Niki Hosp: “I would never want to live in a city!”
Bichlbach, Austria – The soon 30-year-old Nicole „Niki“ Hosp is known as a humble and sympathetic all-rounder with World Cup victories in all events except downhill. In the season 2006/07 she beat teammate Marlies Schild in the fight for the overall globe and won gold in GS at the 2007 Worlds in Ǻre (SWE) after an Olympic silver in Torino 2006. After a difficult period, she again medalled on home snow in Schladming 2013 with a bronze in the super combined and was part of the golden Team Austria. In this interview with Skiweltcup.tv Hosp talks about last season, her homeland, new equipment rules, the Austrian Post and looks forward to the Games in Sochi 2014.
Niki, last season including the World Champs in Schladming went really well for you. It was clear that you had again found the joy in skiing. Is that an illusion, or why did you save your best for the races in front of a home crowd?
Niki Hosp: Well, if I recall my races in the beginning of the season, those were not good at all. Then I tried to concentrate on the World Championships and not cramp up, which worked out perfectly.
Have you already begun your preparations for the Games in Sochi or will you still take some time to recover? What does Niki Hosp do in her time off?
Niki Hosp: Altogether I had two weeks off. And now we are fully in the midst of our tough summer training program already.
Your home Tyrol is known for its traditions. Your home community of Bichlbach too has its appeal. How important are for you values such as tradition, or is it difficult for you to relax when everyone knows you and instead you'd rather flee to the anonymity of a major city?
Niki Hosp: I would never want to live in a city! I need nature and peace to relax. And since everyone in Bichlbach knows me since my childhood it is totally normal.
Since your World Cup debut on 18th February 2001 you have collected 11 victories and 51 podium places. Which was your most beautiful win and which one was your most unexpected one?
Niki Hosp: The one I could least expect was my first one. (Editor’s note: She won on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden at the start of the 2002/03 season in a tie with Tina Maze and Andrine Flemmen (NOR), which was the first time in World Cup history where there were three winners). The greatest victory was when my victory in the last race of the season 2006/07 also confirmed my overall World Cup victory (Editor’s Note: on 18th March 2007 in the GS at Lenzerheide).
Niki, your career has been intersected with several serious injuries yet you always made a successful comeback. Which qualities besides being a great fighter and sufficiently ambitious are important for finding the way back?
Niki Hosp: These include patience, listening to your body, and a great deal of optimism. But I have to say that at times it has not been easy in my case either.
The ÖSV Ladies with the recovery of Marlies Schild and young Anna Fenninger along with many veterans and young talents is known for its immense depth. How difficult it is to prove yourself time and again and keep fighting?
Niki Hosp: In my view it is not difficult. I have fun doing what I do. (smiles)
Last season we saw the new equipment rules come in effect after a long discussion. What is your personal opinion on the changes?
Niki Hosp: I don’t believe that the change was bad. Unfortunately the way FIS went about it was all but intelligent. Regardless I am of the opinion that the worst thing for a sport would be not to have any developments and just stay put.
The Austrian Post honored Stephan Eberharter, Hermann Maier, Benjamin Raich, Elisabeth Görgl and you in the past years with nice stamps. Which female do you believe should have joined this group of five and why?
Niki Hosp: As I won the large globe and overall World Cup in the season 2006/07 the Austrian Post decided to honor me with a special stamp. For me this was a great personal honor. My opinion is that each of my colleagues on the ladies side would deserve the same.
Next season will feature the Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi (RUS). Have you already experienced the courses there and what do you think?
Niki Hosp: We had a chance to visit Sochi a year ago for the so-called dress rehearsal. The hosts still have work to do but I have to say that I think those courses suit me quite well.
Interview conducted for skiweltcup.tv by Andreas Raffeiner