Anja Pärson has made the decision. The FIS World Cup Finals in Schladming this week will represent the last World Cup competition in her career.
"My career has been fantastic and I have achieved more than ever could have dreamt for," says Anja Pärson.
She has skied at the top level for 14 years. Her World Cup debut took place at the World Cup Finals in Crans-Montana (SUI) in 1998 and those in Schladming (AUT) will be her final one.
"The last few years with all the spectacular crashes and enduring injuries have reduced my possibilities to remain on the top. Most of all cartilage damage in my left knee has really hampered my skiing and I have now come to a point in my life that both my body and head are no longer ready to continue. I have always been a fighter and this is a difficult decision but after some time reflecting and many discussions with myself I feel that I am ready for new challenges in my life."
Including 19 medals at title events, 42 World Cup wins, 95 podium places and two overall World Cup victories, in 2004 and 2006, Anja Pärson is one of the world's most successful Alpine ski racers.
"This has been the most difficult decision I have had to take in my life. At the same time, I am feeling curious and excited about the new challenges that await me now and I have tons of great memories that I can take with me from my career. The World Championships on home snow in Are 2007 is one of those. The bronze medal in Whistler at the 2010 Games is another one as there I really grew over and beyond my mental capabilities. There the mountain just did not manage to get the better of me. Moreover I will always remember the wonderful duels between me and Janica Kostelic and other fantastic racers."Anja's decision to retire has grown during the year.
"I am choosing to retire with a decision before the season ends so that I can meet all my colleagues, coaches, fans and media on site and thank them for all those moments that we could experience together. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my family, my friends, Tärnaby, Swedish Ski Association, sponsors, Swedish Olympic Committee and all my fans who have believed in me and supported me over the years."What happens in the future is so far open. Now initially, right after the World Cup Finals, it is time for vacation.
"I will take a well-deserved vacation to really understand my decision and then I will take time for family and friends. What comes after that I have not planned yet. I will continue my role as Athlete Representative within FIS's Athletes' Commission for another year. I will continue to work to ensure all the racers have the best conditions to practice their sport and get their voices heard. I also hope to be able to contribute from all the experiences I have collected during my career. My heart will always belong to the sport."