Seven years after finishing 2nd in Slalom at the St Moritz FIS Worlds, Switzerland’s Silvan Zurbriggen reached another major podium today at Whistler Creek where he came in 3rd in the combined event after two strong runs down the demanding Dave Murray course.
A solid 7th in the morning in the downhill portion of this Super-combined, only 7/10 behind the leader, the Silvan veteran knew he was battling for a spot on the podium in the slalom leg. Fortunately the Swiss didn’t let himself being too much impressed by the challenge and fought again with great determination.
Another gusty run propelled him into 3rd place and allowed his team to celebrate its first medal in that discipline since the 1992 Games at Albertville.
“This is huge for me, I was aiming for the podium here but there were so many good skiers involved today that I was not too sure,” said the 28-year-old afterwards. “I was very pleased with my downhill run this morning, the course was extremely challenging and it was far from being easy. It definitely was a strong boost for my moral.”
“I again gave my best in the slalom but I didn’t ski as well as I was hoping. It was a tough run but I skied with my guts. I badly wanted that medal after all these difficult years and all my injuries and setbacks. I’m proud of myself being able to deliver a medal with all that pressure on my shoulders.”
“It’s a great reward. I’m more than delighted now. It will help me be very motivated again at the end of next week for the slalom. This is a nice slope for a world class slalom.”
A powerful and talented slalom specialist in the early part of his career, Zurbriggen choose to become an all-rounder afterwards yet he struggled finding his pace for while. Three years ago he suffered a career-threatening knee injury after a huge crash at Val Gardena and he had to work very hard to get back on the tour.
Las winter he finally celebrated his first World Cup win as he clinched the ‘Classical’ Hahnenkamm combined at Kitzbühel and finished 2nd in the combined World Cup standings behind his teammate Carlo Janka. He finished the Overall World Cup standings in 19th position.
Last summer, he opted to train more slalom and skip the speed events to focus on the gate event. This strategy helped him to nail two encouraging podium finishes in slalom at Alta Badia and Schladming and also two in combined.
And there is still more to go for here this week.
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