FEB 22, 2021
This Atomic team has got fighting spirit. While the Redster unit had come to the World Championships in Cortina d´Ampezzo with a weakened lineup – top speed stars Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Sofia Goggia as well as young Norge stars Lucas Braathen and Adrian Smiseth Sejersted were missing – the Redster racers took home a total of eight medals and are now ready to go into the 20-21 World Cup’s final phase. Winning four medals in all of her four 2021 World Champs starts, super woman Mikaela Shiffrin added more pages to her jam-packed record book: she has claimed 11 medals in 13 World Champs races so far, 6 of them gold. Mikaela is turning 26 in three weeks.
Even though favorite for gold Marco Schwarz and Manuel Feller DNF in the World Championship’s final race, the men’s Slalom, Global Race Manager Christian Höflehner is satisfied with the overall record: “To be honest – at the beginning of this World Champs we did not count on winning eight medals, given that Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Sofia Goggia, Nicol Delago, Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, and Lucas Braathen all had to sit out following their injuries.”
“Andreas Sander with his career-first podium winning silver in the World Champs Downhill, and Mikaela Shiffrin taking bronze in the Super-G after not having competed in a speed race in a year – these two unexpected medals gave the entire team a boost and proved that we’re on point in terms of material.”
MIKAELA AND MARCO: THE BEST VERSIONS OF THEMSELVES AGAIN
Four races, four medals at a World Champs – for pretty much any ski racer this would be a once-in a-lifetime-achievement. For Mikaela Shiffrin, it's just the logical sequel to a long-term trend. She has won medals at every Word Championships since her debut in Schladming in 2013, bringing her medal tally to 11 (in 13 races!). She holds 6 titles as world champion (the latest from Cortina in the Combination, where she also won bronze in Super-G and Slalom, and silver in Giant Slalom). All that just a few weeks before her 26th birthday. “Her joy, her lightheartedness, her will to win: These two World Champs weeks have probably been the last missing piece of the puzzle for Mikaela to get back to where she was before that long break and difficult time. It's nice to witness this process up close,” says Christian Höflehner.
Marco Schwarz’ situation is somewhat comparable: In this pandemic winter, his consistent work has brought him back to the top of the Slalom podium (he’s currently leading the World Cup standings). Plus: At last, this World Championships has revealed ‘Blacky’s’ all-round skiing talent again: world champion in the Combination with a sensational Super-G performance, bronze in GS – his DNF in his favorite discipline Slalom in no way affects his very promising perspective for the future. The future also looks bright for Filip Zubcic (silver in parallel Giant Slalom, 4th place in GS) and his Atomic compatriot Istok Rodes (strong performance finishing 6th in Slalom).
RETURNING TO THE WORLD CUP TOUR – WHAT TO EXPECT?
There are three more women’s Downhill races this season, yet despite being injured Sofia Goggia will still “compete for the crystal bowl from her sofa,” as Race Manager Höflehner puts it, following her incredible winning streak before the injury. Currently she is 195 points ahead of Redster teammate Breezy Johnson. Genius Esther Ledecka (4th in both World Champs speed races, fourth in both Downhill and Super-G World Cup rankings) is the only athlete getting ready for yet another World Champs – she will compete in the Snowboard World Championships in Rogla in early March.
Marco Schwarz is in an excellent position to win his first Slalom crystal bowl. According to Race Manager Christian Höflehner, for everyone else it is important to finish this extraordinary season with good race results in order to be well-positioned next winter.