Hermann Maier (born 7 December 1972), known as the Herminator, is a former World Cup champion alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Austria. Born in Altenmarkt im Pongau in Salzburg, Maier ranks among the finest alpine ski racers in history, with four overall World Cup titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2004), two Olympic gold medals (both in 1998), and three World Championship titles (1999: 2, and 2005). His 54 World Cup race victories – 24 super-G, 15 downhills, 14 giant slaloms, and 1 combined – rank second on the men's all-time list behind Ingemar Stenmark's 86 victories. He is nicknamed the "Herminator". As of 2013, he holds the record for the most points in one season by a male alpine skier, from 2000–2013, he also held the title of most points in one season by any alpine skier, with 2000 points from the 2000 season.
Maier did not initially enjoy much success in ski racing. As a 15-year-old at the Schladming ski academy, he was sent home after being told he wouldn't succeed because of his slight build, caused by growth impairments. He returned home to his hometown of Flachau and his father's ski school, which remains Maier's home. He took up work as a bricklayer in the summer and a ski instructor in the winter.
Participating in local races, Maier became a multiple regional champion in Salzburg and Tyrol, but still was not able to gain a spot in the strong Austrian World Cup ski team. Putting that behind him, his outstanding talent was recognized for the first time by Austrian coaches on 6 January 1996, when he was timed with the 12th fastest time in a World Cup giant slalom in Flachau, although only starting as a forerunner, not participating in the actual competition. This would become the starting point of his international career...
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