Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, like her good friend and rival Lindsey Vonn, has emerged as one of the world’s premier skiers in recent years. After torn ligaments in her left knee sidelined her Olympic ambitions in 2006, she made an impressive Olympic debut in Vancouver, winning two gold medals in super-combined and slalom. Hoefl-Riesch had her most successful season to date in 2011, when she edged Vonn for the World Cup overall globe and won a pair of bronze medals at the World Championships in her hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the 2013 Worlds, Hoefl-Riesch won gold in super-combined and bronze in the downhill and team competition.
- 2013: World Championships – Gold (super-combined), Bronze (downhill, team)
- 2011: World Championships – Bronze (super-G, downhill)
- 2011: World Cup Standings – 1st (overall)
- 2010: Olympics – Gold (slalom, super-combined)
- 2010: World Cup Standings – 1st (slalom)
- 2009: World Championships – Gold (slalom)
- 2009: World Cup Standings – 1st (slalom)
- 2008: World Cup Standings – 1st (super-G, super-combined)
Things to know:
1. One of Hoefl-Riesch’s closest friends is American Lindsey Vonn. The two first met at the 2000 Junior World Championships. When the two were young, Hoefl-Riesch spent time with Vonn at her home in Minnesota and the two went to amusement parks, a Chicago Cubs game, ate cheese dogs and visited the Mall of America. Vonn has also joined Hoefl-Riesch’s family for Christmas several times at the German’s home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the town that hosted the 1936 Winter Games. Their relationship became strained in 2011, when Hoefl-Riesch edged Vonn for the World Cup overall title, but the two have since patched things up.
2. Hoefl-Riesch and her younger sister Susanne, who will miss the Sochi Games with a knee injury, both stand 5-foot-11 making them two of the tallest skiers on the international circuit.
3. On April 14, 2011, Riesch married her longtime manager, Marcus Hoefl, in Germany. The couple continued the celebration two days later, holding another ceremony in Kitzbuehel, Austria. The ceremony was attended by German skier Felix Neureuther and soccer great Franz Beckenbauer.