Alcott battles her heart and the conditions in Schladming

It has been a long road back from Lake Louise in 2010 for Chemmy Alcott but as she left the start hut at 3.58pm for her chance to attack the 2013 Schladming World Championship Super G, this was her chance to put some of the demons to rest. By the first split she was just 0.05 seconds off the lead. The split may have only been 12 seconds into the course but it was the first marker and many other racers were slower. Chemmy came through the finish and after making her way past the TV and radio reporters explained that “It was a tough fight, I did some good stuff but my heart failed me half way down.”

Alcott has been around the World Cup and World Championship scene for long enough to know how bad the courses can get. This was a new slope in 2012 for the World Cup Finals. Racers want to be challenged yet Alcott described it as: “That was a brutal super G and with all the waiting around, it was tough. I really charged the top and with all the waiting around, I knew it was going to be tough on my leg. That was tough watching it and knowing it was going to be like that.”

Having inspected early in the morning, the arrival of clouds meant that the race was delayed 13 times before the 2.30pm start was confirmed. The delays affect some yet for others, their experience tells. Martin Leach is the British TD who is in the start hut for the speed events and he described Alcott’s preparations in the start hut as spot on. She knew what she was there for and how she was going to do it. Her coaches and support crew in the start let her get on with it but were there in the background. “It was really brutal up there. I went into the start hut and saw it was 3.58pm, I said to myself that normally this is my siesta time! I am proud of myself for the dig I gave it. I could have let it run a lot more at the bottom if I had had that power. It is nice to know that in a Championship race, I was just 2.7 out. It is getting there, it is getting there.”

Ever the determined athlete, Alcott knew that the top had gone well: “I went out of the start hut and I really charged. If the course had been a little shorter, it might have suited me more but that is ski racing, that is championship racing.” The result at the top was impressive yet she soon started losing time.

Asked if the weather had affected her, Alcott responded: “I have been a ski racer for long enough to know that there are opportunities to be taken for everyone. When I came in there was fog but for the racer after me I saw that the fog had lifted. It was coming in and out like a yoyo. You had to just take your chance. I was there at the top split, I would like a bit of luck one day!”

With many of the top racers including Fenninger, Weireither and Hronek missing a blind gate near the finish, what did Alcott feel was the cause for this? “I think if we had raced first thing this morning I do not think that racers would have had an issue with that. It was probably the focus on the top racers, it was hard having the expectation and pressure on them. It was a tricky course set and it would have been nicer to have had a hill ski yesterday. We were all virgins on that piste accept the girls who had raced in the World Cup Finals last season. You could see that: there is a massive traverse. It really tried to pull you down – this was Julia’s nemesis as without that she would have won.”

And what does she feel for the rest of the World Championships? I am excited for the downhill. I will get confidence from the training runs, will not do all so I can rest my leg. I have not skied for two weeks as I went home to rest leg and then did no training after break. Warm up today was powder! This was my first run since Cortina so I gotta be pretty proud of that.”

And what does Chemmy feel for the rest of the season? “This season has been a little eye opener. Things have come easier than I expected. I am really proud of my attitude today. My attitude has always been there, the tough thing has been relaying that to the leg where the nerve system is not working as efficiently. I am skiing with a massive impediment to all these girls and it makes me proud I am still doing it.”

Chemmy Did not see Vonn’s crash. Her coach came up and told her the delay was due to accident not due to conditions. “You can never write Lindsey off. She might have gone down today but don’t write her off. It will be really sad if she is injured as she is the one to beat. Tina Maze wants to be a winner when she beats Lindsey. Ski racing needs her!”