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'Herminator' Maier calls time on skiing career

  • Story Highlights
  • Legendary Austrian skier Hermann Maier ends his illustrious career at age of 36
  • Two-time Olympic champion has recently recovered from knee surgery in March
  • He says he wanted to quit while still in good physical condition
  • Maier is second-most successful male skier ever with 54 World Cup race wins
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(CNN) -- Legendary Austrian skier Hermann Maier has ended his illustrious career at the age of 36 despite having recovered from knee surgery.

Hermann Maier is known for his spectacular all-action style -- and crashes -- on the piste.

Hermann Maier is known for his spectacular all-action style -- and crashes -- on the piste.

The two-time Olympic champion, winner of three world titles and four World Cup overall crowns, has fought back to full fitness after his operation at the end of March, but decided he was ready to bow out after a 13-season career.

"I have decided that I will draw a line and end my career as a ski racer as of today," Maier told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday.

"My big goal was to get back in shape physically, and I have achieved exactly that.

"With regard to my future life, my health was paramount for me and that's why I'm calling it quits now."

Maier, who won gold in the super-G and giant slalom events at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, is known for his spectacular crashes on the piste -- and he overcame a near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 2001 which ruled him out of skiing for a year.

He bounced back to win a World Cup event two weeks after his return in January 2003, and the next year reclaimed his super-G and overall World Cup titles.

Nicknamed "The Herminator" for his physical, all-action style, Maier is the second-most successful male skier after Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark with 54 World Cup race victories to his name.

He won two world titles in super-G and downhill at Vail, Colorado in 1999, and claimed gold in the giant slalom in Bormio, Italy in 2005.

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