“This season I started with pretty few expectations cause my preparation went not that well as I hoped. My main goal for this season is to feel confident in skiing, have joy and the rest will come on it’s own.”
Carina Edlinger carries a big weight on her shoulders coming into the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup.
Despite being 19 years old and competing in just her second season, Edlinger has a collection of accolades befitting a veteran athlete. In the 2016-17 season, she topped the World Cup rankings in the vision impaired class of cross-country skiing and also won two gold medals in cross-country at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany.
But now the young star is facing her biggest challenge to date. A slew of health problems have put Edlinger’s chances of defending her top World Cup ranking in doubt, and she is keeping her goals modest.
“This season I started with pretty few expectations cause my preparation went not that well as I hoped,” Edlinger said. “My main goal for this season is to feel confident in skiing, have joy and the rest will come on it’s own.”
Edlinger is facing an uphill battle at her second World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup since she was often derailed in her pre-season training.
“My summer training struggled very much. It even looked like a ride on the rollercoaster,” she said. “I had huge health problems and many other things didn’t go as well as I wished.”
The health issues followed Edlinger into the first World Cup stop of the ongoing season, which took place in December in Canmore, Canada. But the young Austrian still earned two bronze medals in the cross-country races there.
“Being back in Canmore was a wonderful feeling for me. I was already waiting for it since last March,” Edlinger said. “I was not that satisfied with the races, but it was good to be back on the podium and to see the comparison between me and the other athletes.”
“In general I am not a good season starter,” she added. “I took many nice impressions from there with me back home, which let me get stronger again.”
The next challenge for last season’s breakthrough athlete is the upcoming World Cup stop in Oberried, Germany, to be held between 20 and 28 January.
“I am happy to continue the World Cup season and, as I know from Finsterau, racing in Germany is nice,” Edlinger said. “In Oberried there is also the same format of races like in Korea so it will be interesting to see and, for me, a chance to find out how my latest work went.”
The similarities between the races in Oberried and at PyeongChang 2018 is an especially important point for Edlinger who is eagerly looking ahead to the biggest competition of her career’s - her first Paralympic Games.
“The biggest goal is to be in PyeongChang and show that there is an Austrian lady who can ski fast and hopefully win a medal too,” she said.