Hermann Maier

The Incredible Survivor

Hermann Maier's parents managed a ski school in Flachau, Austria, and Hermann began entering ski races at the age of five. When he was fifteen, a growth disorder forced him to give up the sport temporarily, during which time he worked as a bricklayer. He began representing Austria internationally in 1996 and achieved immediate success.

He qualified to enter four events at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. During the downhill he lost control and took a spectacular fall, flying more than 100m through the air and crashing through two retaining fences before coming to a stop. Incredibly, he not only survived without serious injury, but three days later he raced in the super-G and won the gold medal. Three days after that he earned a second gold medal in the giant slalom.

During the 2000-2001 World Cup season, Maier tied the men's single season record for most victories (13). Injured in a motorbike accident, he had to withdraw from the Salt Lake City Games. Living up to his nickname, "The Herminator", at 34, Hermann Maier was not only present at the Turin Games in 2006, but he also won two medals: silver in the super G and bronze in the giant slalom!