Marco Odermatt – “Athlete of the Year 2022” and much more
A weekend of contrasts for Marco Odermatt. The skier from Nidwalden has written the next two chapters of his success story on and off the mountain – on the one hand in a racing suit and helmet, and on the other in a dinner jacket with bow tie.
When the international media report on Marco Odermatt, the search for suitable superlatives becomes a challenge in the editorial offices. With seven World Cup races run so far in the winter of 2022/23, Marco Odermatt has won three, come second twice, third once – and he didn’t compete in Val d’Isère’s slalom on Sunday.
On that day – or rather evening – Odermatt was in the full glare of publicity at the 2022 Sports Awards gala. For the second year running, “Odi” has won the Swiss Athlete of the Year award. Garnering 44.1% of the votes, the best skier of the moment prevailed against strong competition from four other sports. Knowing what it takes to achieve success in sport, his speech included thanks to those around him, including his service man Chris Lödler and the entire Stöckli team. When asked by journalists whether he felt more comfortable in a formal suit or a racing suit, the answer was typical Odi: “A racing suit. That’s when I have everything under control – the way I like it.”
Odermatt demonstrated just how well he has things under control the day before the gala event. On the challenging Face de Bellevarde slope, the Central Swiss athlete once again showed why he’s currently ranked top of the list of the world’s best ski racers by winning the Val d'Isère Giant Slalom with a 1.40 second lead over the first runner-up, claiming his 14th World Cup victory and securing Swiss-Ski’s 300th success for the men’s team in the history of the World Cup.
Over the course of the season, Marco Odermatt has now finished ten World Cup giant slaloms – in other words, all of them since Sölden 2021 – on the podium. A series that’s all the more impressive as Odermatt also ranks world number one in the speed disciplines. Many athletes had problems on Val d’Isère’s rough surface. Marco Odermatt completed his almost flawless runs with immense confidence, commenting afterwards: “Despite the circumstances and conditions, virtually everything worked out, which reflects well on my service man Chris Lödler. We now have the perfect set-up everywhere.” Having reported a degree of fatigue at the end of the North American races, Odermatt is now back in top form. As the fastest competitor after the first run, he started the decisive second race as if he might end up 0.01 seconds behind. “I pushed myself to my limits: that’s how I feel at my most secure.”
There’s also a success story at Val d’Isère featuring Thomas Tumler. Coming after a long period of injury, the Graubünden racer was able to repeat the result he achieved last year in Val d’Isère – his third best in the World Cup so far – and was correspondingly pleased with his performance. Over in the women’s World Cup at Sestriere, Andrea Ellenberger (20th in the giant slalom) secured World Cup points, as did Aline Danioth (13th) and Nicole Good (20th) in the slalom.
The ski crossers have also started their competition season in the World Cup. Two men’s and two women’s races were held in Val Thorens (FRA). And here, too, the Stöckli team enjoyed successes, with Marielle Thompson (CAN) coming second and Talina Gantenbein (SUI), Daniela Maier (GER) and Jonas Lenherr all third-placed at the award ceremonies.