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Coaching Coup Brings Sochi Success Closer

Australians secure services of Alpine Skiing coahces Maren Goll and Alison Bombardier

© • IPC

"Maren knows what it takes to build a successful program, and she will be a real asset to the program and the emerging talent coming through."

The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has pulled off a major coup in its bid for success at the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games in 2014, by securing the services of outstanding alpine skiing coaches Maren Goll and Alison Bombardier.

Bombardier joins the APC’s Winter Program after more than 10 years of coaching elite skiers both in Australia and the United States, while Goll’s appointment comes after she helped guide the German Paralympic Alpine Ski Team to stunning success at the past two Winter Paralympics Games in Torino and Vancouver.

The pair will work closely with Steve Graham, the APC Winter Program Head Coach, to lead a new look Australian Paralympic Winter Squad brimming with dynamic new talent, after the retirement of some established stars following the 2010 Paralympics.

Graham said the appointment of the two new coaches comes at an exciting time for the APC Winter Program.

“We have built a really successful culture within the squad over the years, and I have no doubt that the appointment of Alison and Maren will take our program to another level,” Graham said.

“We have a new look squad with massive potential, and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Bombardier’s main focus will centre on strengthening Australia’s elite skiing talent in the vision-impaired and standing classes. Despite the retirement of several key stars including Paralympic medallists Marty Mayberry (standing) and Bart Bunting (vision-impaired), it remains an area of real strength for the Australian Team led by dual Vancouver Games bronze medallist Cameron Rahles-Rahbula and Torino medallist Toby Kane. The pair is likely to again spearhead Australia’s medal hopes in the men’s standing class in Sochi.

“Alison has been involved in Australian ski racing for a long time and brings with her a lot of expertise,” Graham said.

“Her influence, particularly on the standing and vision-impaired athletes, will be extremely positive.”

Goll’s primary role will be with Australia’s sit-skiers, and given her coaching record, the future looms as an exciting one. Among her former charges is the legendary Martin Braxenthaler.

The German sit-skier has won an incredible 12 Paralympic medals including 10 gold from four Games, and joins German team-mate Gerd Schoenfelder (16 Paralympic gold medals) among the most successful Winter Paralympians of all time.

“Maren has coached the best of the best,” Graham said.

“Martin and Gerd are giants of the sport, but the whole German Team has set the benchmark in Paralympic Alpine Skiing for many years.

“Maren knows what it takes to build a successful program, and with her coaching record and her background in research and performance analysis, she will be a real asset to the program and the emerging talent coming through.”

The Australian Paralympic Winter Squad will begin their Southern Hemisphere winter campaign in the coming weeks, with the season’s headline event, the New Zealand Winter Games, being staged in August. The squad will then depart home shores on November 15 for the IPC World Cup season in Europe and North America.