Mario Scheiber retires from ski racing
SCHLADMING, Austria – After 112 World Cup starts including 13 podiums, Austria’s Mario Scheiber announced his retirement from ski racing on Monday in Schladming.
Having just celebrated his 29th birthday last week, Scheiber has struggled with knee injuries and it has become clear this season especially that the best of his abilities as an alpine racer are behind him now.
“My injuries the last 10, 11 years were a lot,” Scheiber said. “I’m happy about my decision. That’s life … and my life after I’m 29, 30, it’s more important for me. If you have a lot of injuries, it’s no fun. I tried a lot of times to [get passed them] but after this season, which was very bad, especially after Sochi, the fun was not so much. I tried every race to give my best but it was no good.”
After taking nearly a year off to recover from injury, the speed specialist reappeared back on the World Cup tour this season in Val Gardena, where he pulled off an impressive ninth place in the super G. That proved to be his top result the remainder of the season, however, as his knee pain became intense and, starting in just the super G events after Sochi, Scheiber DNFed in the last three races in Crans-Montana and Kvitjell.
“I think it’s the right decision for him. That he was only able to ski with a lot of medication is really something that shows you the way that it’s time,” said Austrian men’s head coach Mattias Berthold. “I have to say we will miss him as a great person, team player and as an athlete that was very successful.”
Scheiber’s most shining moments include coming back from injury to Kitzbuehel in 2008 and skiing to third place in the super G and then second place in the downhill. He skied to the top three on the World Cup’s most demanding courses – twice in Beaver Creek, Bormio and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
“The first big moment for me was the Kitzbuehel downhill – I was injured after Groden, then I come back with third place in super G and second in downhill. It was a very special moment for me,” Scheiber said. “I have to say all podiums were a very good feeling for me. I remember them all the last seven years. The very big victory didn’t come … but it’s no problem for me. Thirteen times on the podium is not so bad.”
Scheiber has no clear plan for his future but plans to continue work with his sponsor Sky, to possibly pursue a career as a police officer or a ski instructor. Regardless, he is certain he is making the right decision and felt a big weight lift after his announcement in Schladming.
“I go home today. The next thing, I will spend time with my family, with my little daughter,” he said. “It was a difficult decision for me, but after this I feel lighter. I’m happy to be here and to say my career is finished. My feeling is good.”
by Shauna Farnell