Lanzinger wins first world title just five years after losing leg in ski accident
Monday, 25 February 2013
February 25 - Austria's Matthias Lanzinger made a remarkable comeback after withdrawing from yesterday's slalom due to illness to take gold in the men's standing class event in the super-combined on day four of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, just five years after losing his leg in a ski accident.
The Salzburg-born 32-year-old lost his leg following a horrific crash at the International Ski Federation (FIS) 2008 World Cup in Kvitfjell, Norway, in which he broke his leg in two places, and after circulation could not be stabilised, doctors were forced to amputate his left leg below the knee.
But just two years after making his Para-alpine skiing debut, Lanzinger took his first world title today, adding to the silver and bronze he has already won at this year's event.
"For me, gold today is unbelievable," said an emotional Lanzinger after winning the men's standing event.
"I've been sick for three days now, but I woke up today and I said to myself I had to race.
"For me to win gold is more than a dream come true.
"I've been training now for two years and everything I do is for this sport.
"I know it's very hard and very tough to compete at this level.
"I've had to train every day summer and winter and I've had to do a lot of training to compete."
Lanzinger fought off competition from promising 15-year-old Alexey Bugaev of Russia, who took his first international medal after finishing in second place, and France's Cedric Amafroi-Broisat, who claimed bronze.
Elsewhere, French teenager Marie Bochet stayed on course to complete a clean sweep as she took her fourth gold medal from four events, winning in the women's standing class super-combined after storming back from a deficit of over one second following the giant slalom to once again defeat her rival, Germany's Andrea Rothfuss, who had to settle for her third silver of the championships.
"I am very, very happy," said the 19-year-old Bochet.
"It was a difficult day for me because I'm a little tired and didn't do too well in the first run.
"When you are second you always have the goal of going faster and my second run in the slalom was my best ski.
"In Sestriere at the last World Championships I won gold in the giant slalom so hopefully I can now win five from five events."
Claudia Loesch of Austria added to the gold she won in last Thursday's (February 21) super-G by bagging another world title in the women's sitting in a time of 2:04.29, beating Canada's Kimberly Joines by over three seconds into silver, as bronze went to Germany's 2011 super-combined world champion Anna Schaffelhuber.
"It's my second gold and it's particularly great as I did not expect it," Loesch said.
"After the super-G the best I thought I could get was second so now I'm more than happy."
"It is a surprise result but I had a really good slalom run."
Spanish home favourite Jon Santacana and guide Miguel Galindo Garces were unfortunate again as they fell for the second day in succession, allowing Canada's Chris Williamson, with guide Robin Femy, to add a gold medal to the silver and bronze they'd already accumulated at La Molina in the men's visually impaired super-combined.
Miroslav Haraus and guide Maria Zatovicova won silver, finishing just under two seconds behind the gold medal-winning Canadians, as yesterday's slalom champion Ivan Frantsev of Russia took bronze.
In the day's final event, the men's sitting super-combined, Japan's Taiki Morii won his second gold at La Molina, defeating teammate Takeshi Suzuki into silver, as Austria's Philip Bonadimann won bronze.
With two days remaining of the World Championships, France leads the medals table, with four golds, all won by Marie Bochet, as well as two silver medals and two bronzes.
January 2013: Former top able-bodied skier set to be Paralympic gold medal threat for Sochi 2014
October 2011: Lanzinger hopes for Paralympic glory after losing lower leg