After an exciting 2018 season, it’s time to say goodbye to a wave of World Cup stars retiring after the latest Olympic Games. This year’s graduating class includes World Cup winners, Olympic medalists and veterans who have been on the international scene for more than than two decades.
Born: 1984 World Cup Starts: 183 World Cup Podiums: 30
Slovakian slalom specialist Veronika Velez Zuzulova made her final World Cup run at Ofterschwang after nearly two decades on the World Cup tour. Her career included five World Cup wins, but no World Championship or Olympic medals despite being one of the top slalom skiers on the ladies’ tour. She has already announced that her next adventure will be life as a mom. She is pregnant with a baby boy.
Born: 1984 World Cup Starts: 113 World Cup Podiums: 1
Giant slalom specialist Florian Eisath celebrated his only career podium in that discipline in front of his home crowd in Alta Badia in 2016 and he competed in the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, where he was 14th.
Born: 1985 World Cup Starts: 284 World Cup Podiums: 17
Her 17 years on the World Cup were highlighted by three World Championship medals in slalom and alpine combined, and three World Cup wins. After Kirchgasser was passed over for the Austrian Olympic team, she decided that it was time for something new and stepped away professional ski racing after her final race in Ofterschwang.
Born: 1985 World Cup Starts: 130 World Cup Podiums: 4
The friendly Frenchman known as “Gus” was fighting a torn ACL contracted in Kvitfjell at the end of the previous season. He participated in downhill races this season, but struggled to ski at his best level. His best season was back in 2015 when he earned all of his four career World Cup podiums.
Born: 1983 World Cup Starts: 283 World Cup Podiums: 14
Manuela Moelgg chose to retire at the peak of her career. At 34 years, she was still able to claim three World Cup podiums this season in the giant slalom races in Soelden, Killington and Courchevel. She ended the season in seventh place in the discipline standings. Unfortunately, her farewell run on the World Cup was canceled in Are, but her friends organized a beautiful farewell after party.
Born: 1990 World Cup Starts: 35
The relatively young retiree, Patrick Schweiger, announced the end of his career due to persistent knee problems.
“After my cartilage injury in Val Gardena in 2016, I tried everything to get 100 percent fit again, unfortunately without success,” he wrote on Instagram. “As a result, I have never been able to show my potential and my skiing skills during the past season and so it makes no sense to me anymore.”
Born: 1984 World Cup Starts: 148
The Italian spent 15 years on the World Cup tour before saying goodbye. Her career consisted of 10 top-10 World Cup finishes, three World Championships and an Olympic Winter Games.
“These are the numbers of my career… numbers that will be written forever, but it’s not the numbers that will remain in my heart,” she wrote on Facebook. “It’s fatigue, passion for skiing, my teammates #dhlions, love, desire, commitment and patience that made me an athlete.”
Born: 1978 World Cup Starts: 172 World Cup Podiums: 3
The oldest of this year’s retirees, Patrick Thaler raced his last World Cup before the Olympic Winter Games. In Schladming, Austria, he made his last run under the lights.
“It’s hard to say enough after twenty one years of racing,” he said after the race. “But it’s time to close this wonderful adventure.”
Born: 1984 World Cup Starts: 399 World Cup Podiums: 36
The career of this bubbly personality of the World Cup ended shortly before PyeongChang as Julia Mancuso had to give up in her battle against a hip injury that prevented her from competing at the highest level in the past years. She made her farewell run in Cortina d’Ampezzo in a super woman outfit, a perfect salute to the end of her legendary career.
Born: 1981 World Cup Starts: 118 World Cup Podiums: 5
After Jan Hudec reach his goal to qualify for PyeongChang as a Czech Republic athlete, the former Canadian athlete announced his retirement. He was satisfied by being able to represent both his countries at the Games as he officially changed nationality in June 2016. With a World Championship and Olympic medals as well as two World Cup victories, Hudec had a successful racing career.
Born: 1988 World Cup Starts: 88 World Cup Podiums: 2
Hungarian speed skier Edit Miklos represented Hungary for seven years on the World Cup circuit including two podium results in downhill. After suffering from back-to-back knee injuries, she announced her retirement from being an athlete on Instagram.
“Due to the tension and dispute that has evolved lately in the Hungarian Ski Association, I can’t see how I could work together with the present management in a professional way,” she wrote. “…I’ve decided to stop my sports career and candidate for the presidency of the Hungarian Ski Association on the General Meeting to be held this Sunday.”
Born: 1986 World Cup Starts: 207 World Cup Podiums: 10
Swedish tech champion Maria Pietilae Holmner made the decision to shift her focus away from competition, following a degenerative disc issue in her back that prevented her from competing this season. However, she has not left the World Cup for good. She is now helping the course crew in Are, Sweden, for the 2019 World Championships.
Born: 1989 World Cup Starts: 97
After an ACL tear in her left knee, the Austrian tech skier worked hard to comeback on the World Cup tour and managed to crack the top 30 in slalom, finishing this season ranked 24th. The athlete said that she had a hard time to keep smiling during that tough season, and that she was ready for something new. Her career was highlighted by a fourth-place in the slalom at Lienz in 2015 and a seventh-place result in the World Championships slalom at Vail-Beaver Creek.
Born: 1989 World Cup Starts: 156
The 28-year-old athlete announced her retirement after the Swiss national championships. Her international career started with a Junior World Championship slalom title in 2009. She retired after her best season ever where she finished 10th in the World Cup slalom standings and 23rd in the World Cup overall rankings, and was on the winning squad at the team event in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
“During the season, I felt that it became harder and harder to put in all the effort to continue at the best level, and the distance to my friends and family became more difficult to handle,” she said. “This is when I started to think about the future and ultimately made the decision to retire.”