"If I ski well, if I take pleasure and I have a very good feeling, the result is often not so bad at the finish line.”
France’s 11-time world champion Marie Bochet executed an exceptional comeback from injury on Monday (23 January), posting the fastest time in the women’s downhill standing training at the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.
Bochet, the downhill Paralympic and world title holder, broke her tibula whilst training in super-G at the end of October 2016. The injury put her out of action for the first few months of 2016-17.
Monday was therefore the first time that the Frenchwoman had skied competitively this season, and she registered the quickest time in the first training run ahead of Wednesday’s (25 January) race.
“It’s just the training. It’s a first run,” Bochet said modestly. “But we will see at the end of January after the World Championships and at the end of February, we can talk about the results. It’s a good way to start and I am happy with that.”
Whilst the 22-year-old has clearly recovered, she was keen to not put too much emphasis on winning medals in Tarvisio. At the last two World Championships Bochet has gone unbeaten, sweeping all five individual disciplines.
“I don’t want to win gold or silver or bronze,” she said. “I don’t want to win my ‘slam’ like the last two World Championships. I just want to take pleasure, to go back to my feelings and to make my best skiing and to pass the finish with a smile and happy with what I do.”
Whilst she has been out, Bochet has been following the progress of her competitors at the World Cups. Skiers such as Germany’s slalom Paralympic champion and the Netherlands’ Anna Jochemsen, the second and third place finisher’s from Monday’s training, have taken Bochet’s place at the top of the podium. Canada’s Alana Ramsay has been up there too.
“I follow the girls in front of my computer! It’s not very fun but it’s cool to see that every podium is different and every girl can win in each race,” Bochet said. “So I need to work more, to train more and I can’t sleep on my skis.”
When asked about her build-up to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Bochet indicated that Tarvisio 2017 will provide a good marker of her form.
“For me Sochi felt like it was just yesterday,” she said. “This World Championships is an exercise. We train for PyeongChang but I try not to think about it because I don’t want to have so much pressure, because I have a few medals to win! I just take my time and go step-by-step every race.”
At the end, Bochet knows that she has the technical ability to finish on the podium. She just needs to find her rhythm.
“It’s always nice to win! But I don’t want to make that my goal,” she said. “I just need to find a few things before that. If I ski well, if I take pleasure and I have a very good feeling, the result is often not so bad at the finish line.”
The Tarvisio 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships run until 31 January. A second day of downhill training will take place on Tuesday (24 January) before the downhill race on Thursday (25 January).
All races are being livestreamed at Tarvisio2017.com, alongside live results.