Golden days for Marco Odermatt and Stöckli
The 14 days of the 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships in France have come to a close. They were golden days for Marco Odermatt and Stöckli. Days full of emotion for all the athletes and the staff.
After two weeks of sunshine, what remains for Marco Odermatt – and to some extent for every member of the “Stöckli family” – is the glow of two World Championship gold medals. “The World Championships were momentous. Of course because of Marco Odermatt’s two gold medals, but not just that,” declares Stöckli Race Director Beni Matti. “Alexis Monney and Aline Danioth put in good performances. Thomas Tumler and Rasmus Windingstad did well in some sections, but were unable to put the puzzle together from top to bottom. I’m sorry for Andrea Ellenberger, who was really unlucky.” Matti’s impressed by Odermatt’s mental strength – his ability to focus on the downhill after the disappointment of the Super-G.
With a fourth place in the Super-G, “Odi” failed to start the title fights as he would have wished. As the dominant figure in this discipline in the World Cup, he craved World Cup gold. In the end, he was just 11 hundredths of a second short of the bronze. Anyone wanting to see the Swiss losing the World Cup at this point – more precisely on February 12 – was soon to be proved wrong. Marco Odermatt powered his way to downhill world champion. He enjoyed a flawless, perfect run on the “Eclipse” course in Courchevel – in line with our slogan “built for perfection”. Because he was ready in his head for a really big coup. And because his equipment was right. After some emotionally tough moments, such as during the attempt of the favorite, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, this gold shone especially brightly – also due to the World Cup run-up which didn’t go according to plan. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old remained focused. The giant slalom, “his” discipline, was still to come. Second place after the first run and a good second run were enough to achieve something that only Zeno Colo (ITA/1950), Toni Sailer (AUT/1956), Jean-Claude Killy (FRA/1968) and Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR/2007), had managed before: to win gold in downhill and giant slalom in the same World Championships. “It was a difficult day, on a difficult and long course, on difficult snow with a difficult course setting, especially on the first run. You had to work constantly and put everything on the line,” said a physically tired Odermatt afterwards. He was relatively relaxed before the start but was also unsure whether he’d have enough strength for two top runs on the icy, challenging slope. He did. And he had some energy to spare, because his emotions didn’t run as high as on the day of the sensational downhill.
The athlete from Uri missed qualifying for the parallel race, but then shone in her special discipline: slalom. With the raucous support of fans that had traveled from Canton Uri, her ninth place after the first run became a fantastic sixth in the final standings. “I’ve never achieved a top six result in the World Cup. It's so cool that I'm able to do that at the World Championships, of all things," said the 24-year-old. Danioth missed the bronze medal by just 28 hundredths of a second, which caused a mini-disappointment, outweighed in the end by joy.
The athlete from Fribourg surprised everyone at his World Championship premiere by coming third in the second practice session and qualifying for the race. In the battle for medals, Monney managed to finish 18th – ahead of racers like Romed Baumann, Mattia Casse and Jared Goldberg. “It was a great experience, a great day. I’m not really disappointed, but I could have skied better,” said the 24-year-old, self-critically. “I gained experience and had fun. That’s the most important thing.”
In the team parallel race, the Nidwalden native managed fifth place, in the individual parallel event she finished 14th, but in her special discipline, the giant slalom, Andrea Ellenberger shed bitter tears: she was well on her way with the ninth best time in the first run, when disaster struck and she missed a gate. The disappointment was all the more acute because Ellenberger was in good shape and the conditions in France could have been tailored-made for her.
On the day that Marco Odermatt and Loic Meillard celebrated gold and silver in the giant slalom, the man from Graubünden had to come to terms with his World Cup disappointment. Little worked for him in the first run, and a 27th intermediate placing was the inevitable result. His aggressive approach in the second run brought him an improvement of nine places – too little for Tumler, who was annoyed by the mistakes he made. “I risked a lot, but it didn’t work out.”
The start of the World Championships with a win in the qualification for the individual parallel race went perfectly for the 29-year-old Norwegian. In the end, however, Windingstad was unable to join in the fight for medals because he failed in the quarter-finals against his compatriot Timon Haugan. Haugan won bronze, Windingstad remained in fifth place. And in the giant slalom, the result he achieved at the end (16th) fell short of expectations.