A get-together of top-notch athletes
Ofterschwang will be hosting a great number of prominent athletes this weekend - from recent World Cup Champions to participants from exotic nations.
Although US star Lindsey Vonn will not able to compete after her crash in Schladming this year, fans may look forward to seeing the cream of the crop in ladies’ alpine skiing in Allgäu this weekend. Aside from French Downhill racer Marion Rolland, all recent World Cup champions from last weekend’s race in Schladming will take part: Super G Champion Tina Maze (Slovenia), who is leading in the Overall World Cup standings, as well as Giant Slalom World Cup winner Tessa Worley (France), Slalom Champion and shooting star Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and the Combined World Champion and local favourite Maria Höfl-Riesch, who aims at racing to her 25th World Cup victory. Austrian gold medal winners Nicole Hosp and Michaela Kirchgasser will also be fighting for valuable World Cup points. The illustrious list still goes on: Julia Mancuso (USA) or Kathrin Zettel (Austria) who made a podium in Ofterschwang as early as seven years ago, in February 2006.
h3. Will Tina Maze take home all of the globes this year?
“From an athletic point of view, this will certainly be an absolute highlight,” predicts OK Secretary General Stefan Huber, “as this may be the defining event for some one week before the big World Cup finals in Lenzerheide.” Although outstanding Tina Maze from Slovenia already secured the Overall World Cup and Giant Slalom title (the first racer to break the 2,000 points mark), the Slalom globe is far from being a shoo-in for anybody.
h3. A total of 113 athletes from 23 nations
In this discipline, US racer Mikaela Shiffrin, who will celebrate her 18th birthday three days after the World Cup in Ofterschwang, has a narrow lead over Tina Maze and Veronika VelezZuzulova (Slovakia). Even Swedish Frida Hansdotter still has asmall chance of winning the discipline. Exciting races are definitely guaranteed in this last stop of the World Cup Tour before the finals. An overall of 113 athletes from 23 nationswill participate, among them also two Argentinians, one Dutch racer and one from Japan. As for theGiant Slalom on Saturday, 85 athletes have been registered and 89 starters will be competing on Sundayin the Slalom.
h3. Great expectations for Viktoria Rebensburg
One of the racers is particularly looking forward to returning to Ofterschwang: ViktoriaRebensburg, who won both races last year. Although this Giant Slalomseason has not been as satisfactory, she still has her mind set on racing to the top positions: “I just want tohave as much fun as last year and enjoy the great atmosphere here in Ofterschwang,” says the23-year-old. (See subsequent interview.)
Text: Thomas Weiß, Ofterschwang Media Team
Mikaela Shiffrin, 2012 in Ofterschwang. Photo: Ralf Lienert