Olympic champion Anna Veith announces her retirement from professional skiing. “I have lived my childhood dream and now is the right time for me to take a step back.”
No tears, all smiles.
“I am delighted to be able to end my career in a happy and successful place,” says Anna Veith, who currently holds the title as Austria’s most successful ski racer.
Olympic champion in 2014, followed by winning the World Cup Title 2 and 3 in 2015, making her overall World Cup winner two consecutive times. She has won everything there is to win in skiing, also holding the title of Sportswoman of the Year three years in a row. In preparation for the ski season in October 2015, Anna suffered a devastating fall which did severe damage to her right knee: a torn patellar tendon, cruciate ligament tear and an inner band rupture. She was instantly deviated from her path to success. Her fight back to the top took two years, culminating in World Cup victory number 15 in Val d’Isere in 2017 and Olympic silver in Pyeongchang in 2018. In January 2019 she injured herself again during giant slalom training. Another torn ACL and, once again, in her right knee. After initial doubts as to whether she should fight her way back again, in June of that same year she decided “the fire was still burning”. She achieved a comeback but not to her former world number one position. The seed of doubt continued to grow, and inevitability eventually took over and now, the time has come to say, enough.
“I am so very proud of everything I’ve achieved,” says Anna Veith.
“I acknowledge the hardships and sacrifices that came along with it. My passion for sports is what has always continued to fuel my drive. I repeatedly gave it my all and my hard work was rewarded. But it was not to be this time. Last winter I did everything I could to come back and to find trust within myself to get there, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned.”
“In my life, the sport was the most important thing for so many years. I was able to do what I always wanted and loved the most. I am filled with a deep appreciation but feel that now is the right time to take a step back.”
“I say goodbye with incredible gratitude”
I look back with so much gratitude and only a pinch of melancholy. A significant element of this career are the trainers and support team, friends, family and partners. Without them, none of this would have been possible. It requires the support of each and every one of them and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. Especially those who always believed in and stood by me, when I had to deal with setbacks.
The greatest success from the 30-year old’s point of view, which she also recalls being the one she was most moved by: “The most emotional, without a doubt, was the silver medal I won in the Olympic Games 2018 in Pyeongchang. After my first serious injury in 2015, no one knew if it would be possible to go back to skiing the way I did before. This medal was proof and reward for all the hard work I had invested. Another monumental event which I will remember for the rest of my life is the World Cup final in Meribel where, at the last moment, I was able to beat Tina Maze in the overall World Cup. Having gone head to head with her at peak level for weeks, this was a special win for me. A victory in the overall World Cup is every young skier’s dream. It is the equivalent of saying “you are the best”, “there is no one better than you, at this sport, this season”. That is an incredible feeling. “
“Looking forward to my new life and embracing all the opportunities that come my way”
Anna now looks forward to enjoying her new life and everything that lies ahead. “I feel liberated like a weight has been taken off my shoulders,” she said, after announcing her retirement.
“Until now I was able to call ski racing my job. I have never done anything else or loved anything as much. The smell of fresh snow. Early mornings spent on the glacier. The Team. These are all things I will miss dearly. I don’t know what’s next yet, but I look forward to finding out.
Release Courtesy of Austrian Ski Federation