Racing down the slopes with the perfect maneuvering of the mono-ski, her impeccable performance is continued here at Pyeongchang – Anna Schaffelhuber remains indisputably sensational. German fans have occupied the audience seats. They are ready to share team Germany’s triumph as Schaffelhuber races down the slopes. The chanting of her name, along with the rapturous ovation seems to give the German athlete her best motivation.
Born in Bavaria with a spinal cord injury, she makes her first trial on the mono-ski at the age of five. After her Paralympics debut in 2010 at Vancouver, Schaffelhuber starts to secure at least three medals from each of the World Championships since 2011.
"I stay realistic, I concentrate day by day, as long as I am good, I am satisfied - no matter if it’s 1st, 8th or 100th."
Schaffelhuber won five goldmedals in Sochi
The 25-year-old German athlete is renowned for sweeping all five medals in five events at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi; as if her entry guarantees a spot on the podium. Named “Best Female Athlete” by the International Paralympic Committee just last February – sure enough at PyeongChang – she has already has achieved two golds each from super G and downhill, and a silver for super combined. The 25-year-old German has shown retirement plans after PyeongChang, but it apparently seems worthy of delay with her successful runs.
The golden triumph for the sitting super combined fell nonetheless to team mate Anna-Lena Forster. When asked if she expected gold, Forster states “definitely not”, as “she knew [she] could get a medal” but also knew “gold would be damn hard, too.” As her rivalry with Schaffelhuber in the sitting events has been already precedented, the gold medalist is “glad that [she] can get out of her shadow.” One may think a gold might be pressure for the next day, but Forster seems to keep in pace as she mentions, “the gold medal takes the pressure out." 22-year-old Forster competes on the final match with Schaffelhuber on the slalom games on Sunday.
This Sunday there will be another chance to win medals
For the standing event, 28-year-old Andrea Rothfuss is already a gold and silver medalist in Sochi and her victory seems to be extending to 2018: she has already won four silver medals in super G, super combined, giant slalom and downhill. "I want to again try my best on Sunday and then we'll see what's inside. Four silver medals so far are definitely great!" says Rothfuss after the giant slalom event held on the 14th. It seems more medals may be left for Rothfuss and the ones at home are becoming a great motivation.
Alpine skiing is arguably extraordinary for Germany, being that its female athletes are proudly bringing home medals starting from Sochi; and PyeongChang does not seem to be an exception to their medal relay. The ‘German female power’ is remarkable, at least in the alpine skiing discipline – as their male alpine skiers: Georg Kreiter and Thomas Nolte remains in rank 10 and 20 respectively.
Here in the alpine slopes, the guide runner in the neon coloured vest becomes the eyes of the blind athletes. The steep slopes are no barrier as they trust sincerely in their partners upfront. Balance is performed in the most excellent manner by the one-legged, and the best turns made by the paralyzed. With more events in this sunday left to come, we await with great awe for these motivating figures on the snow.
This text was also published in German in the "Paralympics Zeitung" of the Tagesspiegel. Its author is part of the young journalist team that was in South Korea at the Paralympics.
Dieser Text ist in deutscher Sprache auch in der "Paralympics Zeitung" des Tagesspiegels erschienen. Seine Autorin ist Teil des Nachwuchsjournalisten Teams, das in Südkorea bei den Paralympics war.