Paerson to quit after World Cup finals

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2012, 18:19 PM IST

Stockholm: Former Olympic and world champion Anja Paerson will retire after this week`s Alpine ski World Cup finals, bringing an end to a glittering 14-year career, the Swede said on Monday.

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 the 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."

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, in 2004 and 2006. 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.

Bureau Report