Amanda Salzgeber: “I have to deal with pressure!”
Austria’s Amanda Salzgeber, 17, will be one of the athletes to watch during the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020. She has achieved very promising results in her country and is also the daughter of two former champions: Rainer Salzgeber, silver medallist in the slalom at the World Championships in 1993, and Anita Wachter, Olympic champion in the combined in Calgary in 1988 and winner of the overall World Cup in 1993.
How did you start Alpine skiing? Was there another option?
My first time on skis was when I was one-and-a-half years old. Skiing has been the only sport I have done and the one I have the most fun doing.
When did you realise you could become a champion?
I was always very successful when I was younger. In the past few years I have improved a lot, and I realised that if I keep on training and really want it, lots of things were possible.
What was the role of your ski club in your career?
My ski club has always supported me since my very first races and provided me with a lot of training. I think the coaches there know me very well by now and help me with everything they can.
Is it easy to combine your studies and Alpine skiing?
Being a student and an athlete is really challenging. I go to a school in my region that is only for athletes and I'm pretty much absent during the entire winter season.
What is your sporting ambition?
My goal, of course, is to win as many medals as possible, but it's more important to have fun – the good results will follow.
Your region organises a lot of competitions. Was that a source of inspiration for you?
It's always special to race back home. Being surrounded by the people who have always supported me with my races, like my parents and friends, makes me very proud.
As your parents were great ski champions, did they push you at any time?
They push me every day, and I'm really thankful for everything they do for me, because without them, I wouldn't be who I am today.
Do they help you a lot? Do they give you advice?
My parents are often with me when I'm skiing – my dad more at training, mum more at the races. In winter my dad is away for the World Cup races [on business], but I'm always in contact with him and, just like my mum, he often gives me good advice.
What do the Olympic Games represent for you?
The Olympic Games are a pretty big thing, and just the thought of the Games gives me goosebumps. It's one of my biggest dreams, to participate one day at the Olympics.
Do you know where your mum’s Olympic gold medal is?
Yes, I know where my mum’s Olympic gold medal is, but we'll keep that a secret [smiles].
You took part in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Sarajevo. How would you describe this experience?
The EYOF was a big, exciting experience, which I'm sure I’ll take a lot from. Even though I wasn’t able to showcase my best skiing, it was an awesome experience.
You got a medal in the team event. How do you like the fact that this was a team effort?
Team events are always really special, and it was an incredibly good feeling winning the silver medal with my team. Parallel events are unlike any other events, because everything has to work out really well and you're skiing for your team. In our case, everything came together perfectly.
You take part in all disciplines; how important is it for you to be an all-round skier?
For sure it’s a big challenge to showcase my skills in all disciplines, but it's important for me to stay versatile and race in all disciplines in order to improve technically. It helps me in every area.
Which discipline do you prefer?
I prefer giant slalom, but I love and enjoy racing in the other disciplines as well.
Is there any pressure being the daughter of two former Austrian champions?
My parents always tell me not to put pressure on myself just because they were really good at skiing. But there is always a bit of pressure coming from somewhere. I have to deal with that and learn from it.
What do the Youth Olympic Games represent for you?
Racing against the best girls in the world in my age category would definitely be a big challenge. The Youth Olympic Games are certainly a very cool event and would of course be a very good experience.
Do you know much about your rivals?
Of course, some well-known names come to mind. But until then, I'll give my best and we'll see what happens.