The daughter of Rainer Salzgeber, World Championship silver medallist, and Anita Wachter, Olympic combined champion in 1988, Austria’s Amanda Salzgeber was expected to do well at the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. She duly obliged by winning three medals on the course at Les Diablerets under the watchful eye of her mother. Here she talks about this great experience…
It sounds almost too good to be true. Exactly 32 years after her mother, Anita Wachter, was crowned Olympic champion in the combined at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, 17-year-old Austrian skier Amanda Salzgeber won the gold medal in this discipline at the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.
“I can’t really put into words how happy and relieved I felt after winning the gold medal. I was just so happy to achieve what I could have only dreamed of. It’s definitely something special, that we both won gold in the alpine combined, but it’s still my dream to participate in the Olympic Games, just like my mother did.”
After placing fourth in the Super G, Amanda had to overcome her nerves to win in front of her mother, who was at Les Diablerets but with her own nerves in far worse shape. “Yes, I know that she can't or will rarely watch my races, because she’s so nervous; and during the big events she’s even more nervous than usual. Before the race I already know she can’t watch it.”
Just a mother
“I’m just a mum. I come from skiing and I know how she feels before the race, after the race and during the race. And then, I can give her some advice, maybe, and try to give her a good input so that she can handle it a little bit better. It’s sure that I’m much more nervous than when I was a racer.”
Amanda recognises that she has inherited her calmness from her father, himself a very good slalom specialist in his day and now a race department director for a leading ski firm. Nonetheless, she experienced some unforgettable emotions during the YOG.
“During the victory ceremony at the medals plaza, I didn't even know what I should think; it felt like I was in a dream. Only a few days later I realised what really happened that day.”
Three medals in all
After her gold in the combined, Amanda won two bronze medals, one in the giant slalom and the other in the team event with compatriot Philip Hoffmann. “It was a nice way to end the competition. We were happy that we could stand on the podium together.”
Amanda now has her eyes set on taking part in the skiing World Cup and following the same path as her parents. “Participating in the Olympic Games is and will always be one of my biggest dreams. Lausanne has definitely shown me that I should continue skiing like I do now, and I will be happy to do so.”
For her champion mother, her daughter’s impatience brings back some memories. “When I was 17, it was the same. I just wanted to go to the World Cup. We were focused, focused, focused. Sometimes she’s really got tunnel vision to go forward. It’s the reason why I just want to tell her: just enjoy life besides skiing.”
We’ll see if this message helps the young Austrian to follow in the footsteps of her famous parents.