, a day after competing in his record 105th downhill race. Sullivan competed in 167 World Cup races, including more downhills than any other American skier. He soon specialized in speed events and claimed 4 World Cup podiums, including a victory in the downhill in Chamonix in 2008.
Barbara Wirth (GER, 89)
71 World Cup starts, best performance: 9th in Bormio SL 2014
Silvano Varettoni (ITA, 84)
71 World Cup starts, best performance: 4th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen DH 2015
Markus Vogel (SUI, 84)
63 World Cup starts, best performance: 6th in Madonna di Campiglio SL 2012
No official communication has been made so far by these athletes themselves, but it looks like the following racers also decided to put an end to their active career:
Ondrej Bank (CZE, 80)
182 World Cup starts, 2 podiums (3rd in Kitzbuehel AC 2015, 3rd in Beaver Creek AC 2007)
Siegmar Klotz (ITA, 87)
96 World Cup starts, best performance: 10th in Kitzbuehel and Kvitfjell SG 2013
François Place (FRA, 89)
39 World Cup starts, best performance: Levi SL 2013
Espen Lysdahl (NOR, 90)
22 World Cup starts, best performance: 9th in Are SL 2014