Q&A Beat Feuz
After his injury of the Achilles tendon, no-one had Beat Feuz on the short list this sesaon, but ever since the speed specialist returned to the snow in Wengen, he performed so well that he took fifth place in the downhill. FIS sat down with Feuz to talk about his comeback.
You’ve had a tough run of injuries (achilles, bone bruise, torn meniscus and other knee injuries) and struggled to sustain the form you had in 2012. How are you feeling physically?
So far, I’m feeling quite good. My achilles doesn’t hurt anymore, but my knee is still a weak point. I learned how to handle the pain in the past years, so I’ll be ok.
In Wengen, you started without a single training day on downhill skis. Why was it so important for you to start there? Was the home crowd an additional motivation for you?
From the very beginning, it was my goal to comeback in Wengen. But to be honest, I thought I would have more than enough time for good preparation, but then nothing went according to plan. I trained only in Super-G and had no idea if my Achilles could withstand the physical strain of a downhill. Luckily, everything went fine and I started in Wengen. I wasn’t afraid to crash, but I had huge respect for the course.
Looking back, we can say that it was a very successful comeback. After Wengen, you claimed podium spots in Kitzbuehel and Garmisch-Partenkirchen and ended with two World Cup wins. What was the secret to success?
It’s unbelievable that my comeback was so successful. In Wengen, I felt that it was possible to finish between 10th and 15th place, but I couldn’t imagine that I would score only Top 5s from then on. I still don’t quite understand it, but as long as it works, it’s ok for me :)
There are a lot of similarities between you and Aksel Lund Svindal. You both came back from the same injury, raced only half the season and ended in the Top 5 of the downhill standings. What other parallels do you see? Did it help you to see him win races at the beginning of the season?
It’s very impressive that Aksel won a race right after his injury. With the World Championships in Vail, he had a goal in the middle of last season and then came back this season in top shape. We had the same injury and had the same surgeon, so it helped me a lot to watch him. I knew when to do which steps in my rehabilitation.
Your two season wins came in St.Moritz, it’s a very good sign for the upcoming World Championships. Is this your main goal for next season?
The course really suits me and I really like St. Moritz. For sure, the World Championships in my home country are the main goal next season, but the Classics like Wengen and Kitzbuehel are also on the top of my priority list. The most important for me, is that my body is in a good shape, so I can go through the winter without injuries and be ready to bring it on at every race.
We hope that the summer preparation is going well for you this year. When are you getting back on skis?
We are staying in Europe this year and we will mostly train in Saas-Fee and Zermatt. I’ll be back on the snow for the first time mid-August.
Alpine Combined was one of your strong disciplines in 2012, when you were 25 points behind Marcel Hirscher in the Overall ranking, and you are a double Junior World Championship medalist in slalom. Are you going to start in this discipline again?
I’m not excluding a start in the Alpine Combined, but also next season, my focus will be on Super-G and Downhill. In the combined, especially the slalom, the pressure on my knee is huge and I’m not willing to take that risk, as it’s hard to say if it will hold on or not.