About ambition, discipline, trust and emotions: Maria Höfl-Riesch

22. May 2024 – Katharina Schlangenotto

It was clear from the start: losing is not her thing.

It probably takes this clear attitude to make it to the top as a top athlete. Maria Höfl-Riesch has unconditionally embarked on the sometimes tough road to the top and proved all those who ever doubted her victories wrong. She became one of the most successful female ski racers of all time.

Her parents put Maria Riesch on skis in Garmisch-Partenkirchen when she was just three years old, and that was not her only sporting talent: she also showed considerable skill in tennis, which has remained part of her life as a hobby alongside mountaineering and mountain biking.

As a young girl, she quickly achieved success in children’s races and school championships, which attracted the attention of the German Ski Association. From this point on, her career took off: at the age of 14 she took part in her first international races, a year later she competed in the Junior World Championships and at 16 she turned professional.

Maria Höfl-Riesch: From skiing prodigy to world champion – ambition and discipline from an early age

Maria Höfl-Riesch, as she has been known since her wedding, grew up in a family of sports enthusiasts. Early training on the ski slopes of Garmisch-Partenkirchen laid the foundations for her extraordinary career. It became clear early on that she not only had talent, but also the necessary ambition and discipline to achieve great things.

Hardly any other skier was as good on skis as Maria Höfl-Riesch. She was one of the few athletes on the ski circuit who was the absolute world leader in all five disciplines and won in all of them. Her versatility and technical perfection made her one of the most successful female ski racers of all time.

Mental strength: nerves of steel

“I was always good when it mattered,” says Maria Höfl-Riesch today. Her mental strength was impressive and at times seemed almost unbelievable to “normal people”, in this case all non-professional athletes.  Surprisingly, she hardly ever needed a mental coach to develop this strength. “When I had my second cruciate ligament rupture, I found it very difficult to overcome myself. I could no longer push myself to the limit. I worked with a mental coach in 2004 and 2005. It didn’t help me much. I’ve actually always pulled myself out of the lows,” explains Maria Höfl-Riesch. This knowledge that she can do everything herself is what made her so strong.

Support and confidence

In addition to her parents and siblings Susanne and Matthias, her husband has also played a central role in her life since April 2011. Marcus Höfl, also her manager, tried to be at every race. “He is the biggest support when things aren’t going so well. He has taken away my fear of failure. He always tells me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone because I’ve won everything.” This support gave her the confidence she needed to perform at the highest level.

Lucky charms and rituals

Maria Höfl-Riesch had her own personal lucky charms and rituals. These included the presence of her good friend Franz Beckenbauer as well as putting on her equipment: “I put on my clothes on the left side first. Left shoe before the right, left shin guard, left glove. It’s always been like that.” Her husband Marcus always sucked a pack of Fisherman’s Friend during the race – always the same brand, Wild Cherry.

Before the decisive slalom, her service man buried her ski boots in the snow to prevent the plastic shell from becoming too soft in the Sochi sun. This trick helped her to deliver her top performance even in the most difficult conditions.

Maria Höfl-Riesch today: speaker, podcaster, co-founder and consultant

After her active sports career, Maria Höfl-Riesch successfully made the transition to a new professional life. Today, she is a sought-after speaker, podcaster, co-founder and consultant at Content & Celebrity, an agency that specializes in working with celebrities and creating high-quality content.

Resilience: dealing with setbacks

In her talks, the Olympic champion talks about the importance of resilience. She knows setbacks only too well and knows how to bounce back again and again. “Setbacks are part of life, but they only make you stronger,” she emphasizes. These experiences make her an authentic and credible spokesperson for the topic of resilience.

Motivation: setting and achieving goals

Motivation is the key to success. In her keynotes, Maria Höfl-Riesch shares techniques on how to set realistic goals and pursue them. “It’s important to have your goals clearly in mind and not to lose heart even in difficult times,” she says. Her ability to motivate herself again and again remains impressive.

Self-management: balancing career and private life

As a former top athlete and current entrepreneur, she has perfected the art of self-management. She talks about how important it is to organize yourself well and find a balance between different areas of your life. “You should never be discouraged by defeats but see them as an opportunity to come back stronger,” she explains.

Teamwork and leadership: working successfully in a team

In her sport, Maria Höfl-Riesch relied on a strong team. She emphasizes the importance of communication, trust and mutual respect. “Success doesn’t come by chance, but through hard work and believing in yourself,” she says. She conveys these values in her talks on teamwork and leadership.

Change and adaptability: navigating change successfully

After her sports career, she had to reinvent herself. Her ability to face new challenges makes her the ideal speaker for the topic of change. “Believe in yourself, work hard and take every opportunity to grow and learn,” is her message.

All in all, Maria Höfl-Riesch is the perfect choice to talk about ambition, discipline, confidence and emotions. Her personal experiences and successes make her a credible and inspiring voice. With her authentic nature and passion for what she does, she manages to convey her messages impressively and encourage people to reach their full potential.

Maria Höfl-Riesch

Olympic champion, World champion & overall World Cup winner in alpine skiing