In the past years, the snowboard cross races at major events like the FIS World Championships and Olympics have been mainly dominated by older riders bringing in the most experience. However, most recently, there have also been some young talents trying to break in the phalanx of the 30+ athletes.
One of them is Konstantin Schad, who aims to follow suit newly minted Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel. “He had kicked arses beating the old ones always knowing what he wants and what he is capable of; despite the fact that fate wasn’t always well-disposed,” the 1987-born athlete says.
It’s a statement which definitely displays some parallels regarding the setbacks the Fischbachau resident had to deal with in his career so far. The Bavarian, who is so proud of his roots thus always starting with a little white-blue coloured flag around his upper arm or leg, had to witness how his brother was forced to quit snowboarding due to several injuries and a severe illness.
In addition, the supporter of a non-profit organisation for kids suffering from cancer had to handle some serious injuries, too, which almost cost him his biggest goal of participating in the 2010 Olympic Games. The student of International Management competed with a torn meniscus half of the 2008/2009 season just to make sure not to miss too many races.
In the Olympic winter, Schad, who is part of the German national snowboard team ever since 2004, suffered a back contusion including three damaged vertebras in the World Cup race at Veysonnaz, Switzerland. But the dedicated golfer (handicap 7) fought back claiming his personal ticket in the very last race before Vancouver 2010.
His 33rd rank in the Olympic qualifiers which forced him to take over the passive role as normal viewer of the K.o. heats he loves so much was a tough defeat to deal with. But a few months later, Konstantin was full of good memories: “I will never forget the opening ceremony. It’s special to walk in such a stadium. Back then, I noticed that all the hard work finally pays off.”
And it really did a few season's later when Schad became the second ever German to win a snowboard cross race at the 2012 season's finals at Valmalenco, Italy, thus finishing the season as fourth best rider of the standings.
This result was even more important to him as his father was able to witness his biggest success so far; a few months later, he died due to cancer.
Knowing that he has the skills and will to win and also entering a new winter without any physical set-backs due to injury or surgeries, 'Konsti' is even more than ready for another big punsh.