Mario Matt is one of the outstanding slalom skiers currently in circulation. When he was just 18 years old he won the silver medal at the Junior World Championships at Chamonix in 1998 and it propelled the Austrian onto bigger and better things. Matt made his debut on the World Cup Tour on December 21st 1999 in the slalom at Kranjska Gora where he finished with a very respectable 17th place. Just a month later, on January 23rd 2000, the youngster took his first victory in the legendary Kitzbühel slalom. The season after he cemented his place amongst the leading pack when he took two medals at the World Championships of Sankt Anton - the gold in the slalom and silver in the combined event. He concluded that season with a third place in the slalom standings behind Benny Raich and Heinz Schilchegger.
Kitzbühel was an unlucky venue for him in 2002 when he fell and hurt his shoulder - an injury that kept him out of the Olympic games and saw him stay off the slopes for a long period, stalling his rise to the top.
It took him a further three years to conquer another victory in the World Cup. It came in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in the last race of the season. The World Championships in St. Moritz and Bormio were a real disappointment for the athlete but he bounced back well in the 2007 championships in Are taking the gold in slalom and in the team event with the unbeatable Wunderteam.
Unfortunately he still has to impress on the Olympic stage. In the 2006 Games of Turin he went out of the slalom race and finished only 34th in the combined.
The 2008/09 season proved to be another disappointment for the Austrian who was looking to finally breakthrough and challenge seriously for the slalom globe. Them omens were good in November when he came 3rd in Levi but he then failed to finish his next four races and didn't see the finish line in eight of his 16 races throughout the season. His most impressive performance came right at the end in the last race of the season when he beat everyone in the slalom at Are.
The man often referred to as 'Maggo' has 11 World Cup wins to his name, 10 in slalom and one in the Supercombined, 8 second places and 9 third places. 2007 was his best season to date after finishing in 5th place in the Overall Standings with 744 points, 600 of which came in slalom where he finished second behind the ever present Raich.
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