DEC 17, 2020
Impressive, touching, inspiring: the Atomic athletes are filling this all-too-silent season without the boisterous crowds with big emotions. In the Courchevel GS, Mikaela Shiffrin made her triumphant return to the top of podium after her father’s sudden passing and the most difficult time in her life so far – released and moving the whole skiing community to tears. The second magical moment belonged to “Mr. Recovery” Mauro Caviezel, who just seems to get faster pretty much every time after recovering from an injury. This time the Super-G World Cup winner snagged the victory in Val d´Isère coming back from an Achilles tendon rupture – ahead of Atomic buddy Adrian Smiseth Sejersted who landed in 2nd (also a returnee to the Word Cup circuit). You think there is no way to top off these magical comeback moments? Well, maybe there is … if it bears the name Marcel Hirscher, who was seen laying down some GS turns in an eye-catching tailor-made race suit, triggering a global skiing media hype …
This weekend’s emotional skiing stories are hard to beat. Having placed 2nd and 5th in Levi, Mikaela was quite content with her slalom performance after over 300 days off the World Cup circuit, following her father’s tragic death and a long period of mourning. Three weeks ago she hadn’t even considered getting into the GS start gate. She decided to spend the time in between races incognito close to the Reiteralm mountain and to Atomic’s headquarter in Altenmarkt. After a few disappointing initial GS training laps she managed to turn her performance around – thanks to a daily high grade personal skidoo-assisted training that was made possible despite Reiteralm’s peak period, and with factory support (her Redster equipment regularly received the ultimate tune). Finishing 4th in the first Courchevel GS, she grabbed an emotional comeback win after the toughest 315 days of her life.
“She had that fire in her eyes before inspection that we hadn’t seen for a while. I’ve never seen Mikaela this emotional, not after winning Gold at the Olympics and World Championships nor after winning the overall World Cup. We were all deeply moved by her relief, her joy, her gratitude – including her fellow competitors. It shows what an exceptional personality she is.”
MAGIC MAURO: “MR. RECOVERY“ RETURNS WITH A VICTORY
Apart from Mikaela Shiffrin, Mauro Caviezel also had his magical moment this past weekend. “Mr. Recovery’s” regenerative powers after injuries seem to be out of this world. Still, it is pretty sensational that last season’s best Super-G racer (winner of the Super-G globe despite not winning a single race) returned to the World Cup stage with a victory, following an injury as severe as an Achilles tendon rupture and a recovery of 6 months. Race Manager Höflehner: “We don’t know how he does it.” Maybe it is even a good sign that Mauro broke his index finger just one day after his Super-G triumph in the downhill of Val d´Isère and will now have to race with a cast in Gröden. By the way, he wasn’t the only sensational returnee: Adrian Smiseth Sejersted who had been off the circuit since his horrific crash in Wengen, crushed the Val d´Isère Super-G taking 4th place.
MARCEL HIRSCHER: COMEBACK HYPE AFTER FUN RUN
If you think it was Mikaela Shiffrin, Mauro Caviezel or Adrian Smiseth Sejersted triggering the biggest comeback hype this weekend, you’re wrong. A run “just for fun” by Marcel Hirscher, was the talk of the town. Exhilarating for Marcel, alarming for today’s top athletes, his fans thrilled. The videos on social media made one thing obvious that was also confirmed by the timing: Marcel hasn’t lost his speed.
Up next for the men will be a speed weekend at Gröden and the classic GS of Alta Badia, the ladies will move on to Val d´Isère for a speed weekend.