(Reuters) - Double Olympic Alpine skiing champion Tina Maze announced her retirement on Thursday but said she would return for a two-race farewell on home snow in Maribor in January.
The trophy-laden Slovenian, 33, has not raced since March 2015 when she announced she was taking a season-long break.
“I’ve realized that I no longer have the energy or the motivation to keep competing at the top level,” Maze told a news conference in Soelden, Austria, where the new season starts with the women’s giant slalom on Saturday.
“I don’t want my last race to be the one where I lost the Crystal Globe so I will race in Maribor (in the slalom on January 7 and giant slalom on January 8) to say good-bye to everyone on tour.”
Maze, who won downhill and giant slalom golds at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and has also won four world championship gold medals, missed out on the overall World Cup title in 2015 to Austrian Anna Fenninger in the last event of the season, a giant slalom in the French resort of Meribel.
Fenninger, who also won last season’s Crystal Globe, finished first and Maze came third, allowing the Austrian to edge her rival by 22 points in the overall standings.
It will be an emotional farewell for Maze at the venue where she made her professional debut in 1999 as a 15-year-old.
She enjoyed great success in the latter stages of her career, winning her first major honor when she clinched the 2011 world championship giant slalom title in Austria.
She followed up with super-G and downhill gold medals at the 2013 event in Schladming and went on to win the season’s overall World Cup title, putting the icing on the cake of the most successful year of her career.
All rounder Maze also won the Combined and downhill titles at last year’s world championships in Beaver Creek.
The Slovenian confirmed she would continue to work as a pundit for the Eurosport television channel, a role she assumed last year after the World Cup title slipped from her grasp.
“Nothing will replace the adrenaline rush of competing at the Olympic Games or World Cup events,” she said.
“But this is a new chapter in my life, one I am excited about, and I hope to give fans a different perspective of the action during competition time.”
(This story corrects to fix spelling mistake in fifth para.)
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Martyn Herman