Athletes of the Week: Philipp Orter (AUT) & David Welde (GER)
After the Junior World Championships in the past week in Val di Fiemme, how could it be any different: Triple gold medallist Philipp Orter is our Athlete of the Week… but looking at the course of the three competitions, the honours have to be split with another outstanding athlete: Germany's David Welde.
In the three races of Fiemme, Orter and Welde were always in the thick of the fight when it came to the medal decisions. On the first day, Orter and Finnish World Cup athlete Ilkka Herola fought for the gold medal while Welde wrenched a third position from Russia's Evgeniy Klimov who almost achieved the sensational: winning two bronze medals in two different disciplines at the same Championships.
Race two saw Orter and Welde going for the gold in a finish line sprint which couldn't have been more exciting and which was decided in Orter's favour by one boot-length only. In the final Team Event, Welde unluckily fell over his own pole in the last lap and wasn't able to close the small gap until the finish line.
With eight World Cup starts, Philipp Orter has performed on the big stage already, giving his debut at Val di Fiemme in 2012 but never has the resident of Afritz, Carinthia shone brighter than at his triple triumph in Italy this year, copying Manuel Faißt's complete medal sweep of last year's Junior World Championships in Liberec.
Orter was unbeatable in Val di Fiemme because he skied tactically smart races and had the power for irresistible attacks on the last uphill of the course. "I just thought, let's wait until the last uphill and then we will see who the strongest is. There I tried to break away and there I did it. In the team event I knew that the Germans wanted let me do the leading work and attack in the end, so I went a little bit slower, too, and waited until the end with my attack. This worked out perfectly", a overjoyed Triple World Champion explained after the final race.
After his silver medal in Liberec in the last winter, David Welde already held a personal start right to the World Cup in the last season and will continue to be a regular for the upcoming World Cup stops now. With 10 starts in the World Cup, Welde has quite some experience to show for already but still was enthusiastic about returning to the Junior World Championships and be successful again: "On the whole I am really happy with the two Individual competitions. It's a pity that I was so close to the gold at the end of the 5 km-race but I am still happy with the second place. I am very proud. My season did not go well for me so far, it was really difficult. This is why I am even more happy about my podiums", the 19-year-old concluded.
After a week of thrilling competitions in Val di Fiemme, Nordic Combined certainly does not have to be worried about the quality of future athletes. And Athletes of the Week Welde and Orter have all they need to be a big part of this bright future.