Paerson confirms retirement plans

Mon, 12 Mar 10:31:00 2012

Former Olympic and multi-world champion Anja Paerson will retire after this week's World Cup finals, bringing an end to a glittering 14-year career.

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Paerson, whose season has been hampered by a knee injury, made her World Cup debut at the 1998 finals in Crans-Montana, Switzerland and the season-ending event in Schladming, Austria will be the 30-year-old's last.

"Spectacular crashes and long, drawn out injury problems over last few years have reduced my ability to perform at the highest level," Paerson said in a statement.

"I have always been a fighter and this is a tough decision, but after thinking it over, I am ready for new challenges in my life," she added.

Paerson picked up a slalom gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, won seven world championship titles and two overall World Cup crowns. The last of her 42 World Cup race wins was a downhill victory in Tarvisio, Italy in March 2011.

Her fighting spirit was especially apparent in the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver when she recovered from a spectacular crash in training to finish third in the super-combined and snatch the last of her six Olympic medals.

"There, I really grew over and beyond my mental capabilities," she said. "There, the mountain just did not manage to get the better of me."

Paerson, a member of the International Ski Federation (FIS) athletes commission, said she had not yet made plans for the future.

"My heart will always belong to the sport," she said.


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