With record media interest and packed crowds each day, January’s 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, provided more than incredible performances on the slopes.
Here are just some of the things we learned from the biggest competition ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Marie Bochet is not unbeatable
Whilst France’s Marie Bochet only made her season debut in Tarvisio because of injury, she still managed to add a further three world titles before she was toppled.
The 22-year-old’s unbeaten run of 14 golds from the three World Championships was sensationally halted by Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss in the giant slalom. The German followed-up with another victory in the slalom. On both occasions, Rothfuss had to overcome leading times posted by Bochet in her first run showing that PyeongChang 2018 will be very interesting indeed.
Canada are getting stronger
With three golds for Mac Marcoux and new guide Jack Leitch in the men’s visually impaired, and a series of other skiers making it onto the podium, Canada had a great Championships.
Add in three bronze and two silver medals for Alana Ramsay in the women’s standing – a podium sweep – and a silver and bronze respectively for Kirk Schornstein and Alexis Guimond in the men’s standing, and you have a great recipe for success.
Young athletes are on the up
Para alpine skiing World Championships have a history of bringing out the best performances from the next generation of skiers.
This was also true for Tarvisio 2017 where a series of teenagers not just medalled, but also finished on top.
The Netherlands Jeroen Kampschreur, 17, won three world titles in the men’s sitting. He was a product of a development camp hosted by World Para Alpine Skiing and the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee, the Agitos Foundation.
France’s Arthur Bauchet, just 16, stormed to two golds in the men’s standing.
These athletes are just the highlights from a field of young skiers who could be challenging for Paralympic medals in just over a year.
Watch out for Switzerland at the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships
Obersaxen, Switzerland, was announced as the hosts of the 2019 Worlds just after the conclusion of Tarvisio 2017.
Three of their skiers finished on the podium in Italy, including a first world title for Christoph Kunz in men’s super-G sitting. Theo Gmur and Robin Cuche collected a silver medal each in the men’s standing events.
The hosts of the next edition have shown that there will be plenty of home skiers to watch once the Worlds roll into town.
Great Britain have their first world champion?
When Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild skied across the finish line in first in the women’s downhill visually impaired, everyone immediately got their history books out.
It is not known for certain if a British skier has ever won gold at a Para alpine skiing World Championships. Official records are not complete but coaching staff were quite sure that Knight’s gold was a historic first.
Not even Kelly Gallagher – who won Great Britain’s first gold from either a Paralympic or Olympic Winter Games – managed to finish on top of the podium at the worlds.
The next major event for skiers will be the Test Event for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games between 9-18 March.
Live results will be available at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website.