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Germany

Legendary Ski Jumper Hannawald Retires

German Olympic gold-medallist and two-time world champion ski jumper Sven Hannawald announced his retirement from the sport due to burn-out syndrome Wednesday. According to his manager, the 30-year-old athlete decided to end his professional sports career following "effective treatment of the burn-out syndrome." Hannawald had already "achieved everything that one can achieve in ski jumping," and his recovery would take too long to reach competition level fitness in the foreseeable future. Hannawald entered ski jumping history in 2001-02, when he was the first athlete ever to win all four competitions at the Four Hills tournament in Oberstdorf, high in the Allgäu Alps of Bavaria, Germany. At the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, Hannawald was part of the gold-medal-winning team. He also won the World Championships in 2000 and 2002. He was considered an icon of the sport. After a mental breakdown in April 2004, Hannawald entered treatment which lasted over a year. In conversations with the German Ski Federation (DSV), he had held open the possibility of a comeback, but the lost time made it increasingly unlikely. Hannawald's former coach Reinhard Hess expressed understanding for the athlete's decision. "He will go into history as one of the greats in the sport," he said.

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