Olympic champion Hoefl-Riesch, 29, retires


(Reuters) - Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany ended her Alpine skiing career on Thursday, quitting a month after adding a third gold medal to her collection.

The four-times Olympic medalist told reporters in Munich that she initially thought of skiing for one more season after winning gold and silver at the Sochi Games in February.

"The first gut feeling after the Olympics and the gold medal was to retire on that success," the 29-year-old said.

"I still wanted to think about it calmly because I felt the German skiing federation had a great desire for me to add one more season.

"In the end I decided to end my career now," said Hoefl-Riesch who also won two golds at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

She was one of a handful of athletes to live up to expectation in Sochi as Germany picked up just over half of their 30 predicted medals.

"I did everything for that gold and it was a huge liberation," said Hoefl-Riesch who won the combined title in Russia and the silver medal in the Super G.

She was also the 2011 World Cup champion.

"You should stop when it is the most beautiful and this was the most beautiful," said the German.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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