Sports

Being there is not everything for Kriechmayr

Eight years ago, Vincent Kriechmayr proved that his stubborn head can sometimes be as hard as Mühlviertel granite when, as an up-and-coming speed talent in the ÖSV, he declined the invitation to the team for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The then 22-year-old would rather collect points and racing routine in the European Cup than waste time in Russia as a shaky candidate for a start in the rather unloved combination. Even then, the Olympic motto “Taking part is everything” didn’t fit Kriechmayr’s way of thinking. Nothing has changed to this day.

“When I start at the Olympic Games, I want to fight for medals,” says the double world champion from Gramastetten. He fulfilled this requirement four years ago in Pyeongchang. As the best ÖSV man, he missed bronze in seventh place in the downhill, just as he did in sixth place in Super G by around half a second. His dry conclusion after the Olympic premiere. “I don’t care about the best Austrian, this is about medals. I was quite good, but not good enough.”

During yesterday’s departure from Vienna for Beijing, Kriechmayr probably had some self-doubts in his luggage. After his sensational quarantine comeback victory at the classic in Wengen, there was a setback in Kitzbühel with two 13th places. “My performances aren’t very consistent this year. I’m too flawed, which annoys me because I can do better,” the 30-year-old doesn’t shy away from self-criticism. For him, as for his colleagues, the trip to China is a flight into the unknown. The Olympic downhill run in the national ski center in Xiaohaituo is still uncharted territory. “I’ve seen videos of the route, but I have no idea what to expect there,” says Kriechmayr. After the first training session on Wednesday he will be smarter. He doesn’t feel any particular pressure before his second Winter Games, the hopes of the ski nation Austria don’t rest on his shoulders. “We are a strong team, there are others than me who can pull us out in Beijing.” Understandably, a double world champion like Kriechmayr doesn’t care that his skiing career could remain “unfinished” without an Olympic medal. “I’ve already won a lot, the world won’t end if I don’t win a medal at the Olympics.” When it comes to criticism of the awarding of the games to China, where there are serious concerns about the protection of human rights, Kriechmayr showed his straightforwardness in an interview, which journalists admire but also fear. “I would even fly to North Korea. I can’t help it if the IOC awards major events to such places.”

By the way: The Olympic “refusal” has paid off for the stubborn Mühlviertler 2012. In the first race after the games, he finished fifth in the Kvitfjell Super-G for the first time in the top ten of the World Cup.

Characteristics

Vincent Kriechmayr (30)
Downhill, Super G
Born: October 1, 1991 in Linz
Place of residence: Obertauern, Gramastetten
Marital status: single, girlfriend Michaela Heider
Society: TVN Sparkasse Wels
Hobbies: Soccer (he’s a LASK fan), ski touring, ice hockey
Greatest successes: World Champion Super-G and Downhill in Cortina 2021, ten World Cup victories (4 Downhill/6 Super-G), 25 podium places in the World Cup, Super-G World Cup overall victory 2020/2021
Olympia: second participation; 2018 in Pyeongchang 6th place (Super-G) and 7th place (Downhill); Failure in the combination

Opportunity barometer:
Kriechmayr is one of the inner circle of medal candidates in both disciplines

Source: Nachrichten

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