“As an athlete I don’t usually express my opinion on political issues, and there are certainly more appropriate people who could do this," 26-year-old Hirscher says in a video uploaded to Facebook.
He adds that as winter and colder weather approaches it is time to show that "there is a clear majority, who react with compassion and understanding instead of hatred or fear. And that is why I say: Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here." On Thursday morning his video had almost 300,000 views on Facebook.
At the end of the clip he nominates others to follow his example and film a short #showyourfacechallenge video - including Austrian President Heinz Fischer, soccer star David Alaba and fellow alpine skier and Olympic gold medallist Anna Fenninger.
The #showyourfacechallenge was only launched on Monday by 32-year-old Vienna-based actor Wojo van Brouwer. "It cannot be that the people who stir up hatred against refugees, are louder than we are - the people who have welcomed refugees into our country. We must show our faces and this is why I’m starting this challenge," van Brouwer says in his video.