Young Norwegian alpine skiing talent Lucas Braathen, winner of the small slalom globe last winter, announced on Friday that he was ending his career, at just 23 years old, after a conflict with the Norwegian Ski Federation.
“I'm hanging up, it's over for me,” Braathen said at a news conference in Sölden, Austria, where he won his first World Cup victory in 2020 and was scheduled to compete on Sunday.
“For the first time in at least six months, I am happy after making this decision. For the first time in years, I feel free,” he said.
“In order for me to continue skiing in this system, I don't just have to put my dreams aside. I also have to put my joy aside. I’m not ready to do that,” added the whimsical Norwegian skier. “That said, I am happy to announce that in the place (Sölden) where I won my very first World Cup race (in 2020), I am retiring,” stressed Braathen.
“Thank you,” he wrote on his Instagram account Friday noon, sharing a video recounting his ski exploits.
"You can not do that !! Guys like you are so important in our sport,” immediately reacted Frenchman Johan Clarey, who retired last March at the age of 42.
Braathen and his federation have disagreed for several years over the image rights of athletes and the conflict amplified this fall when the young champion participated in an advertising campaign for a clothing brand competing with the one that sponsors the federation .
The Norwegian Ski Federation announced that it would fine him and contacted the Norwegian Sports Federation, which acts as the national Olympic committee.
Since 2020, Lucas Braathen has won five World Cups. Last year he won his first trophy, the small slalom globe, after a superb season which saw him reach the World Cup podium seven times, including three times on the top step (two in slalom, one in giant). Her shock announcement comes as the Alpine Skiing World Cup resumes this weekend in Sölden, with the women's giant on Saturday and the men's giant on Sunday.
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