Tom Hilde has announced that he will end his Ski Jumping career during this season's RAW AIR, which starts on Friday in Oslo. The Norwegian is part of the national quota for the first two stops of the tour in Oslo and Lillehammer.
"I've done it long enough. 12 years ago I was competing in the World Cup for the first time in Lillehammer. It was not a very difficult decision, enough his enough. The young athletes are on a higher level than I am", the crowd favorite said to the Norwegian news agency NTB.
So a circle could be completed for Tom Hilde in Lillehammer when he competes for the last time at the same venue where he made his World Cup debut more than a decade ago. But there's still a slight chance that his career might be a few days longer: "If I'll get the chance, I will take part in the final in Vikersund. But when you look at the statistics and the results this winter, it's realistic, that it's over after the World Cup in Lillehammer."
If it was up to Clas Brede Brathen, sports director of the Norwegian Ski Association, the 30-year-old should not say goodbye to Ski Jumping completely. "Tom Hilde is one of the most popular athletes in Ski Jumping, even though his name was further down on the result lists in the recent years. It would be stupid to not get Tom involved in Norwegian Ski Jumping in any way. We cannot afford that."
FIS Race Director Walter Hofer would also like to see the Norwegian stay in Ski Jumping somehow: "It is a sad decision. Tom Hilde is a very talented ski jumper. He has been on top a few years ago and he did everything he can to get there again. He is a great representative of the sport and I hope he will find a role that will allow him to stay involved in Ski Jumping."
Since his debut in 2006, Tom Hilde has competed in a total of 203 individual World Cup events, he finished on the podium 15 times and took three wins, most recently in Bischofshofen 2011. At the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010, he won bronze with the team, at World Championships he won for silver and one bronze medal (Ski Flying) in team competitions.