Hans Grugger announced today at a press conference in Innsbruck that he will retire from ski racing. The winner of four World Cup races (2 x downhill, 2 x super-G) was often injured during his active career. The 30-year-old sustained the most severe injury on 20th January 2011 in Kitzbühel. Following this crash Grugger spent ten days in artificial coma.
Hans Pum, Sport Director at the Austrian Ski Association, commented: "I know Hans since 13 years. I am not sure if I should be happy or sad about this decision. Sad, because one of the greatest talents in downhill skiing is announcing his retirement. Happy, because Hans may take this decision after his horrible crash on his own. If you remember the moments after this awful crash, the waiting in the finish, the many discussions with the doctors and the amazing support from within the team during the difficult times that followed we have to be thankful today that the consequences are not any worse."
"Without his positive attitude which he demonstrated during all his many injuries it would not be possible to return to everyday life. The case of Hans Grugger has shown us that what is most important in the end are not the hundredths of a second but health. We will in any case support Hans on his next steps and hope that he will at some point work for us as coach," continued Pum.
The Austrian men's head coach Mathias Berthold said: "With Hans Grugger the team loses a great athlete and a wonderful person. As a coach I am sorry not to be able to continue working with such an athlete but I am also happy that he is doing so well at present.""This decision was not difficult for me. I am healthy and very grateful that I am doing so well. The fact that I cannot race in the future is a relatively small issue for me. I can still ski freely and do everything I want," stated Grugger.
"My right foot did not fully heal in the last months respectively no longer improved. There is a chance for improvement but the timing cannot be estimated. That is why I have come to this decision.“
He added: "I have not yet decided what I will do in the future. I was hoping until the last moment recently that I can continue ski racing. Now I just know that I will take the coaching exam and become a certified ski instructor in the near future."Source OeSV.at