Nov 12, 2013, 9:43 AM EST
What’s it like to be the best Alpine skier from the sport’s richest nation?
Ask the two-time reigning World Cup overall champion Marcel Hirscher, the top Austrian gold-medal hope going into the Sochi Olympics.
“If you’re standing in front of a big, big, huge wall, and you have no opportunity to climb up there, and then behind you, there are a hundred crazy dogs who want to eat you up, then you have to go for your life,” Hirscher, 24, told The Associated Press.
Austria has won 105 Olympic Alpine skiing medals, nearly twice as many as second-place Switzerland (56). The U.S. is fourth with 39.
But the land of Franz Klammer and Hermann Maier produced zero men’s Alpine medals at the 2010 Olympics.
The pressure is on Hirscher to deliver gold in Sochi. He’s the reigning world champion and World Cup champion in the slalom and a rival to Ted Ligety in the giant slalom.
No other Austrian man or woman led a World Cup discipline or won an individual world championships last season.
Hirscher will be looking to top the podium again Sunday, when the Alpine skiing World Cup visits Levi, Finland, for a slalom. Hirscher was third in the season-opening giant slalom (behind winner Ligety) in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27.
He took second to Swede Andre Myhrer in Levi last season.
Ligety, too, is slated to start in Levi. The American has obviously been working on his slalom.
Jan 25, 2015, 3:09 PM EST
Instead, past Winter X Games champions prevailed in Aspen.
Jan 25, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Jason Brown tries to become the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 2004.
Jan 25, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
An inside look at the skier’s comeback from two major knee surgeries.
Jan 25, 2015, 7:36 AM EST
Vonn captured victory No. 64 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Jan 24, 2015, 11:50 PM EST
Wagner becomes the oldest women’s champion since Michelle Kwan.
Jan 24, 2015, 9:15 PM EST
Kim outdueled the greatest snowboarder of all time.
Jan 24, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Gracie Gold wants to deny history for Ashley Wagner.
Jan 24, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Pairs free skate and free dance national titles to be awarded.
Jan 24, 2015, 6:23 AM EST
Vonn missed an opportunity to all but clinch the World Cup season downhill title.
Jan 23, 2015, 11:58 PM EST
Brown is poised to become the youngest U.S. men’s champion in 11 years.
Jan 23, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Jacobellis has now won 13 gold medals in 18 major championships.
Jan 23, 2015, 9:54 AM EST
Olympic medalists threw out ceremonial first pitches last season.
Jan 23, 2015, 8:44 AM EST
Miller now looks ahead to the World Championships.
Jan 22, 2015, 11:57 PM EST
White had the same finish as he did in Sochi.
Jan 22, 2015, 11:44 PM EST
The free skate is live on NBC on Saturday night.
Jan 22, 2015, 2:43 PM EST
Weir and Lipinski will be based at the Super Bowl XLIX Tailgate Party.
Jan 22, 2015, 8:47 AM EST
But LeMond might be willing to talk to Armstrong.
Jan 22, 2015, 8:28 AM EST
No other U.S. Olympian from Sochi can say they’ve performed better in top competitions in the last year.
Jan 21, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
A mix of youth and experience vying for the title and three World Championships spots.
Jan 21, 2015, 3:30 PM EST
Boston hopes to become the first U.S. city to host an Olympics since Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Games.
- Lindsey Vonn wins final race before World Championships (video) 0
- Ashley Wagner shatters records for third U.S. figure skating title 3
- Chloe Kim wins Winter X Games halfpipe at age 14 0
- Lindsey Vonn struggles in St. Moritz downhill (video) 0
- Jason Brown leads U.S. short program; quad debate stoked 1
- Bode Miller will not race Kitzbuehel downhill, hopeful for World Champs 0
- Shaun White beaten in Winter X Games halfpipe 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)