Maria Pietilae Holmner of Sweden announced that she has made the difficult decision to end her career after 15 years on the World Cup. The technical ace, who collected six World Championships medals, three World Cup victories, 10 World Cup podiums, and participated in three Olympic Winter Games, was attempting to rehabilitate a chronic back problem in time to return to competition for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
The decision was an emotional one for Pietilae Holmner, who had not been able to compete during the 2017/18 season. A degenerative disc issue in her back that she has struggled with for several years prevented her from being able to ski at the same level that helped her garner such success in the past. She was patient with her recovery and made persistent efforts to get back to form, but she ultimately decided that her limitations are too severe to compete again at the highest level.
The 2006 Junior World Slalom Champion had her best World Cup season in 2014 when she finished third in the giant slalom standings, fourth in the slalom standings, and seventh in the overall standings. She finished in the top 10 in both disciplines again in 2016.