In a televised prime-time announcement on Wednesday evening in his hometown of Salzburg, Austria’s most successful male ski racer, Marcel Hirscher, announced his retirement from the sport at age 30.
“I’ll do it quick and easy,” Hirscher said. “Yes, it is today that I will end my career. This is not a change of jobs, it’s an end of a way of living and it’s going to be tough.”
Speculation has run wild over the last year concerning whether Hirscher would retire after his marriage to his longtime girlfriend, Laura Moisl, and the birth of their son last October led the Austrian to hint at calling it quits several times last season.
Over the course of a World Cup career that began in 2007 when he was just 18, the Austrian amassed 67 World Cup wins, three Olympic medals, nine World Championship medals, 12 slalom and giant slalom crystal globes, and an unprecedented eight-straight Overall World Cup titles from 2012-2019.
“There were many reasons that formed one big picture,” he continued of his decision. “More recovery time needed after a season, my motivation after 12 years mostly uninjured on this level without break. I’m also very lucky to be without any bigger injuries, it is a blessing. It’s like charging a battery, after a while it doesn’t work that well anymore.”
When asked whether he will miss his old job once the World Cup kicks off next month in Soelden, he replied as any true competitor ready for the next phase of his life would.
“If it’s foggy in Soelden, I will enjoy my warm spot in front of the TV, but if it is minus 10 degrees celsius and sunshine it’s going to be hard,” he said.
Remarkably humble throughout his career given the accolades he managed to accumulate over his time on the World Cup, Hirscher was also asked if he has any lingering regrets about his career and whether he would do it over again the same way if he was given the chance.
“I never allowed myself to dream of [all my success] happening,” he said. “Not even close. I always tried to avoid using the word ‘pride’ but I think today is a good opportunity to say I am proud about my achievements and it really makes me happy. That’s why I can say I would do it all again the same way even though I was told to celebrate more, which is right, but then I wouldn’t have skied as fast as I did.”
Going forward, Hirscher’s immediate plans for his newfound free time are lots of quality time with his young son and new wife, riding his motorcycles, and hiking the mountains surrounding his home.