Former world champion Martina Kocher leaves the sport after 20 years ©FIL

Switzerland’s Martina Kocher has announced her retirement from luge after 20 years in the sport.

The 33-year-old is the most successful female Swiss luge athlete of all time and leaves the sport with three World Championship medals.

Kocher will also be remembered as the first female sprint world champion after the event was added to the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Championships in Königssee in 2016.

The Swiss took home a silver medal behind Natalie Geisenberger of Germany in the women's singles at the same event.

Kocher’s medals singlehandedly put Switzerland second in the medal table at the World Championships behind hosts Germany.

Martina Kocher represented Switzerland at four Winter Olymics ©Getty Images
Martina Kocher represented Switzerland at four Winter Olymics ©Getty Images

After her success in Königssee, Kocher then went on to win another silver medal at the 2017 FIL World Championships.

The competition was held at the Olympic Sliding Centre Innsbruck in Austria, where Kocher claimed a silver medal in the women’s sprint behind Erin Hamlin of the United States.

Again Kocher was the only member of the Swiss team to return home with a medal.

Reflecting on her career as a four-time Winter Olympian, Kocher said: “That was a really precious experience.”

She claimed that, after 20 years of “tough competition, emotional highs and lows, triumphs and tears,” it was “time for a new life".