Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More World Championship Stories

As I said in a previous post, every skier at the World Championships has a story. Here are more stories about some of the skiers at the 2011 World Championships.

Jaroslav Babusiak (Slovakia): According to the commentator on German Eurosport, Babusiak is a student in the off-season. He is planning to become a teacher.

Elizabeth Goergl (Austria): Before the women's Super-G race on the first day of competition, Goergl had a hard time deciding which pair of boots to wear. She was torn between two pairs. The ones that she chose were obviously the right ones because she won the gold medal in that event and also in the downhill. In addition, she enjoys singing. Goergl sang the song, "You're the Hero (Between Heaven and Hell)," a song specially written for the World Championships, during both of her award ceremonies and at the opening ceremony.

Andre Myhrer (Sweden): The Swedish slalom specialist is also an accomplished guitarist. His band was featured at one of the local clubs a few days ago.

Laurenne Ross (USA): Ross is one of the more recognizable members of the US ski team because she wears her hair in dreadlocks. Like Myhrer, she is also a musician. Ross plays the piano, violin, and cello.

Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud, Lars Elton Myhre (Norway): These three skiers made a Michael Jackson tribute video during 2009 fall training in South America. All three, along with their coach, made up a dance routine to "Beat It." The skiers wore their speed suits and ski boots. Unfortunately, it's no longer on YouTube due to copyright issues.

Alexandra Coletti (Monaco):  Coletti is not the only one in her family who is a sports star. Her brother, Stefano, is a very successful Formula 1 auto racer.

Mirko DeFlorian and Urs Imboden (Moldova): Neither of these skiers is Moldovan. DeFlorian is Italian and Imboden is Swiss. DeFlorian was a member of the Italian ski team until he received an 18-month suspension for cocaine use in 2008. He got Moldovan citizenship this season. Imboden briefly competed for Switzerland then became a Moldovan citizen before the 2006-07 season. Both of these men comprise the Moldovan ski team.

Jean-Pierre Roy (Haiti): Roy is a Haitian citizen who has lived in France since he was two. He is 47 years old and the only athlete at these championships who is a grandfather. His skiing experience is the annual week-long family ski trip that he has taken since he was eight. Roy is the Haitian Ski Federation president, the Haitian team captain, and the Haitian ski team. He will be trying to qualify for the giant slalom and slalom events later this week.

Silvan Zurbriggen (Switzerland) and Felix Neureuther (Germany): Both of these men have relatives who were big skiing stars. Zurbriggen's cousin is Pirmin Zurbriggen, who is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist and 4-time overall World Cup winner. Neureuther's mother is 1976 Olympic gold medalist Rosi Mittermaier. His father is 1972 and 1976 Olympian Christian Neureuther. Both Zurbriggen and Neureuther have really come into their own and are no longer being compared to their famous family members.

Hans Olsson and Matts Olsson (Sweden): Both of these Olssons are cousins. They competed together in today's team parallel giant slalom event and were instrumental in Sweden's bronze medal performance.

Ivica Kostelic and Natko Zrncic-Dim (Croatia): They grew up together because their parents were good friends. Kostelic describes his younger teammate Zrncic-Dim as a perfect training partner who pushes him to excellence.

There are many more untold stories from these World Championships. Even though most of the athletes here in Garmisch won't earn a medal, they are still interesting people.

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