Germany's most successful biathlete, Arnd Peiffer, has made a surprise decision to retire.
The 34-year-old from Wolfenbuttel, who won two individual world golds and earned the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic 10 kilometres sprint title, announced his decision on Facebook.
It came a month after he had taken silver in the men’s 20km individual event at the Biathlon World Championships at Pokljuka in Slovenia.
He missed the weekend’s concluding World Cup in Östersund.
Peiffer’s last race thus turned out to be the mixed relay event at the previous World Cup in Nové Město on March 14.
"The decision was not easy to take but the time had come," Peiffer wrote.
"This winter, I had a few good times again, and it's good to leave while still being competitive.
"I have experienced great moments during all these years in the national team, but also more difficult times.
"My sport has shaped me through all my experiences and I want to capitalise on that for the future. "
Peiffer, who started biathlon aged nine, made 366 World Cup starts, winning 11 times and reaching the podium on 30 occasions.
He earned a total of 17 world medals, including the sprint title in 2011 and the individual 20km title in 2019.
Peiffer also claimed silver in the 4x7.5km relay at Pyeongchang 2018, four years after winning bronze in the same event at Sochi 2014.