Way Back When ... with Nicole Hosp
The years have flown by so fast for some veterans on the World Cup that they hardly realize they’re veterans.
FISALPINE.com is running a series with a few ladies racing on the Cup for 10 years or longer, asking them to take a look back on what has changed since they were rookies.
After being riddled by injuries – first breaking her shinbone in Zagreb in 2009, then tearing right knee ligaments in Soelden at the beginning of the 2010 season, Austrian Nicole Hosp surged back into the top 10 – and even onto the podium a couple of times – during her comeback last year and is showing even more signs of consistency and revisited greatness this season, especially after her back-to-back super-combined podiums a couple weekends ago in St. Moritz. One of these included moving from 26th place after the super G portion of the race to third with a red-hot slalom run.
“I feel really good to know I can still be fast,” Hosp said after the big podium weekend in the Swiss Alps. “I’m just glad to know I am fast and can be on top.”
Hosp has quite a history to look back upon, having won the World Cup overall in 2007 and finishing second to Lindsey Vonn in 2008. Her ski career has included 50 World Cup podiums with 11 victories, beginning way back in 2002 at the season opener in Soelden. She’s also earned four world championship medals – including one GS gold in 2007, plus an Olympic silver medal in slalom in 2006.
She had a big cheering section last weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which lies just 20 kilometers from her hometown, Bichlbach, Austria. There she was satisfied with her 12-place finish in the very challenging super G (she opted out of the downhill).
When asked to look back on her career and note how things have changed since her early days, the 28-year-old says the one thing she sees is how the younger racers treat the older, more experienced ones.
“Some years ago, all the young girls were having respect for the older ones,” she says. “I think it’s changing everywhere, in normal life and also here in skiing. Sometime it would be nicer when they have more respect. In the other teams it’s more respect than in the own team. Before, we always had respect, waiting what they are doing and saying, now it’s really different.”
At least Hosp finds solace in her peers. She points out that all the top competitors on the World Cup – Lindsey Vonn, Tina Maze, Maria Hoefl-Riesch – are the same age as her and she feels they share an unspoken understanding.
“It’s like friendship. It’s nice,” she says. “Everybody knows, ‘Wow, she’s making a good job.’ They know what hard work it needs to be so good. That’s what young girls have to learn.”
Another thing the younger girls will have to learn is adapting to the new ski regulations in giant slalom next season. She and her age group have experience on longer skis, but she is curious to see how those who have only known short, shaped skis will adjust.
“For us, it’s not that different. I think it will be really, really interesting for the young girls,” she says.
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