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Johan Clarey, oldest Olympic Alpine skiing medalist, retires

Johan Clarey

SOLDEU, ANDORRA - MARCH 15: Johan Clarey of Team France celebrates during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals Men’s and Women’s Downhill on March 15, 2023 in Soldeu, Andorra. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Johan Clarey, the oldest Alpine skier to make a podium at the Olympics and world championships and on the World Cup, made Wednesday’s World Cup Finals downhill his final race at age 42.

Clarey finished 12th in Wednesday’s downhill won by Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr in Andorra. He announced before this season that it would be his last.

The Frenchman wore a celebratory helmet for the occasion. It included the number 161.9, signifying the fastest recorded speed (in kilometers per hour) in Alpine skiing World Cup history. Clarey set it -- a tick over 100 miles per hour -- in a 2013 downhill in Wengen, Switzerland.

“It was really emotional this morning at the start,” Clarey said, according to the International Ski Federation. “I had a lot of good vibes from the athletes, and I almost cried a couple of times. But I focused and managed a good race. I’m happy with my 12th place. Now I am just a tourist.”

Last year, Clarey took downhill silver -- one tenth behind Swiss Beat Feuz, who also retired this winter -- to become the oldest Olympic Alpine skiing medalist, shattering the record set by Bode Miller, who was 36 when he tied for super-G bronze in 2014.

In 2019, Clarey bagged super-G silver to become the oldest world Alpine skiing championships medalist.

He also finished runner-up in the most famous annual race, the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, the last three years, becoming the first 40-year-old, first 41-year-old and first 42-year-old to make a World Cup podium.

Clarey, who made his World Cup debut in November 2003, earned 11 World Cup podiums over a 13-year stretch with zero wins.

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