Lucky man

Exclusive blog sees Austrian pick up awards as he battles ankle injury.

Hi guys,

After a tough month without any training in the snow, I can finally announce some positive news. On Friday night in Prague, I was selected as the European Athlete of the Year!

A tremendous award, if one considers that I surpassed tennis legend Roger Federer.

Almost simultaneously I was also selected Austria’s Athlete of the Year for the fourth time. This award – right now – means a lot to me.

Also because in Austria we have many great athletes such as Dominic Thiem, Stefan Kraft, and Andreas Prommegger that also would have deserved this title.

On the other hand, this award shows me how lucky I was these past years – to be able to carry out my sport without any bruises.

Only God knows that it isn’t always like this. Instead of slowly and steadily practising the slalom discipline after the first snow test on October 11, I had to accept that my body still needed rest.

So I must be patient until my ankle will feel good again for the next dry run. If it does then we will try to ski next Monday and, if not, I will give the ankle another two weeks.

The objections, that I might have began training too early, are well meant, but at the end of the day, you are always smarter. It simply was the right time to start trying a couple of weeks ago. I had to try in order to know.

Was a start in Soelden theoretically possible or not? As luck would have it, the race was cancelled due to bad weather! A lucky coincidence for me.

At the same time, a couple of friends and me prepared for the race with a complete breakfast in front of the TV. Now the FIS World Cup launch has been postponed to Levi in Finland which – hopefully nobody will hold it against me – I don’t mind at all.

What remains is the frequently asked question, what is realistic now for me and my comeback? I believe that Beaver Creek is doable, despite the many missed ski days.

At the same time, nobody can make a realistic prognosis how long my ankle will need to recover and to be able to withstand the physical strains of a World Cup race.

The truth is the ankle feels great while running an easy casual jog but as soon as it has to deal with the pressure put on the ski boots, it hurts again.

The key word of the past and future weeks continues to be patience, even though it has been increasingly difficult to keep my feet calm as I keep missing ski days.

I accept the situation and the circumstance, that my training deficit cannot be regained in this season. I will concentrate to keep myself as physically fit as possible for the coming training start on the snow.

Read the original blog in German HERE.