Jelusic: "Ready for my 6th season in slalom top 15"
It’s the bib draw for the ladies‘ season opening slalom at Levi. Ana Jelusic, 23, is excited and scared at the same time. “You know, I just figured it is my 6th season I am in the top 15 in slalom. I really cannot wait.”
“I’ve had a good summer but now it’s time to start racing again. It’s always a strange feeling to be racing again. And this time, I have a lot of new things: new ski brand, new clothes brand, back to being a one person ladies team.”
After 8-9 years on Atomic, the Croatian Jelusic switched to Elan for the current season. “I did a lot of testing in May and feel very comfortable with the skis now. Elan is a much smaller company, and I like the more personal touch. And a change always helps to make things more interesting,” she says. “I really want to get back to the first group, to the top 7 again. That’s definitely my main goal for the season overall. Once you’re in that group, you’re just so much more competitive and confident. The rest will then come almost by itself.”
So, it’s Ana, the slalom skier for good?
“Yes, you know, I used to beat myself up and push myself over the top about getting better in GS. But now, I’ve made peace with myself. I will keep doing GS just to keep things more varied. But I will no longer be pissed if I do not do well in it. If I get a few good runs here and there, maybe make the top 30 every so often. That’ll be enough for me in GS.”
And, how’s your asthma doing?
“I feel it’s under control. I do have to take medication all winter long, from October to April. In the summer, I can be without if I do not push it too much or train when I’m sick. But in the winter, I need the medication to avoid bad attacks because those really drain me of energy and then I lose my sleep and need even more recovery time.”
How do you make sure that you do not overdo it with skiing?
“Most of the year I am really serious about skiing. But in the summer, I always take some time to study and do some other things. I will be finished with my Bachelor's degree next year, for example. I’ve stuck to my schedule for the last three years. And I did some fun things like some photo shootings this summer. It’s nice to have professionals around you to pamper you. It’s fun and different. And I got some nice photos to show my kids in 20 years or so!”
The season’s first race is just hours away. “I find it always nice to come here to Levi. Some people think it’s in the middle of nowhere. But I think the people here are really committed to the event here. It’s also different from all other venues we go to. And the slope, it has a bit of everything and what they always have here is just perfect slope preparation. Of course it’d be even better without the flat part for me but I think I have improved my flat slalom this year.”
What’s your goal for tomorrow?
“I would be more than thrilled with a top 7 finish. Just to prove myself I can do it.”
Ana Jelusic will start with the bib#8 for the Levi slalom opening.