Hermann Maier

Hermann Maier

Maier, Hermann, 1972-, Austrian skier. Sent home from a ski academy in his teens by a physical condition, he was a bricklayer before winning a place on the Austrian World Cup team (and his first World Cup race) in 1996. Nicknamed the "Herminator" for his strong, fearless skiing, he won two Olympic gold medals in 1998. After recovering from a motorcycle accident in 2001 that almost severed his leg, he returned to skiing in 2003 and soon won his 42d race. Four-time overall World Cup champion (1998, 2000, 2001, 2004) and downhill, super-G, and giant slalom champion multiple times, he has 54 World Cup victories, second only to Ingemar Stenmark. He also won a silver and a bronze medal in 2006 and three world titles. He retired in 2009.

Hermann Maier (born December 7, 1972, Altenmarkt im Pongau) is an Austrian skier who has won four overall World Cup titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2004), two Olympic gold medals (both in 1998), three World Championship titles (1999: 2, 2005: 1) and 53 races in the World Cup. He ranks among the likes of Jean-Claude Killy, Ingemar Stenmark, Mark Girardelli, Pirmin Zurbriggen, Gustav Thoeni, Toni Sailer, Alberto Tomba, Kjetil André Aamodt and Franz Klammer as one of the best exponents of the sport.

Maier did not initially enjoy much success in skiing. As a 15-year old at the Schladming ski academy, he was sent home after being told he wouldn't make it because of his slight build caused by growth impairments. He returned home to his father's ski school in Flachau, which is still Maier's hometown. He took up work as a bricklayer in the summer and a ski instructor in the winter.

Participating in local races, Maier became a multiple regional champion in Salzburg and Tyrol, but still was not able to gain a spot in the strong Austrian World Cup skiing team. Putting that behind him, his outstanding talent was recognized for the first time by Austrian coaches in 1996, when he was timed with the 12th fastest time in a World Cup giant slalom in Flachau, although only starting as a forerunner and not participating in the actual competition. This would become the starting point of his international career. In 1997 he won his first World Cup event - a super-G race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He quickly established himself as an explosive and dynamic skier, well known for his strength, his willingness to take risks and the endless effort he put into his training sessions.

Since then he has dominated the sport, 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, which put him on the cover of the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated and made him a well known sportsman around the globe. In the same year he won the super-G World Cup and the overall World Cup. He went on to the win the overall World Cup in 2000 and 2001.

His career seemed over after a near-fatal motorbike accident in August 2001, colliding with a car on his way home from a summer practice session. Doctors were close to amputating his leg, but instead Maier underwent massive reconstructive surgery. Many thought his career was over, and he had to sit out the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons and missed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

However, Maier returned to the World Cup in January 2003 in Adelboden, Switzerland. He shocked the skiing world with an amazing super-G victory in the skiing-mecca of Kitzbühel, Austria only two weeks later. 2003-2004, in his first full season back, he won the super-G World Cup and the overall competition for the fourth time in his career, 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".

Reflecting his apparently indestructible nature, he is sometimes jocularly known as "The Herminator". After his Olympic gold medals in Nagano he also appeared on Jay Leno's Tonight Show 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 German language book, Hermann Maier: Das Rennen Meines Lebens, dealt mainly with his stunning recovery from the 2001 motorcycle accident. In 2005, VeloPress, a Boulder, Colorado based publisher affiliated with Ski Racing 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, winning the giant slalom in Sölden, he reached 51 victories in the World Cup, which makes him the fourth-best alpine-skier of all time behind Ingemar Stenmark, Annemarie Moser-Pröll and Vreni Schneider.

On June 20th 2006, he announced he was switching to HEAD as his equipment sponsor, leaving his long time sponsor Atomic.

On January 18th 2008, he was ranked second in the Kitzbühel's super-G only behind Marco Büchel. His career result in Kitzbühel's super-Gs is incredible and the best in history (in just 7 participations he made incredible 5 wins and 2 second places). Day later, he was fifth in Kitzbühel's downhill. These achievements are his best results of the 2007/08 season yet.

World Cup victories


Season Discipline
2004 Overall
2004 Super-G
2001 Overall
2001 Downhill
2001 Super-G
2001 Giant Slalom
2000 Overall
2000 Downhill
2000 Super-G
2000 Giant Slalom
1999 Super-G
1998 Overall
1998 Super-G
1998 Giant Slalom

Individual victories


Date Location
29 December 1997 Bormio
16 January 1998 Wengen
29 December 1998 Bormio
27 november 1999 Beaver Creek
8 January 2000 Chamonix
29 January 2000 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
2 December 2000 Beaver Creek
9 December 2000 Val d'Isère
20 January 2001 Kitzbühel
2 March 2001 Kvitfjell
8 March 2001 Åre
6 December 2003 Beaver Creek
14 February 2004 St. Anton am Arlberg
5 March 2005 Kvitfjell
28 January 2006 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Giant slalom

Date Location
25 november 1997 Park City
6 January 1998 Saalbach-Hinterglemm
13 January 1998 Adelboden
25 October 1998 Sölden
12 January 1999 Adelboden
31 October 1999 Tignes
24 november 1999 Beaver Creek
5 February 2000 Todtnau
29 october 2000 Sölden
10 December 2000 Val d'Isère
9 January 2001 Adelboden
15 February 2001 Shigakogen
10 March 2001 Åre
23 October 2005 Solden


Date Location
23 February 1997 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
6 December 1997 Beaver Creek
10 January 1998 Schladming
11 January 1998 Schladming
1 February 1998 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
13 December 1998 Val d'Isère
21 December 1998 Innsbruck
9 January 1999 Schladming
7 March 1999 Kvitfjell
28 november 1999 Vail
5 December 1999 Lake Louise
21 January 2000 Kitzbühel
16 March 2000 Bormio
26 november 2000 Lake Louise
19 January 2001 Kitzbühel
4 March 2001 Kvitfjell
27 January 2003 Kitzbühel
30 november 2003 Lake Louise
1 February 2004 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
11 March 2004 Sestrières
24 January 2005 Kitzbühel
6 March 2005 Kvitfjell
20 January 2006 Kitzbühel


Date Location
18 January 1998 Wengen/Veysonnaz

Besides skiing

Hermann also won an all-around sports competition, the 2001 edition of the American Superstars competition.

External links

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