Skiing for Gold
"A Day Full of Great Joy", 17 Feb
by Benno Zelsacher
Schladming – He really did it. And after having done it followed by an exuberant belly-flop after the finish, Marcel Hirscher said: "They told me that only the greatest manage that. Now I find it difficult to describe."
The 23-year-old from Salzburg, who won the night slalom on the Planai last year, later winning the Crystal Ball at the World Championship finale [...].
"I don’t even know how I managed to distract myself this much. I don’t want to try that again. The mood was sensational", commented the victorious top favourite after managing to intercept in-the-lead German, Felix Neureuther (28), in front of 40,000 spectators in the Planai stadium and winning the first gold medal in the Schladming World Championship for Austria.
Hirscher, who had to read about himself that he had been chosen to become the saviour of the nation, tried to envision "what would have happened if I had been disqualified". But then, he didn’t really want to imagine that.
The Race of the Century, 18 Feb. 2013
by Thomas Hummel
Under pressure from an entire country and in front of 40,000 frenetic spectators, the Austrian Marcel Hirscher won a gold medal at the World Championship. [...]
Anyone who wants to know what this Sunday signifies for Austria only needs to take a look at the Kronenzeitung: "The Race of the Century," it said in capital letters. Mind you, that was before the slalom event took place in the Skiing World Championships![...]
People are looking for heroes, also to improve their own self-esteem. And for Austria, this small proud nation in the mountains, there is nothing more important in sports than counting the best skier as one of their own.
On that Sunday, the burden of this expectation accompanied 23-year-old Marcel Hirscher from Annaberg-Lungötz, located only an hour’s drive from the race location. And because he shouldered this burden amidst such dramatic staging, he is the first and only one to win a gold medal at a singles’ competition for his country at this Austrian-held World Championships.