“I just want to achieve my best performance and want to be happy with my skiing.”
Germany’s five-time Paralympic champion Anna Schaffelhuber is maintaining her characteristic air of calm as the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games edge closer.
As one of her country’s most successful alpine skiers, Schaffelhuber produced a clean sweep at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and is also a multiple world champion.
With a quad of wins in slalom and giant slalom from World Cups in St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Kuhtai, Austria, this season, the German remains one of the athletes to beat in the women’s sitting.
She will try to defend her giant slalom and super-G world titles from 22 January, and also challenge Austria’s Claudia Loesch who claimed the slalom, super combined and downhill golds at the last World Championships in 2015.
Schaffelhuber’s goal is to improve as an individual as well as her skiing, in particular focusing on achievements from training and how these translate into race day.
“I’m skiing well in races, however there’s still a big difference to training. And of course, my big aim for the World Championship in Tarvisio, Italy, is winning the gold,” she said.
Looking forward to the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event in March, Schaffelhuber appreciates the importance as an athlete to test the slopes, courses and know where to go. This will make the challenge of retaining her Paralympic titles easier.
As the reigning Paralympic champion in all five disciplines, her hope is to win gold once again: “I just want to achieve my best performance and want to be happy with my skiing.”
Schaffelhuber is hugely inspired and motivated to push herself, knowing that Sochi was not the limit of what she is capable of.
“I can still be better, and that’s what I want to show in South Korea next year,” she said. “I had a lot of pressure when I competed in Sochi 2014 because of the results before, but I’m sure in PyeongChang it will be even more, it will be huge! But all in all I want to be in this position and it will be a great challenge to deal with this situation.”
During the 2015-16 season, Schaffelhuber took time out to focus on her studies and away from the slopes. The busy schedule of competition and media events after Sochi meant it was important for her to get some distance away from skiing and get a better balance of studying, life and training.
This has worked out well, allowing her to come back stronger, to ski faster, and be ready to produce the results she has already achieved this season.
The ability to calculate the risk and difficulties of the slope are driving Schaffelhuber’s ambitions into 2017 and beyond. She is proving once again that she is in strong form and ready for more podium finishes.
The Tarvisio 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, taking place between 22-31 January, will feature 130 of the world’s best skiers from 25 countries.
All races will be livestreamed and live results will be available at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website