Hermann Maier

From Academic Kids

Hermann Maier (born December 7, 1972) is an Austrian skier who has won four overall World Cup titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2004), two Olympic gold medals (both in 1998) and three World Campionship titles (1999: 2, 2005: 1). He ranks among the likes of Jean-Claude Killy, Ingemar Stenmark, Toni Sailer and Franz Klammer as one of best the exponents of the sport.



Born in Altenmarkt, Austria, Maier did not initially enjoy much success in skiing. At the Schladming ski academy, the 15-year old was sent home and 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, Maier's hometown until today, and took up work as a bricklayer in the summer, while being a skiing teacher 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 partcipating in the actual competition. This should 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.

However, 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 and 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 worldwide known as "The Terminator".


World Cup (overall)

  • 1995-1996: 106th
  • 1996-1997: 21st
  • 1997-1998: 1st
  • 1998-1999: 3rd
  • 1999-2000: 1st
  • 2000-2001: 1st
  • 2001-2002: did not participate
  • 2002-2003: 45th (did only participate in five races)
  • 2003-2004: 1st


World Championships

Besides skiing

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

External links

fr:Hermann Maier it:Hermann Maier pl:Hermann Maier sv:Hermann Maier


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