Silver seals Maier's return
Monday 20 February 2006
Hermann Maier returned to the Olympic podium on Saturday after a gap of eight years - and five years after the motorcycle accident which almost cost him a leg. Although the Austrian was unable to add to the two Olympic golds he earned at Nagano in 1998, he was hardly discontented with the silver he took in the super-giant slalom behind Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt.
"I am so happy I could actually take part in the race," said Maier, who had delayed his arrival at these Games to recover from flu. "It was a difficult course today, a difficult competition, and no medal would have been just as possible. I am very glad to be back - this second Olympic Games has been my biggest goal."
Now 33, Maier has made a habit of confounding judgements throughout his career. As a youngster he was told he was too small for the Austrian ski academy. He grew nine inches in a single year.
He competed at local level while working as a bricklayer until he had the chance to act as a "forerunner" at a World Cup race when it was staged on his local piste. His time was only a second slower on the day than that of the world's leading skier of the time, Alberto Tomba.
After breaking his arm in first World Cup downhill race in 1997 he returned a month later with a cast on his arm and claimed his first World Cup victory.
Now Maier has his sights on today's giant slalom. "The advantage is I have something to take home and keep in my bedside table," he said. "That will give me a better feeling for the next race."
Arsenal Champions League fixtures: Gunners to open with Dinamo Zagreb trip, plus daunting back-to-back Bayern Munich ties
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs