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After becoming the world’s top female Alpine skier in 2013, when she scored a record points total to claim the FIS large crystal globe, Slovenia’s Tina Maze underlined her status with two golds at Sochi 2014. She retired two years later, with a total of four Olympic medals and four world titles to her name.
Born in the village of Crna na Koroskem, where, in her own words, “there was nothing else to do but ski”, Tina Maze has been starring on the international scene since the age of 16, first as a giant slalom specialist and then as a multi-talented skier capable of shining in both the technical and speed events.
At Vancouver 2010 she achieved what were then her country’s best ever results in the Olympic Winter Games, winning silver in both the super-G and giant slalom events. A year later she skied to victory in the giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to win Slovenia’s first ever world title.
Between November 2012 and March 2013 the Slovenian star went on a record-breaking run in the FIS World Cup, becoming a member of the highly select club of all-event winners that also features Petra Kronberger, Pernilla Wiberg, Janica Kostelic, Anja Pärson and Lindsey Vonn.
What was unique about Maze’s entry to this elite group was that she achieved it across a single winter, one in which she scored 11 victories and 24 podium finishes to top the FIS World Cup standings with 2,414 points, the highest total ever attained by any skier, male or female.
During the course of her phenomenal season, Maze also won the 2013 world super-G title in Schladming and went on to collect silver medals in the giant slalom and super combined.
Deciding to devote her attention to Sochi 2014, Maze let her rivals fight it out for that season’s overall FIS World Cup crown before proving that she had got her priorities just right when the Games came around.
In the downhill she produced a masterful run to tie with Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin for a unique shared gold medal. Six days later, she secured her status as Sochi 2014’s queen of the slopes by edging out Austria’s Anna Fenninger by 0.07 seconds in the giant slalom, a triumph founded on her forceful first run.
Posting a photo of herself in a T-shirt bearing the legend “Keep calm coz I’m the Queen,” Maze wrote on her blog at the end of the 2013/14 campaign: “It was not perfect. It never is. But behind me I see two gold medals won in Sochi, my dream since Vancouver 2010. I’ll be back.”
True to her word, in 2015 she won one of the few major titles still missing from her career honours, the world downhill title at Vail/Beaver Creek (USA), where she also won combined gold taking her world championship medal haul to nine.
At the end of the season, having taken her tally of World Cup victories across all disciplines to 26 (14 in giant slalom, four in downhill, four in slalom, one in Super-G, and three in combined), and her podium finishes to 81, which had yielded one large crystal globe and two small ones (in the Super-G and giant in 2013), the four-time Olympic medallist decided to take time out to focus on her studies. However, in October 2016, Maze revealed that she no longer had the motivation or the energy to carry on and announced that she was hanging up her skis for good.
She went on to become an ambassador for the Slovenian Tourist Board and a number of brands, but keen to maintain a foothold in skiing she also accepted a position as a commentator for a European sports channel, bringing to the role the same enthusiasm she displayed during 15 years competing on the world’s slopes.