The ‘Speed Queen' Renate Goetschl is the third most successful female ski racer of all time with an astounding 46 victories on the World Cup behind only such legends as compatriot Annemarie Moser-Proell (62 wins) and the Swiss Vreni Schneider (55 wins). For a few years now the Austrian has been considering retirement but regularly comes back for the start of the winter to test herself against the younger and possibly hungrier competitors. 2007 was one her best years ever (at the age of 31) proving that she could still compete with the best. She managed 8 victories over the course of the season in DH and SuperG, blowing the competition away.
The 2008 season was less successful but in part due to the fact that she had not been able to train properly over the summer. A crash at Tarvisio at the very end of the previous season meant that she had to undergo surgery to her knee in the spring, keeping her quiet for most of the summer.
Goetschl was born in Obdach, Styria (Austria) on August 6th 1975 and showed great promise as a youngster. She attended the skiing and trade school in Schladming and at the tender age of 15, she began to participate in FIS races.
She made her debut in the World Cup in 1993 at Lillehammer when she was just 17 years old and stunned the watching public by winning that Slalom race. The following season she recorded her second win, this time in the Combined of St Anton. These were early signs of what was to come although in future years she began to concentrate more and more on the speed disciplines.
Her first victory in one of the speed events arrived in a SuperG race at Flachau in 1995 but she had to wait a further year before winning another race, in Downhill this time, at Vail, Colorado.
Goetschl's breakthrough year was in the 1996/97 season when she was crowned speed queen for the first time after winning the DH World Cup. Since that year she has never finished outside of the top five in the discipline standings at the end of the season and has taken home a total of 5 DH Globes (in 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2007).
On top of that she has also won the SuperG World Cup on three occasions, 2000, 2004 and 2007, and two Combined titles in 2000 and 2002.
Her biggest achievement though was reached in the 2000 season when she dominated like never before and as well as the two individual titles (in DH and SuperG) she also won the Overall title ahead of her big rival and compatriot Michaela Dorfmeister. It is the only overall title that Renate Goetschl has managed to win in her lengthy career.
To this day she has 26 victories in DH, 17 in SuperG, one in Slalom and 4 in Combined.
Her record in the World Championships speaks of 7 individual medals won. She made her debut in the competition back in 1996 at Sierra Nevada with a highest result of 4th in the Combined but just a year later at Sestriere she took her first medal, the Gold, in the same discipline. She dominated the Championships of 1999 in Vail/Beaver Creek by taking another gold in Downhill this time and two silver medals in SuperG and Combined. She competed at St Anton 2001, St Moritz 2003, Bormio 2005 and Are 2007 and although she picked up more medals she failed to take home another gold.
Her dominance from the World Cup has never translated itself well to the Olympic games either where she only managed two medals at the Salt Lake City games, a bronze and silver in the DH and Combined respectively. In the Turin games of 2006 she finished just outside off the podium in 4th in DH but was a disastrous 26th in the SuperG.
Renate Goetschl's favourite slope is Cortina d'Ampezzo. She has won there a record ten times. Her first came in 1999and the last in 2007. No other athlete has ever won that many races at Cortina.
The 33-year-old will be back on the World Cup Circuit once more in the 2008/09 season after coming through some tests over the summer in positive fashion and will be looking to take one more globe before deciding to hang up her skis for good. She will also have the possibility of winning more World Championship medals in Val d'Isere where she has never previously won a race.
It remains to be seen whether the veteran Austrian will continue until the 2010 Vancouver Games in search of her first Olympic gold medal!