Slovenian snow queen Tina Maze eyes a golden Olympic crown
Having dominated all of the Alpine ski disciplines during the 2012-2013 season, Slovenia’s snow queen Tina Maze now just needs an elusive Olympic gold to cap a perfect campaign. At Sochi 2014, the world’s best women’s all-round skier will have at least five opportunities to achieve that goal.
Tina Maze was the undisputed star of the 2012-2013 Alpine ski season, during which she broke all records. The biggest sporting hero in Slovenia’s young sporting history dominated all five of the Alpine ski disciplines, joining a very exclusive club which features just five other women: Petra Kronberger (GER), Pernilla Wiberg and Anja Pärson (both SWE), Janica Kostelic (CRO) and Lindsey Vonn (USA), all of whom enjoyed World Cup victories in the five disciplines. They were also all crowned Olympic champions on at least one occasion - the one honour yet to elude Maze.
The Slovenian secured a record 24 podium finishes during the 2012-2013 campaign, scoring 11 victories and notching up the highest points total (2,414) ever achieved in the FIS World Cup general classifications by any man or women. As well as winning the big Crystal Globe, she also claimed the super-G and giant slalom prizes. And her winning streak didn’t stop there. Maze also won one gold medal (super-G) and two silvers (giant and super combined) at the 2013 World Alpine Ski Championships in Schladming 2013.
First lady of Slovenian sport
Maze has made something of a habit of setting firsts. At the 2011 World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen she dominated the giant slalom to become the first Slovenian to win gold at the Worlds. And on the slopes of Whistler, at Vancouver 2010, her two silver medals (in the super-G and giant slalom) made her Slovenia’s most successful ever Winter Olympian. The only thing to elude her so far is an Olympic gold. “That’s definitely my aim this season. The Games are always in the thoughts of any athlete. That’s what we work for. The Olympic races are the most important of the lot. When they come round, every four years, everyone wants to be at the top at the moment.”
In October 2012, Maze released a song called My Way Is My Decision, which was viewed more than 430,000 times on YouTube. “Smiling through my tears, my desire’s a weapon against my fears” she sang. “I want to be a tale they tell over the years, to inspire the world. My way is my decision, my power is my vision.” The song was often to be heard at the World Cup venues last season, and became the self-penned soundtrack to the Slovenian’s record-breaking feats.
Maze is keen to point out that her success was not instant; she had to contest 13 World Cup seasons before, as she puts it, “hitting the jackpot”. And her Olympic adventure began way back in 2002 in Salt Lake City, so Sochi 2014 will be her fourth Games. If she is to achieve the legendary status she craves, she knows that she must first secure her place in the Olympic pantheon. Her destiny will be shaped on the slopes of Rosa Khutor in February.
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