Gold not the end game for Markus Salcher

Austrian world champion recognises strength of alpine skiing in Paralympic season 06 Dec 2017
a male Para skier

Salcher goes into PyeongChang 2018 as a double Paralympic champion

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Two-time Paralympic champion Markus Salcher admits defending his titles is not his top priority at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

“The goal for the Games is to reach a medal,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which colour.”

“I don’t think that I will win more medals than in Sochi [2014] [be]cause I’m in a strong group with several athletes who can own the podium.”

Salcher has shown his strength in the men’s super-G and downhill standing, events where he is the current Paralympic and world champion. But rising French talent Arthur Bauchet will provide tough competition in the upcoming season. The 17-year-old won double gold at the Worlds and beat Salcher twice in super-G at the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event in March.

“He [Arthur] was very successful last season and with his age,” Salcher said. “Now he has to show us that it is possible to do it this season again. … He is so fast in this young age.”

Bauchet has a race already under his skis, having won the slalom at the Europa Cup in Landgraaf, Netherlands.

The two will match up for the first time this season beginning Monday (11 December), at the first World Alpine Skiing World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland, which will be streamed live on a dedicated website for this first time.

Amid the rising competition in the men’s events, Salcher admits he needs to work hard mentally as well as physically if he is to reach the Paralympic podium.

“It’s important to manage the course in your mind because in South Korea, there are a lot of bumps that you can’t see at the next gate,” Salcher said.

“I feel good [heading into PyeongChang] cause the preparation is awesome so far,” he added. “We had a lot of super-G training days which are important for me. …The training in the summer was quite good. I had a good cooperation with the Olympic Centre in Klagenfurt which is my home town. Training was hard. We had almost two trainings session per day one day off per week.”

Seven World Cups will take place between now and the Winter Paralympics, where Para alpine skiers can earn qualification and gain valuable experience ahead of PyeongChang 2018.