Former world slalom champion Pranger retires

INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) -- Austrian slalom skier Manfred Pranger is retiring, five injury-marred years after winning the world title.

The 36-year-old Pranger returned to the World Cup circuit last season following hip surgery but failed to make the Austrian team for the Sochi Olympics.

''I've had constant pain lately and the hip surgery has thrown me back further than I expected,'' Pranger said Friday. ''I thought about ending my career immediately after the season but I couldn't live with the idea. I took a break but now I've seen it's impossible to continue due to my health.''

Pranger also underwent surgery on his right knee and a herniated disk in recent years and has missed out on a World Cup podium for four seasons.

Pranger made his World Cup debut in 2000 and won three races - in Kitzbuehel and Schladming in 2005 and in Wengen in 2009, just weeks before clinching the world title in Val d'Isere. Pranger competed in the 2002 and 2010 Olympic slaloms but failed to finish his first run both times.

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