The Herminator doesn't live up to title
ST. ANTON, Austria (AP) -- The Herminator's domination has been terminated.
Hermann Maier, the Austrian star who has dominated Alpine skiing for the past three years and was favored to win three gold medals, didn't win any at the World Alpine Championships.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist finished fourth in Thursday's giant slalom, his last race of the event.
"I didn't enjoy it, I prefer not to stay for two weeks in one place," Maier said Thursday after narrowly losing the bronze medal in the giant slalom. "Missing the bronze by one-hundredth doesn't matter at all to me. I wasn't interested in bronze or silver in the giant slalom, I already have those. I am really very happy that the World Championship is over."
Michael von Gruenigen of Switzerland won the gold in the giant slalom, followed by Kjetil-Andre Aamodt of Norway and Frederic Covili of France.
Maier, 28, is a favorite in every race he enters. He won the Olympic super-G and giant slalom three years ago at Nagano, Japan, and won the downhill and super-G world titles two years ago at Vail, Colo.
He also won the season-long World Cup in 1998 and again last year, breaking the record for points and dominating every event except for the slalom. And he is leading the World Cup again this year, winning eight races.
"It didn't work out that badly," Maier said. "I was always close to winning but I missed that last push, and that was due to the fact that I was so engaged in other things. All the PR dates and the media needs took their toll. The sponsors squeezed everything out of me. Sometimes, I didn't even get to eat."
Maier fell during a downhill on the weekend before the World Championship at Garmisch, Germany, and lost the super-G race to Austrian teammate Christian Gruber.
In the opening race in St. Anton, the super-G, Maier was third behind Daron Rahlves of the United States and another Austrian, Stephan Eberharter.
In the downhill, he was beaten again by Austria's Hannes Trinkl, who won his first major title.
Between the races, Maier was on Austrian television several times a day and went from function to function.
Other things also worked against him. The weather forced a four-day delay in the downhill and by the time it was raced the hard, icy course he prefers turned soft had to be shortened. He also is getting used to shorter skis.
"Surely the weather played a part and I had to get used to the schedule changes," Maier said. "But that's not an excuse. The giant slalom course suited me but I didn't have enough stamina left, although I was good at the top."
That's an unusual admission from Maier, whose power and stamina usually carry the day at the bottom of the courses, when other racers get shaky legs.
Maier may not make the trip to Japan for a World Cup giant slalom next week. But he'll surely be in Snowbasin for the dress rehearsal for next year's Salt Lake City Olympics.
"I missed three golds by a total of eight-tenths of a second. That's not so bad," he said. "What I am disappointed about is that I couldn't produce the last push that had been necessary for the gold medals."