Alpine skiing I: After sobering results at the Downhill World Cup in Zauchensee, ski racer Kira Weidle has achieved the long-awaited liberation. The 25-year-old from Starnberg was only beaten by world champion Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland on Saturday. “It was really fun. That’s the key to my success too. Finally back on the podium,” said Weidle, who finished second in a World Cup for the first time in her career.
Only a tenth of a second separated the downhill specialist from Gut-Behrami, who reported back impressively after her four-week Corona break. Third was Ramona Siebenhofer from Austria (+0.44).
“The tenth annoys me a bit, but you can’t complain about second place. That means a lot to me at the moment,” said Weidle, looking at her bumpy start to the season. Tenth and seventh place in Lake Louise and 39th in Val d’Isere were “not the results I had hoped for”, admitted the native of Stuttgart looking back. Frustration and disappointment were great.
“It’s one hundred percent a head issue,” Weidle said recently and sought professional help. A mental trainer should help you to deal better with your own expectations and with external pressure. The success in Zauchensee now proves her right. “I think things are going in a good direction now, although you shouldn’t overestimate that. At the end of the day, she has to ski well,” said women’s national coach Jürgen Graller.
On Saturday, Weidle also benefited from the elimination of the big favorite Sofia Goggia, who had been around four tenths in the lead in the meantime. The Italian and gold favorite in Beijing, who had won all three downhill runs so far this season, crashed into the safety net after a driving error. She didn’t appear to have been seriously injured at first.
For the German Ski Association (DSV), Weidle’s second place was the best result so far this Olympic winter. However, the wait for the first women’s victory since Viktoria Rebensburg’s triumph in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2020 continues. This Sunday there is still a Super-G in Zauchensee on the program. Weidle is not one of the favorites here.
Alpine skiing II: A daring slice of pizza helped ski racer Vincent Kriechmayr to his first World Cup success since March. What is meant in the ski scene is the V-shaped position of the skis – called pizza cuts – through which the Austrian caught a curve perfectly at the Downhill World Cup in Wengen and raced to his controversial victory. The 30-year-old won on Saturday, 0.34 seconds ahead of Beat Feuz from Switzerland. Third was the Italian Dominik Paris (+0.44).
Kriechmayr’s start had caused quite a stir due to the special starting right granted to him by the World Federation Fis. The world champion had missed the downhill training as a result of a positive corona test. According to the regulations, however, participation in at least one training session is mandatory for the start in the downhill run. After being given the green light by a jury decision, Kriechmayr drove out of the starting gate on Friday morning. After a few meters he broke off the journey.
“It’s not about Vincent Kriechmayr at all, it’s about the regulations that are there so that everyone knows what they have to do,” Walter Reusser, Alpine Director of the Swiss Ski Association, told ZDF. Second-placed Feuz congratulated him on Saturday with a wink: “Considering that you didn’t do any training, that was a very good run.”
After their debacle the day before, the German speed men had to put up with the next setback and all missed out on the top 15. Dominik Schwaiger was the best DSV athlete in 17th place. Romed Baumann landed two positions behind. “I lacked 100 percent conviction. The further it went down, the more sluggish it became,” said Baumann on ZDF, looking at the longest descent on the World Cup calendar.
Simon Jocher and Josef Ferstl did not get past places 24 and 30. The World Cup runner-up Andreas Sander had already reacted to his form crisis before the race and decided not to start. On Sunday there is still a slalom on the program in Switzerland.
Bob: Two-time Olympic champion Mariama Jamanka was crowned European champion in monobob at the dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games in Beijing. The woman from Oberhof won the combined European Championship and World Series competition on the natural ice track in St. Moritz in the European field with a hundredth of a second lead over Laura Nolte, who was third at the World Championships.
“I got my best monobob result. I’m European champion, you have to digest that first. I’m just happy right now,” said Jamanka: “St. Moritz is a track that suits me very, very much because it’s very long and the start doesn’t play such a big role.” In addition to Jamanka, Nolte received one of two German starting places at the Olympic premiere of the individual sled in Beijing (February 4th to 20th).
The first three places in the “international” classification of the race on Saturday went to Kaillie Humphries, Elana Meyers Taylor (both USA) and Cynthia Appiah.
The German women in the so-called World Series are still waiting for the first success in the young discipline if it is held as part of a World Cup. Olympic medals will be awarded for the first time in monobob at the Winter Games in China.
Tobogganing: Three weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, luger Johannes Ludwig clinched his fifth win of the season. The Olympic bronze medalist and sovereign World Cup leader led a German triple triumph on his home track in Oberhof with a track record ahead of Max Langenhan (Friedrichroda/+0.304 seconds) and the former dominator Felix Loch (Berchtesgaden/+0.316).
“It really went like clockwork today. There are days when a lot of things work out. Overall it was really nice,” said Ludwig, who missed the podium last weekend in Sigulda, Latvia: “I felt really comfortable on the track, it was really good fun.”
Record world champion Loch (32), whose form curve continues to show improvement after a difficult season in Oberhof, finished second in Sigulda. At the start, Loch had convinced with two second places on the Olympic track near Beijing and in Sochi, after that the three-time Olympic champion did not make it onto the podium anymore. In December, a corona infection also caused a forced break.
“It was a great day. At the moment I’m really happy to be on the top of the podium. Especially after my corona infection,” said Loch: “Hansi did a really great run twice today and deserved to win.” Chris Eissler (Zwickau) finished tenth in Oberhof on Saturday, David Noessler (Oberhof) finished his World Cup debut on his home track in an impressive 13th place.
There is one last World Cup stop on the racing calendar before the Winter Games in Beijing (February 4th to 20th): the dress rehearsal for the Olympics will take place next weekend in St. Moritz (January 22nd/23rd).