Swiss Alpine skiing finds itself troubled waters. Last season’s results were extremely successful, however, this turn around, the Swiss team didn’t come close to their past achievements. The biggest loser so far, being Carlo Janka. Indeed, last World Cup’s aggregate winner is exhausted. This could be the result from the lack of training this summer, as a mysterious virus cut short the preparations. Furthermore, he also missed the traditional pre New Year’s downhill race in Bormio.
The next issue is Silvan Zurbriggen. The Swiss champion is currently giving his coach Martin Rufener some serious headaches. In Lake Louise, he was thrown out of the hotel he was staying in for harassing the cleaning lady. He reportedly walked about his room wearing nothing but his birthday suit. A horrified maid filed a complaint; and out of the luxurious premises was Zurbriggen thrown.
For as long as they could, the Swiss team tried to keep the lid on the “scandal”, and they did for some time. But then Silvan won the race in Val Gardena and tongues unleashed. Not a rosy prospect for Zurbriggen, who is in a serious relationship, especially when one considers the fact that he found himself into similar waters a few years back in Alta Badia. That time, he allegedly exposed his manhood to an old lady, who resorted to denounce him to the local authorities. His line of defence then was that he was just responding to nature’s call.
To cap it all up, there’s Lara Gut. She will undoubtedly drive the Swiss team coach Mauro Pini off the wall. Let us remind ourselves that Pini was in Gut’s team only a while ago, and that their subsequent separation didn’t happen in the friendliest of manners. Lara, on several occasions, criticised in public the work of the Swiss A team. She did not agree with the team’s training methods. That’s not all! In the summer, she opted to join the Swedish team rather than her own. It all went too far that time, and the ski federation decided to ban her from the Semmering events. To miss an event in Alpine skiing represents a severe penalty, as competition seasons are pretty short.
Lara Gut has threatened to compete for another country. Should she do so, then the Swiss team could render her life a real misery. Lawyers have been brought in to resolve the matter so as to satisfy both parties. On top of all this, her own sponsors are now also suing the Swiss champion for conflict of interest.
Regardless, the Swiss have this year accumulated so many problems off the track that it could easily make for a repeat of last year’s results. Heads are simply not cool enough and thoughts are erring in the wrong direction. The season is now in full swing and the other teams are already rubbing their hands in expectation.
Original text by Urban Lavrenčič translated from the Slovene by Christian Ngalikpima.