eYou’re certainly not going to have enough reserves for a long delight at the finish line in Bormio. After descending the World Cup for about two minutes on the slope of Stelvio, where one challenge follows the next, the ski racers are at the end of their rope. But for Dominic Schweiger, looking at the display board did a great deal of energy. He raised his fist and shrieked with delight when he discovered it was fifth.
Just three tenths of a second too slow for the podium, Bormio’s long-term winner Dominique Paris was once again on top. The South Tyrolean defeated the Swiss Marco Odermatt and Nils Huntermann. Schweiger was faster than the world champion, Vincent Krechmeier, and also faster than Alexander Aamodt Keelde and Matthias Maier, winners of the first two rounds of the Winter World Cup. “The sleds went on, the weather was great, and it was great,” said the 30-year-old from Berchtesgaden.
The better results for German skaters are no longer a surprise, but so far others are to blame. Schweiger was in the shadows of public perception, not only depicting the injured Thomas Driessen, but also Andreas Sander, Romed Bowman and Josef Verstel. Finally, young Simon Gaucher pushed himself into the spotlight. All four had qualified for the Winter Olympics before Christmas, and Schweiger, who finished 11th at Beaver Creek, was half normal.
Now he’s got the ticket to the best downhill result of his career so far – on a downhill that took a serious fall in 2017 and has since struggled with lower back issues. The fact that only four athletes from each country are allowed to compete in each discipline in Beijing, but now five German downhill racers have made it to the base, is an unusual luxury problem for coaches.
Schweiger was always considered the athlete who often did well for the team, but only occasionally excelled. More often than not, he has succeeded more in his style of leadership than in results, always on the limit, but also prone to error. “It is important to find a compromise, on the one hand I am fast, but on the other hand, figure skating is also suitable,” he knows.
The former giant slalom expert, who only switched to downhill skiing five years ago, often forgot about it when he got up to speed. Or he didn’t work on it seriously enough. He admits that in the past he “lived like this”. Only in the past few years has he “became more focused” and thus “taken a step forward”. but that is not all. At his 30’s, he’s finally mature enough to not only be among the best occasionally, but to prove himself out there. “I think it’s possible to achieve more when I work with intense focus.”