No more Olympics, no more World Cup races, over and out. Nordic combined legends Bjoern Kircheisen from Germany, Finnish veteran Hannu Manninen and French superstar Jason Lamy Chappuis have decided to end their stellar careers after this Olympic season.
Kircheisen’s announcement stunned the local crowd last weekend in Klingenthal, but after a record-breaking 281 World Cup starts, four Olympic medals and eleven World Championship medals the 35-year-old wants to focus on becoming a coach.
Return to the cockpit
Manninen had even taken time out from his regular job as a Finnair pilot for one more shot at Olympic glory in Nordic combined at PyeongChang.
The 39-year-old, who had retired in 2008 for the first time, made his first comeback attempt at Vancouver 2010.
PyeongChang was his sixth Olympics but it was not meant to be. The ‘Flying Finn’ left Korea without another medal and will now return to the cockpit.
Manninen was a member of Finland’s 4×5-km gold winning team at Salt Lake City 2002, after taking silver in the same event in Nagano in 1998 and bronze at Turin 2006. In addition, he clinched three gold medals at World Championships between 1999 and 2007.
Licence to fly
Chappuis is also looking forward to a new chapter in life hoping to follow Manninen’s career path as a commercial pilot.
A gold medallist in Nordic combined at Vancouver and France’s flagbearer four years later in Sochi, he had been one of the most decorated athletes in his sport by the time he hung up his skies for the first time in 2015.
The Frenchman had claimed 26 individual World Cup events and three consecutive overall World Cup titles between 2010 and 2012 to go with his ten 10 World Championship medals – five of them gold.
The 31-year-old’s best result in PyeongChang was fifth place in the team competition.