Monday, December 01, 2008

The Race of My Life

When Austrian skiing legend Hermann "The Herminator" Maier wins a World Cup ski race, you know the ski season is ON! The wily veteran won the men's Super G race at the Bombardier Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup, pushing young Canadian hotshot John Kucera into second place. Maier is an ancient in ski racing's speed events, turning 36 next week. Canada's Thomas Grandi, who has un-retired recently in order to try and compete at Vancouver-Whistler 2010 is also 36, but competes in the technical events (slalom and giant slalom).
Folks were starting to write Maier off as he hadn't won a World Cup race in three years before this victory. Lake Louise is good to him - this is his third Super G victory there. Anyone should be wary of writing Maier off as he accomplished one of sports' great comebacks in 2004. In the summer of 2001 Maier almost died when he crashed his motorcycle. Doctors considered amputating his leg as it was so injured. There were thoughts that Maier might never walk again, never mind ski and certainly not ski competitively. But Maier worked his way back, first to walking, then to running, then to skiing. And in 2004 Maier not only made it back to the winner's podium, he won his fourth World Cup overall title.

I hope I haven't spoiled the story in his book, The Race of My Life. It is an interesting, even inspiring, read, including a foreword from that other comeback kid, Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike).
Photo below of John Kucera courtesy


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