Hermann Maier


Hermann Maier : biography

7 December 1972 –

Ski Career

Maier made his World Cup debut at age 23 on 10 February 1996, and finished 26th in the giant slalom at Hinterstoder, Austria. A year later in February 1997, he won his first World Cup event – a Super-G race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. He quickly established himself as an explosive and dynamic racer, well known for his strength, willingness to take risks, and strong work ethic.

Maier soon dominated alpine ski racing, winning the gold medal in the giant slalom and Super-G at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, only a few days after a dramatic crash in the downhill race where he flew spectacularly off the sunlit course, landed partially on his head, tumbled head over heels several times, and crashed through two layers of B-netting. Despite the horrible look of the crash, Maier was able to walk out under his own power. That put him on the of Sports Illustrated and made him a well known sportsman around the globe. Maier won the overall World Cup title in 1998, as well as the Super-G and giant slalom season titles, and placed second in the downhill standings.

In 2000 he won the overall World Cup title, as well as the season titles in downhill, Super G, and giant slalom. He had a dominating performance, setting the then most point garnered by an alpine skier, of 2000 points. This record was not surpassed until female skier Tina Maze beat it in 2013, with 2,314 points. New York Daily News, , Nathaniel Vinton, 16 March 2013

In 2001, the overall World Cup title, as well as the season titles in downhill, Super G, and giant slalom. He won 13 World Cup races, but settled for two medals (silver and bronze) in the speed events at the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton. He was the reigning world champion in both events, won in 1999 at Beaver Creek, Colorado. Maier at "Day of Sports" Festival Vienna 2006.

His racing career nearly ended following a near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 2001; he collided with a car on his way home from a summer training session in Austria. Doctors nearly amputated his lower right leg, but instead Maier underwent massive reconstructive surgery. Most believed his racing career was over, and he had to sit out the 2002 season, missing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He returned to international competition in January 2003 in Adelboden, Switzerland. Just two weeks later, he shocked the skiing world with an amazing Super-G victory in the skiing-mecca of Kitzbühel, Austria.

In 2004, his first full season back, he reclaimed both the Super-G and overall titles, a feat widely seen as one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. In 2004, Hermann Maier received the Laureus World Sports Award for the "Comeback of the Year". His overall title was the fourth of his career.

Reflecting his apparently indestructible nature, he is sometimes jocularly known as "The Herminator." After his 1998 Olympic gold medals in Nagano he also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC – together with Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is known worldwide as "The Terminator".

In 2004, Maier wrote an autobiography with his friend and former publicity agent, Knut Okresek. The book, Hermann Maier: Das Rennen Meines Lebens (in German), dealt mainly with his stunning recovery from the 2001 motorcycle accident. In 2005, , a Boulder, Colorado-based publisher affiliated with magazine, acquired the worldwide English language rights to the book, which was published in time for the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, as Hermann Maier: The Race of My Life.

In October 2005, he won the opening giant slalom in Sölden to amass 51 victories in the World Cup. This placed him fourth on the career victory list, behind Ingemar Stenmark, Annemarie Moser-Pröll, and Vreni Schneider.

On 20 June 2007, Maier announced he was switching to Head as his equipment sponsor, ending his long affiliation with Atomic. Also switching from Atomic to Head at this time were champions Bode Miller of the U.S. and Didier Cuche of Switzerland.