On the road to Sochi: Isabella Laböck

09 January 2014 07:51
2013 FIS Snowboard World Champion Isabella Laböck
2013 FIS Snowboard World Champion Isabella Laböck -
Oliver Kraus

With the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (RUS) around the corner, the world’s best athletes are in crunch mode trying to qualify for the highlight of the winter. One such athlete is reigning World Champion in parallel giant slalom Isabella Laböck (GER) who has so far only secured half of the national criteria. In order to make the German Olympic team, the 27-year-old needs another top-16 result which she hopes to clinch at Austria’s Bad Gastein next weekend.

FIS talked to Isabella about her season and goals.

You haven't lived up to your expectations yet this winter. What went wrong at the first two races in Carezza (ITA) in mid-December?

I knew that a new season is always different. This time, I didn't have a good start probably the worst I’ve ever had going into a new season. Maybe it was because of fewer opportunities we have this year to qualify for Sochi. We only have five races where we can make the cut. I wasn't riding with ease like I normally do.

Did you put yourself under too much pressure coming out of the best season you have ever had with a World Championship title under your belt?

No. That had nothing to do with it. The title stands for itself.

There was just something wrong with the first races. You want to make the Olympic criteria, so you don't want to make any mistakes. But racing with the handbrake on doesn't lead to any good either.

You’ll get another chance in Bad Gastein with two races this weekend. What is your plan there?

I'm basically not aiming to win or to get a top-three result. I want to make it to the finals and thus earn my Olympic ticket. Once that's done, we'll see what comes next. The sooner I get this top-16 result, the better. I want to do more contest runs than at the first two events in order to get in racing mode again.

You know Bad Gastein from previous years. How do you like it?

I really like the slope. I have been racing there for many years. We (the German team) were on-site last week to train there too and the slope looked good.

But now the weather changed a bit...

That's right. The whole weather situation is weird given that we are entering an Olympic winter. But I'm glad that Bad Gastein was able to replace the cancelled Jauerling event. We have to deal with what we get.