Austrian ski star Hirscher still undecided on retirement

Vienna (AFP) –


Austrian ski legend Marcel Hirscher said on Tuesday that he would decide "relatively soon" if he would retire or call it quits after winning a record eighth consecutive overall crystal globe this season.

Hirscher said he felt "very, very tired" at the season's end and wanted to see how quickly he would recover.

"I'm now 10 years in the World Cup circus. I want to see how I feel going into summer and if it's physically and mentally possible to have another such (strong) season."

"I surely notice that I'm 30. I'm not 18 anymore... I want to race for the big globe. For that one really needs 100 percent" of physical and mental stamina, he said in a press conference in Vienna.

Austria's slalom sensation finished outside the top 10 in the men's World Cup season finale having already secured the discipline's small globe.

The performance at the end of his strong season reminded him it is not a given to win every race, he said Tuesday.

He said he stood currently at "49-51", but declined to say if he leaned toward retiring or staying on.

Hirscher now has two more overall World Cup wins than the second most successful skier in history, another Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who won six large globes.

The most successful man had been Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg, with five. American Lindsey Vonn and Austrian Hermann Maier both won four.

Earlier this year, Vonn marked her retirement at age 34, following Norwegian skiing legend and her close friend, Aksel Lund Svindal, 36, who skied his last race in February.

Hirscher has often talked of retirement over the last year, previously saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. His wife gave birth to a son last October.

So far, Hirscher has celebrated 67 World Cup victories -- falling short of the record of 86 set by Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark -- out of a total of 138 World Cup podiums.

He has also won two gold medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, eclipsing his previous best, a slalom silver from Sochi four years earlier.

Hirscher, who has also secured seven world championship golds, is feted in Austria as one of the country's favourite sporting sons.

He was born in Annaberg with his family spending summer seasons in an alpine hut in the mountains around the city of Salzburg, according to a media interview with his father.

He started to ski at the age of two taught by his father, who has been by his side and coached him throughout his career.