Amanda Salzgeber (AUT) shrugged off the pressure of being the offspring of Alpine skiing royalty to make her own mark on the Swiss slopes as she won the women’s combined Youth Olympic title on Saturday.
The 17-year-old is the daughter of Calgary 1988 combined champion Anita Wachter and the 1993 world championship silver medallist Rainer Salzgeber.
But the teenager showed she is very much her own woman as she swept to victory by an impressive overall margin of 0.95 seconds.
“Last night mum said it was possible, I just had to push the whole course,” said Salzgeber, who relegated Israel’s Noa Szollos to silver with Swiss Super-G gold medallist Amelie Klopfenstein taking bronze.
“I felt really great from the first gate. For sure I feel the pressure [of her parents’ success] but she [her mum] always says she was her and I am me and I have to do my own thing.” Wachter admitted at the bottom of the slope that she had been so nervous she had been unable to even watch the race. “I am so happy for her, so proud she has now won a medal,” Wachter said of her daughter who jumped up from fourth overnight after completing the slalom course in 37.34 seconds, the second fastest time of the day.
Szollos completed a fantastic two days for Israeli skiing and with Super-G bronze and combined silver, the teenager is looking forward to the next logical step. “It would line up nicely right?” Szollos said as she declared her aim to win gold in Sunday’s giant slalom. “I am so full of confidence. I am ready to destroy everything. The giant slalom is my favourite as well.”
Klopfenstein is another on a medal roll. The hometown favourite, who only found out she was competing at Lausanne 2020 eight days ago, followed her shock Super-G gold with bronze in the combined to keep the Swiss cow bells ringing.
In the conclusion to the men’s combined race, Mikkel Remsoey (NOR) and Auguste Aulnette (FRA) created a lifetime’s friendship as the pair shared gold. Starting 0.71 seconds behind overnight leader and Super-G champion Adam Hofstedt (SWE), Aulnette produced the performance of the day in the slalom to jump from ninth to first.
The young Frenchman showed expert control of conditions, mastering the steep upper part of the course before flying through the lower gates to finish in an overall time of 1 minute and 28.41 seconds. It was not entirely unexpected for the confident Aulnette.
“Last night I went to sleep and imagined I would win and now I have,” the Frenchman said. New best friend Remsoey had been furious with himself after Saturday’s Super-G run but he came out firing for his favoured slalom following a stirring overnight chat with his coach. “I’ve never met Auguste but it feels really nice to share a gold with him,” Remsoey said. “I look up to [Kjetil] Jansrud [Norway’s five-time Alpline skiing Olympic medallist] and it feels really good to be on the way to maybe matching him one day.”
Sweden’s Hofstedt is already a multi-Olympic medallist after fighting his way down the course to narrowly hold off Philip Hoffmann (AUT) and take the bronze.