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Ulrike Maier

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Ulrike Maier

Ulrike Maier
— Alpine skier —
Maier's grave in Rauris, Austria
Disciplines Downhill, Super G,
Giant slalom, Slalom,
Club USC Rauris
Born (1967-10-22)22 October 1967
Rauris, Salzburg, Austria
Died 29 January 1994(1994-01-29) (aged 26)
Murnau, Bavaria, Germany
Height 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
World Cup debut 9 December 1984 (age 17)
Teams 2 - (1988, 1992)
World Championships
Teams 3 - (1989, 1991, 1993)
Medals 3 (2 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 9 - (198589, '9194)
Wins 5 - (2 SG, 3 GS)
Podiums 21
Overall titles 0 - (5th in 1993)
Discipline titles 0 - (2nd in SG, 1993)

Ulrike Maier (22 October 1967 – 29 January 1994) was a World Cup alpine ski racer from Austria, a two-time World Champion in Super-G.

Born in Rauris, Salzburg, where her father ran a ski school, Maier won the Super-G gold medal at the World Championships in both 1989 and 1991.[1] She also took home the giant slalom silver medal in the 1991 event. Her first of five World Cup wins came in November 1992 and she had 21 podiums 59 top ten finishes in her World Cup career.


Two weeks prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics, the women's World Cup was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in late January. The downhill on the classic Kandahar course at Garmisch Classic was held on Saturday, January 29, following an overnight snowfall. In a narrow part of the lower course less than twenty seconds from the finish, Maier's right ski caught an inside edge at 105 km/h (65 mph), possibly from a patch of soft snow, and caused a crash which broke her neck.[2] She died of her injuries shortly after being evacuated to the hospital in nearby Murnau.[3] At age 26, she had thought to retire at the end of the 1994 season, due to a small performance decay that caused her not to perform well both in 1992 Albertville Olympic Games and in 1993 Morioka Shizukuishi World Championships.[4] However, she had bounced back from that crisis winning two GS in 1994 season and claiming podium in the two Super G of Cortina. Following these results, she was reconsidering her decision in the days before the fateful downhill run, planning to continue until 1995 World Championships in Spain.

Unlike most other fatal skiing accidents, her crash happened during a live television broadcast. Maier was survived by her daughter Melanie (b. 1989)[1] and was buried in her home village of Rauris, where thousands attended her funeral.[5] Teammate and close friend Anita Wachter wore Maier's world championship medals in the procession.[6]

Initially it was claimed that her death was caused by hitting a wooden timing post.[7] Based on that claim, Maier's fiancé Hubert Schweighhofer criticized the organizers of the race and filed suit against them.[8] However, several months later the court found that Maier actually did not hit the timing post with her head, but probably broke her neck by crashing into a pile of snow on the border of the race course.[9] The court did not find any negligence from the organizers and dismissed the suit. Manslaughter charges against two FIS race officials were dropped after a settlement was reached in 1996.[10]

World Cup results

Season standings

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
Super G Downhill Combined
1985 17 62 29 30
1986 18 77 33
1987 19 35 19 32
1988 20 8 10 9 6 10
1989 21 7 13 4 4 2
1990 22
1991 23 30 9 26
1992 24 13 33 6 4 36
1993 25 5 32 4 2 45 14
1994 26 7 33 4 7 46 11

Race podiums

  • 5 wins: (2 SG, 3 GS)
  • 21 podiums: (8 SG, 10 GS, 1 SL, 1 PS, 1 K)
Season Date Location Discipline Place
1988 30 Nov 1987 Courmayeur, Italy Slalom 3rd
7 Mar 1988 Aspen, USA Giant Slalom 3rd
13 Mar 1988 Rossland, Canada Super G 2nd
23 Mar 1988 Saalbach, Austria Giant Slalom 3rd
27 Mar 1988 Parallel Slalom[11] 2nd
1989 26 Nov 1988 Schladming, Austria Super G 2nd
28 Nov 1988 Les Menuires, France Giant Slalom 3rd
16 Dec 1988 Altenmarkt, Austria Combined 2nd
6 Jan 1989 Schwarzenberg, Austria Giant Slalom 2nd
7 Jan 1989 Giant Slalom 2nd
1991 22 Mar 1991 Waterville Valley, USA Giant Slalom 2nd
1992 26 Jan 1992 Morzine, France Super G 2nd
1993 28 Nov 1992 Park City, USA Giant Slalom 1st
13 Dec 1992 Vail, USA Super G 1st
16 Jan 1993 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Super G 1st
20 Mar 1993 Åre, Sweden Super G 2nd
1994 26 Nov 1993 Santa Caterina, Italy Giant Slalom 3rd
27 Nov 1993 Giant Slalom 1st
15 Jan 1994 Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Super G 2nd
17 Jan 1994 Super G 3rd
21 Jan 1994 Maribor, Slovenia Giant Slalom 1st


  1. ^ a b "Maier defends super-giant slalom crown". The Telegraph ( 
  2. ^ "Ulrike Maier, 26; Austrian Skiing Star Won 2 World Titles".  
  3. ^ "Austrian skier breaks neck, killed during downhill race". Sunday Star-News ( 
  4. ^ Lloyd, Barbara (February 3, 1994). "Skiing; Speed is with the risk for some". New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Thousands at Maier Funeral".  
  6. ^ "Austrian fans say farewell to Maier".  
  7. ^ "Skier's death won't prompt change in Olympic venues".  
  8. ^ "Skiing; World Cup defends safety despite criticism".  
  9. ^ [1]. International Herald Tribune 25 November 1994.
  10. ^ "Death probe". Union-Democrat ( 
  11. ^ "Tomba edges Zurbriggen". Anchorage Daily News. Associated Press. March 28, 1988. p. C2. 

External links

  • Ulrike Maier at the International Ski Federation
  • – Ulrike Maier – World Cup season standings
  • – results – Ulrike Maier
  • – Olympic results – Ulrike Maier
  • Deadly Ski Accident from Ulrike Maier on YouTube
  • Ulrike Maier at Find a Grave

Preceded by
Sigrid Wolf
Austrian Sportswoman of the year
Succeeded by
Petra Kronberger
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