News Home » World » Olympics-Alpine skiing-Goggia delighted with first training run since crash

Around the World

Olympics-Alpine skiing-Goggia delighted with first training run since crash

Randy Mancini 2 Feb 12
Alpine Skiing - Women's Downhill Training
2022 Beijing Olympics - Alpine Skiing - Women's Downhill Training - National Alpine Skiing Centre, Yanqing district, Beijing, China - February 12, 2022. Sofia Goggia of Italy during training. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

February 12, 2022

By Simon Evans

YANQING, China (Reuters) -The huge sigh of relief and broad smile at the finish line said it all.

Just 20 days after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in her left knee in a serious crash, defending women’s Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was back in action, completing the first training run ahead of Tuesday’s downhill at the Beijing Games.

There had been doubt as to whether the Italian, who skipped Friday’s super-G, would be able to recover from the Jan. 23 crash at Cortina d’Ampezzo in time for the Games.

So her delight at getting the training run in was understandable.

“I was just glad I could finish my run and that I could approach it the way I did,” she told reporters at the finish line. “There was no guarantee that I could be here and it is already a success that I am here.

“So I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be as happy as I am today, after my first downhill.”

Goggia, the leading downhiller again on the World Cup circuit this year, described her overall fitness level as “5.5 out of 10” but crucially her knee and leg held up under the first major test since she began rehab work.

“Of course, sometimes I had maybe a little pain somewhere, but I have to deal with this,” she said.

“But for me the Olympic Games are everything, they are the place you want to be to achieve your childhood dream and so there is no place I would rather be than here.

“I don’t care about my condition, this is where I want to be,” she added.

Goggia completed her run in 1:35.02, which was 1.55 behind the fastest time in training set by Switzerland’s Priska Nufer.

Asked about her chances of winning Tuesday’s race, Goggia smiled and said, “We will see …. but slow I am not”.

The Bergamo-born 29-year-old said the belief of her team and support staff had been crucial to her recovery after spending three days on crutches.

“Luckily I was surrounded by people who really thought that I could make it. When you are surrounded by those kind of people, who trust you and you trust them then nothing is so impossible,” she said.

“Sometimes you have to really believe in yourself, even more than anything else.”

Goggia acknowledged that she would inevitably be hampered by a lack of muscle strength in her leg, which is crucial to for her to take her trademark aggressive lines.

“I will give all that I have, with all what I have, I will just keep working and the strength is going to come back, hopefully in three days, but I don’t think so….I am happy to be here and let’s see.”

Goggia’s American rival Mikaela Shiffrin certainly took note of the Italian’s return to the slopes.

“I think she’s probably the toughest person I ever met. And she just skied smart, she skied smooth. She still looked like you know Sofia Goggia,” she said.

“It’s so important, it’s really good to have her here. Even starting the training runs, it looks like her reaction, the finish was like oh my gosh, I can maybe I can do this.”

(Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Peter Rutherford)