Maier's comeback never goes downhill

February 21, 2006|By THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

The Race of My Life

Hermann Maier with Knut Okresek

Velo Press/320 pages

Recently translated from German and published in the United States, The Race of My Life is the story of Hermann Maier's long, painful comeback from a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his skiing career at its peak in 2001.

What is truly illuminating about the Herminator's story is that it's a warts-and-all tale. It's not like Maier always knew he'd make it back.

Like any human who has his livelihood suddenly snatched away from him, Maier at times lashed out, threw things in anger and wanted to give up. And then he went back to work with the determination of a champion.

Maier, who has won two medals in Turin, was the world's best Alpine skier from 1998 to 2001. He won two Olympic gold medals, three overall World Cup titles and a record 13 World Cup races in a single season. Then in August 2001, Maier was passing a car on his motorcycle near his hometown of Flachau, Austria, when the driver of the car suddenly made a left turn where he shouldn't have. Maier's right leg was crushed in the collision.

Despite their initial fears, doctors saved Maier's leg. Within days, Maier started training again. He had to learn to walk, then run again.

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