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Recent FIS News
Below you will find a listing of recent FIS News
Innsbruck 2012 Athlete Role Model: Marco Büchel (LIE)
FIS is pleased to announce Marco Büchel as the official FIS Athlete Role Model (ARM) for Alpine Skiing for the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games at Innsbruck from 13th-22nd January 2012. Participating in each of the six Olympic Winter Games since Albertville 1992, Marco Büchel is the most experienced FIS ARM. Winning a silver medal in giant slalom in Vail/Beaver Creek in 1999 at the FIS World Ski Championships is one of his greatest career highlights. A total of 18 FIS World Cup podiums are also on Marco's resume, including the final one in Wengen in 2010 with a third place in the Lauberhorn downhill.
Although Marco decided to retire as an active athlete after the 2009/10 season, he is still very active on the ski circuit. A member of the Alpine Technical Equipment Working Group, he continues to contribute to the future development of his discipline. He also works as expert and co-commentator for the German TV station ZDF. Additionally he is moderator for the Red Bull X-Fighters. The positive and outgoing Liechtenstein native likes to be in front of the camera and credits his role as top athlete for developing the skill to handle the media. "At a certain point I realized that media is my friend. My strength is definitely talking, and by always saying what I wanted and how I felt to the media, they saw me as an authentic and honest athlete and we cooperated better." For many athletes at the YOG, handling and meeting the media will be a first time experience. Büchel's advice to them is very simple: "Don't try to play a role. Say what's on your mind and be yourself. That way the media will like you, and you will like them".
Büchel started skiing as a 3-year-old: "Back home in Liechtenstein it's normal to put babies on skis." Trying out several sports, and joining pretty much all sports clubs available, he soon realized he had the most fun in the ski club. "With big stars such as Hanni and Andi Wenzel, who won several medals, I had a huge inspiration."
Büchel competed in his first Games in 1992 at the age of 20, an experience of a life-time. Thinking of the 15-year-olds competing in the YOG, their first big event, Büchel tries to picture how the athletes will act. "I'm sure it will be a great experience for them. In the beginning they will probably walk around with their eyes and jaws wide open and just take it all in. It will be the first time for them to meet racers from all over the world, which is something they really should enjoy. Competing in the YOG means more than just the medals. They should do their best to compete and aim for the medals, but still learn as much as possible and take the huge experience with them."
Despite being a TV commentator and ex-World Cup alpine skier who is a "star" for many, he is a very modest Athlete Role Model. "If they recognize me and want some insight from me I will for sure give it to them. I will not approach any of the athletes and tell them how to do things. They are great skiers that I'll be working with and I am sure they know what they are doing."
Büchel is used to working with kids as he also is an Ambassador for Right To Play. "Working with the kids from Right to Play compared to the YOG will be completely different. I am very keen on watching these young guys compete, listen to them and just observe them a bit. Youth these days really know what they want, and my role will focus more on guidance and tips if they want any. If an athlete is devastated I can help him by talking to him and sharing my experience." One of the things Büchel is looking most forward to is to see the kids skiing. "I haven't seen any young guys ski for a very long time, and I am very interested in how they ski. If they do things differently than what we do, and how they handle their equipment."
Although Büchel represents one of the smallest countries in the world, for him the size of the country doesn't mean anything when it comes to winning medals and representing your country. "Medals are a beautiful experience no matter who you are or where you're from," he says. "The value for the people at home might be bigger if you win for a small country, but to me the size of the country doesn't matter."
Competing for almost 20 years, Büchel has several great memories. Surprisingly, the biggest ones are not from winning, but rather from losing. "My time as a skier has truly been amazing and I will always look back on it as a great time of my life. Friendships I have established, travels, and the people involved will surely always be part of my life. Some of the greatest memories I have however are from the times I lost. I learned a lot more from these moments, and it makes you a better athlete. If you win, you'll celebrate with a dance and everything is perfect. If you lose you want to get revenge and compete better the next time. I hope the athletes at YOG will appreciate their moments, even if it is victory or failure."
Marco Büchel wishes everyone a Happy New Year, and looks forward to seeing everyone in January. He will be following the Alpine Skiing competitions in Innsbruck at the YOG from 15-18th January 2012.
Contributed by Sofie Torlei Olsen
(Photo Agence Zoom)