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Skiing's pop queen Maze did it her way

By Paul Gittings, CNN
updated 8:31 AM EST, Mon March 4, 2013
Tina Maze's singing talents saw her recording "My Way is My Decision" reach the top of the Slovenian charts, while the video has had more than a million hits on YouTube. Tina Maze's singing talents saw her recording "My Way is My Decision" reach the top of the Slovenian charts, while the video has had more than a million hits on YouTube.
Pop stardom
Ski rocker
Cartwheel queen
Top performer
Golden girl
Horror crash
Dominant skier
Winning style
Podium consistency
Silver success
  • Tina Maze has rewritten skiing's record books this season
  • Slovenian ace wrapped up overall World Cup title with nine races left
  • Defied death threats to break all-time points record of Hermann Maier
  • Maze has had a No. 1 hit record in her native country

Editor's note:

(CNN) -- Whether it's breaking records on the piste, or making hit records in the studio, Tina Maze is determined to do things her way.

The 29-year-old, who broke ranks with her national skiing federation to set up her own team, last weekend had the satisfaction of breaking the iconic all-time World Cup points record of the legendary Hermann Maier as she shrugged off pre-race death threats.

The Slovenian has celebrated her numerous victories by turning cartwheels and, even more daringly, once famously unzipped her ski suit to reveal her under clothing to photographers after some rivals had wrongly accused her of gaining an aerodynamic advantage by placing padding in her sports bra.

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But not content with just grabbing the sporting headlines, Maze is also hitting the high notes in a fledgling career as a pop star -- inspired by influences such as Alicia Keys, Jessie J and, of course, Lady Gaga.

Read: Maze defies death threat to break record

A leading Slovenian music producer persuaded Maze to record a number he had written. Given her maverick reputation and single-minded approach, the title could not have been more apt:-- "My Way is My Decision" -- and it proved an instant hit, quickly reaching No. 1 in the Slovenian charts.

The accompanying video -- which sees Maze moving in time to the catchy up tempo song -- has had over a million hits on YouTube.

At one point, Maze dons a skiing helmet and uses a ski as a mock guitar, but fooling aside it is clear she has more than a modicum of musical talent.

"It was a new challenge -- I love music," she told CNN's Alpine Edge show.

"When I was a kid I played the piano for six years and all my family are musicians."

Having focused relentlessly on her skiing career since her teenage years, Maze is relieved to find an outside distraction in a completely different field.

"I was always looking for something different. Skiing is always so huge, you need so many talents to be fast and be good at this sport," she said.

"You need some talent and sensibility which you get with music."

Read: Maze upstages superstar Vonn

Maze's skiing rivals were already aware of her talents on and off the slopes, and she often entertains her rivals with her piano skills when they stay at exclusive five-star hotels on the tour.

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When a concert was laid on at the end of the world championships in Schladming in Austria last month, she was quick to grab the microphone and belt out a few numbers.

Maze had plenty to celebrate, having won a gold in the super-G and two silvers in the super-combined and giant slalom.

Many predicted she would achieve the almost unprecedented feat of winning medals in all five of alpine skiing's disciplines, but tiredness and muscle soreness saw her finish fifth and seventh in the slalom and downhill respectively.

But her incredible consistency across all the events has served Maze spectacularly well during the World Cup season, and she clinched the Crystal Globe of overall women's champion with nine events still remaining with victory in the super-G at Meribel a week after the championships at Schladming.

Read: Maze wraps up Crystal Globe early

It left her in touching distance of the all-time points record of the "Herminator" Maier and this was duly achieved with her ninth victory of the season in Saturday's downhill at Garmisch Partenkirchen.

It took her past the magic 2,000 points mark of Maier and completed World Cup wins in all five of skiing's disciplines.

With echoes of her hit pop video, she celebrated her win this time by using her ski as a guitar, and had time to throw in her trademark cartwheel.

But afterwards, Maze revealed that she had received an email death threat, and there was a strong German police presence at Sunday's super-G, where she finished fourth.

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Typically, she shrugged off the threats. "It shouldn't be part of the game but life is not perfect. It's not nice for me, it's not nice for my team. They want to ruin your day, ruin the record," she told gathered reporters.

Maze has had to play second fiddle to the likes of American superstar Lindsey Vonn, the previous holder of the women's points record of 1980, but no longer.

"I've been improving for the past four or five seasons. You didn't see me much before, but I was improving and this season it all fits together," she said.

Since 2008, Maze has been guided by her Italian coach and boyfriend, Andrea Massi -- going it alone with their team "aMaze."

It has paid off in spectacular style.

"Winning the overall is a dream I've had since being a young skier. It's everyone's dream."

Vonn's shocking crash in the super-G at the world championships -- she was airlifted off the piste after sustaining a serious knee injury -- tempered Maze's subsequent triumph, and the Slovenian's look of horror and concern for her rival was only too evident.

"I'm really afraid of crashes," she admitted. "I always concentrate 100% to make sure I do not make any mistakes such as happened to Lindsey.

"She was pushing the limits, she always does and that's why she's a great fighter."

Read: Maze wins after Vonn crashes out of worlds

Vonn faces a race against time to be fit in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year, where Maze is determined to add to the two silvers she won at the 2010 Games in Vancouver as she carries the hopes of her small nation.

"It's my next major goal, to win a gold that's my goal," she said.

And don't rule out a return to the top of the music charts ("I'm really proud of that") by a young woman with talent and a zest for life -- a real crowd-pleaser in every sense.

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