"Old Janka" hopes to be back soon
Carlo Janka rose to stardom when in a single weekend he won all three races in Beaver Creek. After winning the giant slalom World Championship title in 2009, in December of the same year, the Swiss skier won the Birds of Prey super combined, downhill and giant slalom, confirming he would be one of the top contenders at the Vancouver Olympics. That year, he not only won gold in the giant slalom, Janka went on to finish the season as the winner of the Overall title.
Fast forward three years and Janka is nowhere near where he was at that time. Returning to the venue where his dream season kicked off, his stardom somewhat vanished and his goals different than where they were in the past.
“Of course I hope that the "old" Janka will be back soon,” he says. “I am working hard to work my way where I belong but I also realize I need to be patient and not rush things.”
But Janka tries to keep his head in a good place, this summer he tried to get away from skiing and making sure he would be back on the Tour in the best possible state of mind.
“In the off season I always try to gain some distance from the Tour and I think that is the best I can do in order to start again with my batteries fully recharged.”
Janka has had his fair share of health problems over the past couple of years, a hearth surgery and back problems have affected his training and therefore his performance.
“The back feels good at the moment and I hope that it stays that way throughout the season. Sometimes I feel it a little bit, but generally it doesn’t get too bad and is nowhere near the intensity of pain I had to deal with last season.”
Health hasn’t been the only issue for the 26 year old; he has been struggling with adapting to the new skis and finding the material, which would work best for him.
“The result of not finding the ideal equipment resulted in a lack of self confidence and that is never a good way to start the season. I was able to do some additional testing with Atomic just before flying over for the North American part of the tour and am not unhappy with the results. We are still working on some things but I am confident things will get better.”
The Swiss team is going through a difficult time, while on the ladies’ side things are looking better, with Dominique Gisin finally entering the season healthy and some young talents showing promising results, on the men’s side bad news keep coming in. Team superstar and veteran Didier Cuche retired after last year’s finals while Beat Feuz is suffering from a knee infection, which is forcing him to miss the whole season.
Kicking off the speed season with a 51st downhill place and a 40th in the Lake Louise super G, puts Janka in a difficult position, as he seems to not be able to find his way back among the fast guys.
A small step forward could be seen in Janka’s first training run in Beaver Creek, he finished 2.4 seconds off the leader Klaus Kroell.
“I skied with a lot of respect for the course, I am confident I can increase the pace or my runs and let’s see what comes from that.”
Wednesday the men’s races continue with the second training run on the Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek and hopefully Janka can follow up on his predictions that things can only go better from here on.
We wish him all the best!
by Ana Jelusic