Alpine Skiing holds a special place in the Winter Universiade, as it was this discipline that saw the first medal ever awarded in Winter Universiade history. This was back in 1960 in the mountain village of Chamonix, heart of the French Alps.
It was there, skiing on home snow just below the jagged and incredible Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain chain that the French skier Cécile Prince took gold in the Super Giant Slalom event. In the many years since then, Switzerland, USA, Czechoslovakia and Austria have dominated these events. In the Chamonix edition, Austrian men clean swept the Downhill event while Switzerland took all three medals in Giant Slalom.
More recently, in Almaty 2017, the Austrians pulled off another clean sweep, this time in the Slalom. While countries like Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Czech Republic and Russia can never be counted out – especially in the women’s events – Austria will be putting its best foot forward yet again.
Almaty gold medalist Richard Leitgeb leads the field for Austria Richard Leitgeb, who won the Slalom gold in Almaty will be setting out for Austria once again in Krasnoyarsk. And he is looking forward to that special feeling again.
“It feels like Olympics!” he says excitedly, of the Universiade. “It’s the Olympics of the best student athletes in the world! An experience that is connected with pride, where you want to deliver the best performance for yourself and your country.”
“The atmosphere is unique,” he continues.
Teammate Gotthard Obauer (above) has clearly heard a lot about the Universiade experience already and is therefore, looking forward to it.
“It is a huge incentive for me to be chosen to participate in the Winter Universiade 2019,” says 22-year-old Obauer. “It is an honour to represent my country and my university at such an event. Having a medal in my luggage when I’m back in Austria would be great.”
The Austrian delegation has surely pinned a lot of its hopes on Alpine Skiing. 11 out of the 27 athletes in the Austrian squad are Alpine Skiers. If history is anything to go by, not only will we see them win medals but perhaps sweep an event too. Alpine Skiing gets underway with the Super-G on 3 March and ends with the men’s Slalom on 11 March. Find the entire competition schedule here.
Watch this space for news and results and also have a look at the Alpine Skiing Complex Funpark ‘Bobrovy Log’, which includes 14 pistes of different complexities, a total length of 9,762 km and a vertical drop of 350m.