The hundred percent passion is missing, new goals also: After Laura Dahl Meier has achieved everything at an early age, the double Olympic champion at the age of 25 years ended as her role model Magdalena Neuner her successful biathlon career.
Last but not least, the past season left deep mental and physical marks on her. "Today I am at the point where I do not know what exactly I should make a goal, let alone whether I could ever succeed again," wrote the seven-time World Champion on Friday on her Facebook page. After a lengthy process of deliberation, she realized that now "the right time has come for me."
The main reasons for her early career end: She no longer has sports goals "that mean everything to you and for which you would throw everything in the balance." In addition, the Garmisch-Partenkirchnerin after an "incredibly tough season full of ups and downs" no longer convinced that her body is still up to the rigors of high performance sports. Because Dahlmeier always wanted to be the best. She would not settle for less.
Thus, the German Ski Association loses its flagship skier and by far the most successful athlete of the past winter already at a young age. In 2012, world champion Magdalena Neuner also retired at the age of just 25. "I can understand well that Laura says she is doing something different in her life," Neuner told the "Münchner Merkur".
DOSB President Alfons Hörmann honored Germany's "Sportswoman of the Year" 2017: "Despite her young age, she wrote extraordinary chapters in sports history in just a few years. In addition, she has conquered with her exemplary and sympathetic appearance forever a place in the hearts of sports fans.
Dahlmeier's move to an early end to her career had been hinted at. Already after the Olympic Winter Games 2018 in Pyeongchang, the Bavarian had openly expressed thoughts of a resignation, but there decided against it.
Dahlmeier never had any motivation problems, but due to the high stress, her body did not always play with her the way she wanted. In the autumn of last year, she had been completely exhausted in the hospital and was convinced that she would never be back in top-level sport. It was followed by illnesses and failures, they missed races and had to laboriously struggle back. She even surprised that she won two bronze medals at the World Championships in Östersund, Sweden, in spite of all the setbacks. "Even today, I do not have the same power again as in previous years", Dahlmeier described her mood.
In 2018 she celebrated two Olympic victories in South Korea and once bronze, 2017 five times gold and once silver at the World Championships in Hochfilzen. In addition to winning the Overall World Cup in the 2016/2017 season, it is the biggest achievements of the exceptional performer. She was the first biathlete to win 13 consecutive medals and five gold medals at World Championships, and celebrated 20 wins in the World Cup.
Dahlmeier reached everything early in her sport, and yet he was never everything for her. Dahlmeier loves climbing, the freedom of the mountains. During tours in Nepal, South America or the USA, she found the freedom that she often lacked in competitive sports. Coach and federation tolerated their trips, even if they injured themselves and therefore had to take breaks.
Dahlmeier wants to give her farewell in December at the team challenge Auf Schalke, to shoulder the last time there and complete their last biathlon rounds.
Meanwhile, the German Ski Federation hopes for a further cooperation with Dahlmeier. "It would be nice if Laura keeps us in the biathlon system in any capacity," said Bernd Eisenbichler, the sports director of the DSV skijäger. The association had hoped that she would continue her career for a year or two. "The fact that Laura finally made that decision is a shame, but of course we respect her motivations," said Eisenbichler.