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Austrian Mario Stecher ends 21-year Nordic combined career

2/27/2015
AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

FALUN, Sweden -- Six-time Olympian Mario Stecher of Austria has ended his Nordic combined career, 21 years after winning his first of 12 World Cups.

The 37-year-old Stecher, who has been left out of the Austrian team for the Nordic skiing world championships, says "this is the right time. So far I've enjoyed this sport incredibly but now something is missing."

In 1994 at 16, Stecher won the second World Cup he competed in to launch a career that earned him 10 medals from major championships, including two Olympic team event titles in 2006 and 2010, and two world championship golds in 2011.

Stecher calls winning silver at the 2013 worlds shortly after recovering from knee surgery "one of my greatest moments ... That was my emotional highlight."