At the age of four, Michaela Dorfmeister was already spending hours hurtling down the slopes near her home in the small resort of Neusiedl in western Austria. Her skis and talent took her to three editions of the Olympic Winter Games. Michaela was the first woman to win the double in the speed events in Alpine skiing, downhill and super-G, since the introduction of the super-G on the Games programme in 1988.
Disappointment in her first two Olympic Games
Dorfmeister first participated in the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998, taking a silver medal in the super-G event. She lost out on the gold by one hundredth of a second. Four years later, at the Salt Lake City Games, she ended up in 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th place in the four events in which she had entered.
The first, long awaited success
Michaela almost didn’t take part in the Turin Olympic Games. Twenty days beforehand, she narrowly missed having a terrible accident by only just avoiding a member of the ski patrol who crossed in front of her on a run in St Moritz. This little episode forgotten, on 15 February she dashed off in the downhill at these Games. She raced with the precision of a silversmith, chiselling out some perfect curves to snatch the gold. At the finish, she arrived ahead of the amazing Swiss skier Martina Schild and the Swedish all-rounder Anja Paerson. On the podium, “Michi” couldn’t hold back the tears. At 32, she had just taken the only title missing from her incredible career. She thus won the women’s downhill title that Austria had waited for since that of Annemarie Moser-Proll in 1980.
The highlight of her career, right before the end
Five days later, it was the super-G event. The day before, heavy snowfall had covered the Piedmont course and wreaked havoc on the race conditions. Michaela Dorfmeister was among the big favourites. Setting off with bib number 30, she put on a new show. She beat Croat Janica Kostelic and fellow Austrian Alexandra Meissnitzer by almost three and sixth tenths of a second. However, on crossing the line, Michaela did not realise her incredible performance, and was desperately searching for her name and time on the screen. It was her heir apparent Kostelic who fell into her arms to confirm what she had achieved. Her two Olympic gold medals were the peak of a career which ended on a high note: three months beforehand she had announced that she was retiring at the end of winter 2006.