Josef Edlinger and his wife Marien could not stop smiling from ear to ear as they watched their children Carina and guide Julian step onto the top of the podium after winning their first world title in the women´s cross-country sprint visually impaired in Finsterau, Germany, on Sunday (12 February).
Ukraine´s Oksana Shyshkova, guided by Vitalii Kazakov, and Belarus´ Sviatlana Sakhanenka and guide Iryna Nafranovich followed them into the podium, in front of a roaring Austrian crowd made up of Carina and Josef´s family and friends.
“I did not know why but I was failing so many times and being here is a dream for me,” said Carina, who gave her country the first medal at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships.
“In a few days I will look back and say ´wow, this is awesome.´ I have races ahead so I will celebrate only after the closing ceremony.
“This is already a dream. But being at the next Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, would be even bigger.”
Working together as siblings can affect their performance both positively or negatively, as stated by Julian.
“Being her guide is amazing, we train a lot throughout the year. Now being world champions is great,” he said. “It is good to be the skier´s brother because we know each other very much and how the other one thinks.
“On the other hand, we need to work hard so that if we discuss at home, as every siblings do, it does not affect our skiing.
“But the truth is we are an amazing team, and winning gold with Carina makes it double special.
“The family has always been supportive, they are very proud of us. They make us stronger.”
Father Josef and mother Marien said that they have never forced their children to practice the sport.
“We are not cross-country skiers. I am a metal technician and she is a kindergarten teacher,” said Josef. “They started sports as kids. We always took them for hiking and adventure trips. And mountain running as well. We call ourselves the running family. We have a lot of fun together.
“We knew they were in good shape and we wanted to see them racing. We will surely come for the remaining events too.”
Marien also shared how proud she is of her children.
“This is absolutely great, amazing, wonderful,” she said.
Live results and coverage from the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships are available at Finsterau2017.com.
Right free pictures for editorial use are available for download at www.flickr.com/photos/paralympic/.
Broadcast quality race footage will also available on request by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The competition can also be followed on Facebook.com/ParaNordic, Twitter and Instagram (@ParaNordic).