Ilka Stuhec is world champion! Her first interview
Ilka Stuhec: “Stöckli and I want to continue to be even better together.” On the heels of 2015 and 2017, now comes 2019: Stöckli is the ski brand of the women’s downhill world champion. Ilka Stuhec has successfully defended in Are the title she won in St. Moritz.
Ilka Stuhec, heartfelt congratulations! Slovenian speed skier and Stöckli – a true success story…
Ilka Stuhec: “Thank you. It appears to be true, yes. Everything performed really fantastic. The equipment was perfect, and I knew at the start that it now only came down to me and my performance.”
Do you see a particular reason that everything worked so well?
“Stöckli is very flexible and always finds the best solution for me and always makes whatever I need happen. And that really does a lot when it comes to trust and self-confidence. Our relationship is very close, and we communicate well with each other. Both of us – that is, Stöckli and myself – have the same interest: We both want to continue to be even better together. I am so pleased that we are walking this path together.
Before you switched to Stöckli you were never on the podium, but since then indeed quite regularly and now too for the second time as world champion. Did this switch really change so much?
“The switch is most certainly an important reason that this story has developed in this way. Stöckli has top equipment. But it was also important for me when it comes to my head. I know before that I could ski fast – but it just didn’t happen so often. The switch to Stöckli was the little kick and also the really big push I needed to ensure everything worked together and for me to make progress.”
In selecting bib numbers for the World Championship downhill, you made the decision to take 9. Did that have any particular reason, perhaps tactical?
“Two years ago in St. Moritz I started as 7. You likely know that 7 is an important, perhaps even magical number, and many stories have something to do with the number 7. The number 9 is also such a number … now (she laughs). No, seriously. I selected that because of the weather forecast. Because of the fresh fallen snow, an earlier number wouldn’t have been so good, and heavy winds were forecast originally for later. That was in the end though for everybody mostly the same.”
Where is there a big difference between the two World Championship titles from 2017 and 2019?
“I would say that this one in Are was more of a surprise. Two years ago I had already had a really superb season with outstanding results coming into the World Championships. The 2018-19 season was my comeback season after my injury. I of course knew that I could ski fast. Early in the winter, however, that didn’t work out so totally well. But I believed in it and told myself that I shouldn’t think so hard about the past and should just be ready for the present.”