A story of greatness

This take is about Hermann Maier, who some of you may remember from when he appeared on Jay Leno's show ages ago.

Hermann Maier with Jay Leno (he was there with Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Hermann Maier with Jay Leno (he was there with Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Herman Maier
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Herman Maier

Who is he and what makes him special?

Hermann was born in the Altenmarkt im Pongau, which is in the Flachau region in 1972. It's fairly idyllic and quiet there. He is a bricklayer and ski instructor, and an Olympic gold medalist.

The skiing area of Flachau
The skiing area of Flachau

This is another village in the Pongau region, 30mins away from Altenmarkt im Pongau:

Village life in St. Johann im Pongau
Village life in St. Johann im Pongau

Hermann's parents own a ski school, he was on the ski lifts in altenmarkt and other town's mountains when he was three years old - he taught himself how to ski and soon started racing as well.

Hermann Maier (left) with his parents and other family (his wife is not pictured)
Hermann Maier (left) with his parents and other family (his wife is not pictured)

Nagano 1998

What happened during the Olympic games in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, on 13 Friday, is what made Hermann famous. During his descent, he crashed horribly and people weren't sure whether he was still alive. Here's the crash:

However, it had snowed heavily the days before, which is why he survived the crash with only some mild injuries in his knee and shoulder. Three days later, he participated in the Super-G and surprisingly won a gold medal - he also won one for the giant slalom.

Carl Yarbrough, a photographer for Sports Illustrated, became a millionaire with his picture of the crash:

Hermann Maier during the crash
Hermann Maier during the crash

Maier had some other successful moments, won gold in the Beaver Creek Downhill tournament in 1999 and in Bormio 2005 (FIS Alpine World Ski Championships).

What has he been up to recently?

Given that he never received any media/rhethorical training, he still accepts most offers for advertisements and as brand ambassador, owns a hotel and raises three children.

The Herminator using snow to shower in -47°C weather at the South Pole [documentary: Wettlauf zum Südpol]
The "Herminator" using snow to shower in -47°C weather at the South Pole [documentary: Wettlauf zum Südpol]

And everything grew quiet, I could focus again. Indeed, I felt a little invincible.

"Wenn i jetzt Gold g'winn, dann bin i unsterblich!" - If I win a gold medal now, I'm invincible!

I thought about him during my Matura, which is the final test in Austria before gaining your high school diploma. I was writing an analysis and trying to explain why the situation in the text could be a metaphor for death, and struggled, but I remembered what he said:

And finally, a great documentary on his career:

Hermann exploring a beautiful mountain valley:

I was writing my Matura, which is the final high school exam in Austria, and though about what he said before winning gold:

"Wenn ich jetzt Gold gewinne, dann bin ich unsterblich" - If I now win gold, I'm invincible.

I focused again and indeed felt invincible.

A story of greatness
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Most Helpful Guys

  • GDG44
    Some of those skiers of that era were bigger than life. Alberto Tomba (sp?) was another one a few years prior. I remember the gossip about him and Katarina Witt at the time.
    Are there comparable downhill skiers with the legendary status of these guys?
    Vonn and Michaela seem to have similar legendary status.
    Is this still revelant?
  • This is fantastic!! A really great person and that not many people remember! Good work for highlighting him and his achievements! Thank you for sharing!!!
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girl

  • Wow!! This is great writing. Thank you for sharing!!!
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

26
  • soleil2666
    Ah, that story!
    I have seen it on a flight from Australia as some point, as an advertisement that said 'falling is easy, it's getting up that's hard'. It struck a chord with me BIG TIME.
    Haven't been able to find who it was about until your post - let me read it to the end now!
    • soleil2666

      It's a story of family success, essentially - if you have a safe environment to rely on, the sky is the limit.

  • Avicenna
    You guys really like the Herminator down there in Austria, don't you?
    • Literally five hours after putting this post up I received an Ad in the mail that featured him, so yeah I’d say do haha

  • Chris006
    I feel like you are almost too young to even know who he is. Only 18 and still know who he is... Damn, your parents must be a big fan of him.
  • Scrapstar187
    Was interesting
  • backdoorman
    Very cool MyTake. Thanks for sharing.
  • SecretGardenBlood65
    Good take
  • Bordersun
    It's a very beautiful method.
  • FWCDUDE
    He's a Legend.
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