Alpine Skiing – ‘The Amazing Super-G Herminator’

Hermann Maier

Super-G stands for super giant slalom, an event that combines the speed of downhill with the more precise turns of giant slalom. The course is shorter than downhill but longer than a giant slalom course, and includes high-speed turns, jumps and gliding phases. Each skier makes one run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.

As in the case of the downhill, a helmet is compulsory for the super-G (some skiers choose to attach a chin guard), and the poles are curved to fit around the body to reduce air resistance.

The first Super G race at World Cup Level was held in December 1982 at France (Val-d’Isère). The winner of that first race was Switzerland’s Peter Muller. Four years after, the Super-G was included in Alpine Skiing World Championships Programme in its 1987 edition at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Local skiers and Super-G stars at that moment Pirmin Zurbriggen and Maria Walliser became then the first world champions of Super-G, respectively in the men and women events.

One year after The Super-G was also included in The Winter Olympics that took place in Canada (Calgary). The Olympic gold went to Frenchman Franck Piccard and Austrian Lady Sigrid Wolf.

But the most famous Super-G skier ever is Hermann Maier of Austria. Maier started his career in 1996 at the age of 23. His 24 World Cup victories, five World Cup titles, a World Championship, and an Olympic gold medal and his aggressive course tactics and option for the most direct and dangerous line down the hill grant him the nickname of ‘ HERMINATOR’ .

Strangely, his worst accident did not occur in Ski lanes. His racing career nearly ended following a near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 2001 when he collided with a car on his way home from a summer training session in Austria.  His lower leg was nearly amputated, but doctors managed to prevent that and opted for a massive reconstructive surgery. Several of his wins in Super-G were registered after all this delicate recovery process.

On October 2009, after 13 years competing in the World Cup circuit, Hermann Maier retired at the age of 36.

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