Exceptional athletes retiring from the World Cup Tour
For some athletes, the Easter break is not just a time without ski racing, but it is the beginning of a new chapter away from the World Cup Tour. It is the case of the following athletes, who recently chose to retire.
Jan Hudec (CZE, 1981)
118 World Cup starts, 5 World Cup podiums, 2 World Cup victories, 1 World Championships podium, 1 Olympic Winter Games podium
Jan Hudec’s goal to qualify for PyeongChang 2018 for his second country, the Czech Republic, has been achieved this winter and the former Canadian athlete now announced his retirement, satisfied to have represented both his countries at the Olympics as he officially changed nationality in June 2016. With two medals at big events (2nd in DH at WCS 2007 and 3rd in SG at OWG 2014), as well as two World Cup victories (DH Lakes Louise 2007 and Chamonix 2012), he can look back on a successful career.
Manuela Moelgg (ITA, 1983)
283 World Cup starts, 14 World Cup podiums, 1 Crystal medal
Manuela Moelgg is retiring at the summit of her career. With 34 years, she was still able to claim three World Cup podiums this season, in the giant slaloms in Sölden, Killington and Courchevel and ended at the 7th place of the season standings. Unfortunately, her farewell run on the World Cup was cancelled in Are, but her friends organized a beautiful farewell after party.
Guillermo Fayed (FRA, 1985)
130 World Cup starts, 4 World Cup podiums, 1 Crystal medal in DH
The friendly Frenchman called “Gus” was fighting a torn ACL contracted in Kvitfjell at the end of the previous season. He participated in downhill races this season, but struggled to ski at his best level, the one he had when he finished 3rd of the downhill season ranking in 2015, scoring three of his four career podiums in this season.
Florian Eisath (ITA, 1984)
113 World Cup starts, 1 World Cup podium: 3rd GS Alta Badia 2016
Giant slalom was is specialty and Florian Eisath had the honor of celebrating his only podium in that discipline in front of his home crowd in Alta Badia in 2016. He also concluded his career with a win at the Military and Police Championships, in front of various big names of the discipline.
Tim Jitloff (USA, 1985)
125 World Cup starts, best: 5th GS Alta Badia 2013 and Sestrière 2009
They join the list of athletes who announced their retirement earlier during the season.
Julia Mancuso (USA, 1984)
399 World Cup starts, 36 World Cup podiums, 7 World Cup victories, 5 World Championships podiums, 4 Olympic Winter Games podiums, 1 Olympic Winter Games victory (GS 2006), 7 Crystal medals
The career of this bubbly personality of the World Cup ended shortly before the Olympic Games, as Julia Mancuso had to give up in her battle against a severe hip injury that prevented her to race at the highest level in the past years.
Veronika Velez-Zuzulova (SVK, 1984)
183 World Cup starts, 30 World Cup podiums, 5 World Cup victories, 4 Crystal medals
Shortly before the beginning of this season, after finishing second of the slalom season standings twice in a row, the Slovakian slalom whiz tore her ACL and had to undergo an experimental injury to be back on skis for her last Olympic Winter Games. She managed a miraculous recovery and claimed a 17th place in PyeongChang 2018 and was able to ski her farewell race in Ofterschwang.
Michalea Kirchgasser (AUT, 1985)
284 World Cup starts, 17 World Cup podiums, 3 World Cup victories, 3 World Championships podiums, 6 Crystal medals
Her 17 years on the World Cup were marked by not less than three medals at World Championships (2nd SL 2013, 3rd AC 2015, 3rd AC 2017) and countless smiles and good memories. End of January, she decided that it was time for something new and to quit professional ski racing after her final race in Ofterschwang.
Maria Pietilae Holmner (SWE, 1986)
207 World Cup starts, 10 World Cup podiums, 3 World Cup victories, 2 World Championships podiums, 1 Crystal medal
Swedish tech champion Maria Pietliae Holmner also made the decision to shift focus and stop being an active competitor, following a degenerative disc issue in her back that prevented her to compete this season. However, she didn’t leave the World Cup for good, as she is now helping the course crew in Åre regarding the World Championships 2019.
Patrick Thaler (ITA, 1978)
172 World Cup starts, 3 World Cup podiums: 3rd SL Kitzbuehel 2014, Val d’Isère 2013 and Kitzbuehel 2009
The Italian slalom specialist crossed the finish line of a World Cup for the last time in Schladming. For more than 20 years the South Tyrolean was living his childhood dream and was able to claim three World Cup podiums during his career.
Andrej Sporn (SLO, 1981)
198 World Cup starts, 1 World Cup podium: 3rd DH Kitzbuehel 2010
The speed skier of Slovenia has the honor to have a Kitzbuehel downhill podium as a career highlight. After several seasons off the World Cup Tour, Andrej Sporn chose to officially retire and celebrate the end of his career at this home World Cup in Kranjska Gora.
Verena Stuffer (ITA, 1984)
148 World Cup starts, best: 4th SG Cortina d’Ampezzo 2014
Jefferey Frisch (CAN, 1984)
77 World Cup starts, best: 12th DH Kvitfjell 2007
Marie Massios (FRA, 1992)
24 World Cup starts, best: 21st GS Jasna 2016
Elisabeth Willibald (GER, 1996)
16 World Cup starts, best: 15th SL Flachau 2016
We thank all these athletes for making the World Cup memorable and wish them all the best in their new life projects.