FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Florian Eckert retires at 26 amidst tough times for German team

Florian Eckert retires at 26 amidst tough times for German teamFlorian Eckert of Germany announced his retirement on Wednesday, bringing to a close a promising career that was disrupted by injuries. It’s another tough break for the German ski team.

The 26-year-old skier has struggled to overcome a serious knee injury from 2001. He finished third in the 2001 world championship downhill at St. Anton (won by Hannes Trinkl), and twice finished second at the World Cup in Kvitfjell, Norway (behind Hermann Maier in one, and Stephan Eberharter in the other).

‘I would have decided to end my career, even though I would have liked to race at Torino’ said Eckert. ‘The knee is not strong enough for a racing load. I have to stop again and again. It makes no sense to keep skiing.’

Eckert has been a member of the German Federal Armed Forces for the last six years, and plans to study fine mechanics in Munich.

‘The crew will miss him enormously’ said Germany’s men’s coach Werner Margreiter. ‘His professional attitude made him a guiding figure for the team.’

It has been a difficult few weeks for the German team. A gruesome gondola accident killed young German skiers and Maria Reisch suffering yet another major injury.

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