Manfred and Manuela Moelgg, the skiing siblings from South Tyrol

06 November 2012 09:19
Moelleg M&M
Moelleg M&M -

San Vigilio – Who doesn’t know who Manfred and Manuela Moelgg are in the small town of San Vigilio? The brother and sister from Italy have become well established names at the Giant Slalom and Slalom events on the World Cup. While Manfred kicked off the season with an excellent second place behind the flying Ted Ligety in Soelden, a history back problems hampered the start of the season for his younger sister, Manuela. But the she is willing to be back by Levi (FIN) and claim back her place on the Circuit. Two things unite the siblings: modesty and his their statement that the World Championships in Schladming are still far away.

Manuela, is it your 16 months older brother’s “fault” you became a successful skiracer?
Manuela: We were always together, from a very young age and that has something to do with the fact that we now do the same. Currently, he has to pull me just a little. He has achieved an excellent second place in Soelden, so I motivating myself to imitate him.

Manfred, as a "big brother" were you more than just a model for Manuela?
Manfred: Manuela is also a role model for me, we grew up skiing together. It was just a game before it has then become our profession. We have always pushed and motivated each other.

Who was Manuela Moelgg’s youth role model? The Azzurri have always been a successful team, did you look up to some South Tyrolean athletes or maybe world stars such as Alberto Tomba or Deborah Compagnoni?
Manuela: It’s safe to say that the best athletes from our youth were from Italy. But we, I mean Manfred and I have always just looked at us. We went our way constantly. Certainly, Tomba scored with his style and his character, it caused a sensation and brought him great success. He is still a star to this day, but we stayed true to ourselves and tried not to get mislead.

A question for both: is there a reason why "speed events" are somewhat a taboo? You both seem to prefer technical disciplines then gliding?
Manfred: We grew up with the technical disciplines. Personally, I've tried skiing Super-G and Downhill, but my love is clearly Giant Slalom and Slalom.
Manuela: In my youth, I also tried skiing Downhill and Super-G, but due to back pains I had to focus more on the technical disciplines. I fell a few times while doing some speed events and got some injuries out of it. In Giant Slalom and Slalom, I'm simply much better. I think it is better to achieve good results in two disciplines than start them all, be able to consider yourself an all-rounder but actually be only a fellow-traveler. In my opinion there are very few athletes who can succeed in all five disciplines.

Manuela, you parade disciplines Slalom and Giant Slalom are very hard to succeed in without mental strength. Why is it still so difficult to constantly ski two good runs?
Manuela: You have to always be highly concentrated, be fully in it mentally. In the course, when gates are narrow one small mistake and quickly and your race could be over. Also, you always need to keep your concentration for the second round, so you can keep the result obtained in the first run, or even improve it. You must be able to hold on to this concentration throughout the day, especially since there is quite a bit of time between the two runs.

Manfred, what do you do in the summer; tell us about your summer workouts?
Manfred: I'm generally a sporty type. So, I spend a good amount of time playing Golf. An interesting sport where you have to be very focused. But I'm also happy to hit the road on my bike. I like to ride my bike in the beautiful mountains around Val Badia.

Manuela, how is your back doing?
Manuela: Thank you for asking, it’s a little better. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to train the way I wanted this summer. Nevertheless, I hope to be at the start in Levi. I see the Lapland race as an ideal opportunity to train at race level. Skiing well in the race would be good. If not, it's not bad. My real goal is Aspen. Since we have a ten day ski training in Aspen and I have always done well there – I have good memories from that World Cup, because I achieved my first podium there. 

Manfred, there is a sport that you would have practiced if you had not become a ski racer?
Manfred: I still like to chace a ball around so maybe I would have become a footballer. I've played almost all the positions and I feel most comfortable in the role of playmaker. An ironic side note: I could run from the attacker’s position into the opponent's defense and then go round in the usual carving technique before I shoot ... and of course, kick the ball into the net!

Manuela, what about you?
Manuela: I'm very athletic, I like riding my bike. In recent years, I've always started the Maratona delle Dolomiti. In addition, if I have the free time, I love to swim and I wander in the mountains. The more sport I can do, the better it is for me.

In the forthcoming 2012/13 season the World Alpine Ski Championships in Schladming are on the program. What goals did you set for this big event?
Manfred: My season started more than very good with the second place Sölden.  Think about every race, I try not to think about Schladming as a different thing. The goal is to try and be always consistently good, in every race. Even when I'm at home on the Planai slope I only focus on the slope my coach has prepared me.

Manuela: I was struggling with my back, but I want to slowly start moving forward again. I think from race to race. I want to get back to feeling confident while skiing. Schladming is certainly my goal, but it is currently very far away.

A life for the siblings Mölgg without skiing is like ...
Manuela: It would certainly be a little emptier. But there will also come a time where the skiing will no longer be part of my life. I travelled a lot and I'll be happy looking back and thinking of those times. But for the moment it I want to get the most out of it.

Manfred: I currently cannot imagine a life without skiing.

Courtesy of Andreas Raffeiner for