Pietro Piller Cottrer debuted in the World Cup in Sappada, Italy in 1994. Nineteen years later Piller Cottrer announced his retirement from competition during the Val di Fiemme 2013 FIS World Ski Championships. Piller Cottrer leaves the sport of Cross-Country Skiing as an athlete with 191 World Cup starts including eight wins, and 36 podium results. As a four-time Olympian he collected four medals, two of which were individual results. He won the silver in Vancouver 2010 in the 15km free technique individual start competition, and the bronze in the 30km pursuit in Torino. FISCrossCountry caught up with Pietro in Val di Fiemme just one day after he announced his retirement.
FIS: You announced yesterday that you will retire from Cross-Country Skiing. Was this a decision that was a long time coming?
PPC: No, my plan was to continue this year and hopefully next year. I wanted to be here in Val di Fiemme as an athlete with my home Championships here in Italy, and of course in Sochi, which would have been my 5th Olympic Games.
FIS: You injured your knee during the Marcialonga. Did that influence your decision?
PPC: Unfortunately one month ago I injured a ligament in my knee during the Marcialonga. I crashed on a downhill into a fence. My knee has still not recovered. I have had a lot of time in the last month to reflect. In that time I decided, I first of all spoke with my family about my future, and decided it was time to retire. It was an easy decision - I took it very lightly without stress. I am satisfied about what I have done with my career and I am content with my announcement to retire.
FIS: In speaking of the future, what will you do next? Will we see you still in the ski world?
PPC: For now I want to get my knee healthy again. I want to get back on my skis and I will soon become a ski instructor. I have been in the ski world since I was a little kid. In a funny way I can say that it is the only thing I can do in my life. I have spoken with the President of the Italian Ski Federation and I have told him that if he thinks that I can help the team in a support role then I am ready.
FIS: With Sochi just one year away and as a four-time Olympian and an Olympic medalist – do you see the possibility to mentor the younger members of the team?PPC: That is my hope. Watching other nations, especially the US ladies’ team, I hope so. They are so strong and they have fun while competing. I think we can have that with the Italian team. That would be my goal in helping the team.