Kalle Palander retires
35-year old Kalle Palander sustained yet another, and his last, knee injury last October at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup opening in Sölden. Thursday, 20th September, Palander announced that he is pulling down the curtain on his career.
"This decision is the final one. For the first time, I quit in April. But then I started training again," he says.
The final decision came after a long period of reflection beginning in February and concluding in July.
"My gear has been ready to go since Sölden last year. Yesterday I took it and brought everything from the garage to the basement," Palander said. "It felt a bit strange, I have to admit. I thought about putting the boots on one more time, but then I decided to let it be."
"It would be too easy to say that I quit because the body cannot take it any more. But that is not the reason. I am in shape enough physically to say that if I had the motivation, fire, will and faith, I could make it back to the top, I would have continued."
"I feel relieved now. There is no longer the pressure to get fit by Sölden. I had to force myself to train and then when I got there, I just wasted my time at the gym. It is time to go and do something else."
As the first Finn, Kalle Palander won slalom gold at the FIS World Ski Championships in Vail in 1999. He debuted in the World Cup in December 1996 and won a total of 14 World Cup events, both in slalom and giant slalom. He won the slalom World Cup title in the season 2002/03.