Time to say goodbye

28 April 2011 05:42

With the 2011/12 season being marked by the absence of World Championships and Olympic Games, a number of top athletes, some of whom have enjoyed considerable success during their career, have announced their retirements at the season end. Below is an overview of some Alpine Skiing racers who have decided to bid farewell to the White Circus:

The upcoming World Cup season 2010/2011 will take place without the Alpine ladies Ingrid Jacquemod (FRA) and Marie Jose Rienda Contreras (SPA). 32-year-old Jacquemod, who collected six World Cup podium finishes in her 15-year career, has decided to call time on her competitive sport's career. The French skier from Val d' Isère earned only one victory in her career, in the downhill in Santa Caterina (ITA) in 2005. Her best result at a title event was a 5th place finish in the World Championship downhill in Bormio in 2005. She had great success at the Junior World Ski Championships in 1997 (silver) and 1998 (gold).

35-year-old Marie Jose Rienda Contreras won six World Cup giant slaloms in her professional career. Rienda announced the end of her career in Sierra Nevada, where she began skiing in 1984 at the age of nine. Luck was not always on Rienda's side, with numerous serious knee injuries plaguing her progress, including the last one in 2008 suffered in the giant slalom at Aspen. She said goodbye to the Alpine Worlds at GAP 2011 with 28th place in the super-G.

Altogether five Swiss female slalom skiers decided to conclude their careers. After Aita Camastral, Rabea Grand, Aline Bonjour and Sandra Gini, Jessica Pünchera was the last one to join her teammates in retirement. The Alpine Skiing retirees on the ladies' side also included Norway's Lene Loeseth whilst Croatian skier Ana Jelusic will take a break from the World Cup at least for next season. She has decided to take time off because of long-term problems struggling with asthma.

The list of the Alpine retirees on the men's side is headed by Austrian Michael Walchhofer who ended his career with a superb season, finishing 2nd in the downhill standings after narrowly missing out in the very last race. From Lake Louise to Kvitfjell, Wengen to Kitzbühel and Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Val Gardena, Michael Walchhofer won all the classic international downhills, including Val d'Isère, Beaver Creek and Bormio whilst many top athletes would already be happy with a single victory in one of these ‘classics'.

Only a few racers from the calibre of ski legends like Franz Klammer or Stephan Eberharter were able to dominate their colleagues in a similar fashion as Walchhofer did on all the courses they competed on during their career. With Andreas Buder, the Austrian team is losing another male racer.

Kilian Albrecht (BUL), Mitja Dragšič (SLO), Omar Longhi (ITA) and Urs Imboden (MDA) are all hanging up their skis, as is France's Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin whilst the Swiss men's team has to do without two racers next season, Cornel Züger and Renzo Valsecchi.