More than a dozen women have managed to achieve ski racing’s most prestigious hat-trick clinching Gold at the Winter Olympics and World Championships as well as the Overall World Cup title. Only a few of them were 25 or younger when they accomplished this feat.
Anna Fenninger became the latest member of this exclusive club as well as one of the few able to capture the big crystal globe a few weeks after becoming Olympic champion. The athlete from south of Salzburg had already shown her impressive talent at a younger age, excelling at the ‘Topolino Trophy’ in Italy and the ‘Whistler Cup’ in Canada’s British Colombia in 2004.
Her list of success as a teenager is pretty impressive with its numerous gold medals at FIS Junior World Championships and her two overall Europa Cup titles when she was 16 and 17 years old. She won a total of fourteen Europa-Cup races.
Less than two years after her World Cup debuts at Levi (FIN), Anna earned her first World Cup podium in January 2009 as she finished second in a Super-G at Cortina d’Ampezzo. A few weeks later, she just missed a medal at the FIS Worlds at Val d’Isère finishing in 4th place.
Anna had to wait January 2011 to earn more podiums in downhill at Zauchensee, then again in Super-G at Cortina d’Ampezzo. At the 2011 FIS World Championships she won the Super-combined.
At the beginning of the following season she celebrated her first World Cup win in giant slalom at Lienz, leading to a series of six podium finishes propelled her to 5th place in the overall World Cup standings in March 2012, leading the Austrian woman.
She moved up to 3rd place the following year marked by strong results in her best disciplines, including her first win in Super-G at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in March 2013. A few weeks earlier she claimed bronze in giant slalom at the FIS Worlds at Schladming.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, she captured gold and silver in the super-G and giant slalom. Later that season, she became the first Austrian since Nicole Hosp in2007 to clinch the big crystal globe.
Fenninger also gained attention with many other activities that allowed her to promote her image as an outgoing very modern woman who takes care of her environment. This helped her to get the 2014 ‘Skieur d’Or AIJS’ – Serge Lang Trophy following a vote of the most established ski journalists on the World Cup tour.
Last year, she campaigned for endangered species in Africa – the cheetahs. She even travelled to Namibia to meet representatives of CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) and take photos with some of the animals.