MAR 22, 2021
All's well that ends well. On the very last race day the Atomic team finished out the season in the same mood that has been predominant throughout most of the winter: thrilled to the gills! About? Manuel Feller's second Slalom World Cup victory. And Marco Schwarz’ first globe, for instance. And even the fact that Mikaela Shiffrin's 70th World Cup victory has been postponed to next season did not dampen the spirits in any way – she finished 2nd just a week after her 26th birthday. In an extraordinary 2020-2021 season, the Redster athletes took home a total of 18 World Cup victories plus eight World Champs medals. They scored 45 podiums in 66 races, and achieved 65 top 5 and 111 top 10 results. Time to recap a season one could call successful simply because it took place at all ...
66 World Cup races (35 men’s, 31 women’s) in the midst of a global pandemic, plus the World Championships in Cortina d´Ampezzo – this season’s big winner was the sport itself. Despite cancellations, postponements and an improvised race calendar, and in spite of deserted finish areas: this World Cup winter had that certain everything with many highlights and great emotions. "The gratitude", says Atomic Global Race Manager Christian Höflehner, "that we had a complete, exciting and fair season at all, you could feel this gratitude up to the very last competition." And definitely also within his team – a worthy last race day with Manu Feller’s second Slalom victory and Mikaela Shiffrin’s 2 nd place in the season’s final GS.
INSPIRING REDSTER STORIES DESPITE MAJOR SETBACKS
The fact that she is saving her 70th World Cup victory for next winter (at just 26) is not even a small downer for Mikaela Shiffrin after what has been perhaps the most important season of her career so far. Her father’s death, a difficult preparation phase, and back problems were anything but good prospects for the world’s best female ski racer to return to ski racing. Her competitors have closed in on her, no doubt, yet Mikaela's comeback is one of the most inspiring stories of this winter: three of eight victories, ten of 21 podiums for the Atomic women’s team go to her account. At the World Champs in Cortina d'Ampezzo she won four medals in four races. She remains the measure of all things in terms of charisma. And she will stay in Austria for the next two weeks for material tests. Christian Höflehner: “Mikaela tweaks and tunes up to the smallest detail – fitness, training, material. Given the tough conditions she had a phenomenal winter and will be the benchmark again next year.” The same goes for Sofia Goggia, who after four back-to-back Downhill victories had to sit out the World Champs on home turf, in Cortina, due to an injury, and still managed to capture the Downhill crystal globe. Höflehner: “Sofia will start her preparation in May as usual.” Shiffrin and Goggia are the leading figures on Atomic’s women’s team, inspiring other athletes to deliver great performances – Ester Ledecka and Breezy Johnson in particular had banner seasons and they still have lots of potential.
MARCO SCHWARZ: WORLD CHAMPION AND THE WORLD’S BEST SLALOM RACER
Back in January the World Champs winter seemed to be an Atomic affair. Overall World Cup winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was in top speed form, Mauro Caviezel dominated the Super-G World Cup, with Adrian Smiseth Sejersted on his heels; but as with Lucas Braathen, who had snagged his careerfirst victory in Sölden, then was out of action due to injury, the season was cut short for the top Redster speed athletes too – far too early, before the World Championships. However, other Atomic heroes jumped into the breach. Like Marco Schwarz, for instance: World Champion in Combination, bronze medalist in GS and winner of the Slalom globe – his most successful winter to date. Filip Zubcic (silver medalist in the World Champs’ parallel event, two World Cup victories in GS) and Manuel Feller (who won two Slaloms) can confidently claim that, too. And Andreas Sander crowned his strong season with the Downhill silver medal in Cortina. “All in all,” Race Manager Christian Höflehner sums up, “what the team has achieved this challenging winter is amazing: 18 World Cup victories, eight World Champs medals, 45 podiums. In view of our depleted squad this is an outstanding outcome.” He adds: “There is no one on the Atomic team, especially among our best athletes, who appears to be beyond their peak. Everyone wants to and can do better still. And that's why we’re not planning to sign new athletes. We are a strong team, and we want to go into the next World Cup and Olympic season with this lineup."