Marcel Hirscher is the dominant force of men’s alpine skiing and an athlete that an expectant Austrian nation will be looking to for medals at PyeongChang 2018. Here are five things to know about one of the potential superstars of the Olympic Winter Games…
World Cup haul
Hirscher owns more overall World Cup titles than any other man in history, taking his sixth globe last season to overtake Luxembourg’s Marc Giradelli. In World Cup racing, he boasts 45 victories and 107 podiums, and a total of eight other discipline titles. But remarkably the dominant skier of his generation is yet to truly shine on the Olympic stage, his sole Games medal a slalom silver four years ago.
A cloak of invincibility
On his day, he gives the impression of being completely invincible. He had his rivals left scratching their heads on the mountain in March 2015 at the slalom World Cup race in Garmisch, which he won by a staggering 3.28 seconds. He later joked he had watched the run 100 times to see if he could replicate it for future World Cup outings.
He is no stranger to close shaves. In December of that same year, he was competing in another World Cup race in a slalom race in Madonna di Campiglio. A drone filming his run from above suddenly crashed down, landing inches behind him on the slope. He described the incident as “horrible” at the time but later joked on social media about “heavy air traffic in Italy”.
A need for speed
Hirscher is an adrenalin junkie, who needs to get his thirst for both speed and danger when taking downtime in the off-season. His off-piste passions include dirt-bike riding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and tight-rope walking to name just a few of his high-octane adventures when time allows.
He has generally avoided any injuries in such pursuits but broke his ankle during his first training session in pre-season in August. It meant a delayed start to his World Cup campaign and arguably makes his bid to win a first Olympic gold even more challenging.
Noch viel anstrengender als sonst pic.twitter.com/PBfslh1IoM
— Marcel Hirscher (@MarcelHirscher) August 23, 2017