BORMIO, Italy (AP)Austrian skier Matthias Mayer, who won gold at three consecutive Olympics, announced his retirement with immediate effect Thursday.

Mayer surprisingly made the announcement shortly before a men’s World Cup super-G in an interview with Austrian TV after he returned from the course inspection and said he would not compete in the race.

”Last season was fantastic with the third Olympic gold medal and I have started well in the new season and I’m satisfied. But it’s enough,” said the 32-year-old Mayer, who had been set to start with bib No. 6. ”I’ve done my last course inspection today and that’s it. I don’t have that fire anymore. The sport is very important for the people and it should go on, but for me it’s OK.”

Mayer won the Olympic downhill title in 2014 and super-G gold in 2018 and again in 2022, when he additionally earned bronze in downhill and overtook Austrian great Toni Sailer as the country’s most successful skier at the Olympics.

However, he failed to win a single world championship medal, with fourth place in a super-G at the 2015 event in Beaver Creek, Colorado, his best result.

Since his debut in 2009, Mayer competed in 219 World Cup races and won 11 times, including classic races in Kitzbuhel, Wengen and Bormio.

In December 2015, Mayer broke two vertebrae in a super-G crash in Val Gardena while wearing a protective air bag under his race suit. He was out for seven months.

It was the first time an air bag inflated during a World Cup race, prompting a debate among skiers over whether Mayer’s safety system caused the serious injury or prevented him from getting hurt even worse.

Mayer is the second reigning Olympic champion to leave ski racing this month after Beat Feuz, the 2022 downhill gold medalist from Switzerland, announced his retirement last week.

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