Delia Durrer: “I have a lot of ambition!”
The skier from Oberdorf (Nidwald) will be one of the Swiss team’s main assets in Alpine skiing at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020. Inspired by her idol Mikaela Shiffrin, Durrer wants to shine in the giant slalom on the slopes of Les Diablerets.
How did you start Alpine skiing?
I started at two years old in Engelberg with my dad. I liked it right from the start. I also practised other sports like gymnastics, tennis and ballet. But as the years went by I discovered that skiing was my favourite sport and that it was something I wanted to do for a very long time.
And now you’re in a programme where you can share your time between skiing and your studies?
Yes, I’m in a sports school in Engelberg. My goal is to get my “Matura” diploma in two-and-a-half years. It’s not always easy but sports school is the best way to combine sport and studies.
What do the Youth Olympic Games represent for you?
It means a lot for me to represent Switzerland, my country. It could be the second time for me. It’s special because they are taking place in my home country, which is great because it means my parents will be able to come. And there are athletes from all over the world. It’s really cool.
What is your experience in international competition?
I don’t have too much. My only big experience was the Whistler Cup in Canada two years ago. It’s a very good memory because I won the super-G and I finished second in the giant slalom. It was on the slopes where the 2010 Olympic Winter Games took place. I’ve also qualified for some international competitions in Switzerland.
What are your sporting ambitions?
I have a lot of ambition. My general thinking is to go step by step. For the future, I want to go to the World Cup and be successful there. But I think there’s a long way to go to get there. I work every day to reach this goal.
What are your skiing specialities? What is your favourite discipline?
I prefer the giant slalom, of course. It’s the discipline in which I’ve got the best results so far. But I think for the future I will be more of a giant slalom/speed racer than a technical specialist with the slalom. I like the slalom but I’m not so good at it.
At your age it’s not easy to practise and compete in speed events…
Yes, I think speed is a question of experience. You need to learn how to move with speed. We don’t have many days in a year when we can do speed training. I like the feeling of speed. You can do a lot on the course with your own feeling. You get a sense of the course and you go with your instinct. It’s something that I like.
Can you tell us about some of your rivals in your age category?
Yes. In Switzerland, there is Delphine Darbellay, who was born in 2002 like me, and Aline Hoepli and Lara Baumann, who are one year older. Together we are a team and we push ourselves. In other countries you have Amanda Salzgeber from Austria and Marion Chevrier and Caitlin McFarlane from France.
Do you have any memories of the Olympic Games?
Yes, in the Olympic Summer Games, I’m really interested in gymnastics. I’m really impressed by Simone Biles. It’s crazy what she has already achieved. I really look up to her.
And what about in Alpine skiing?
Mikaela Shiffrin is really incredible. She can win in all disciplines. Her skiing technique is really cool to watch. She always seems to be skiing just for fun, without pressure. And it’s the same at the Olympic Winter Games. She’s my biggest idol, for sure.
And you play the piano like she does?
Yes. I’ve been playing piano for six years now. For me it’s good to have that balance with skiing when I come home. It’s good to have something else in my mind. It’s funny that Mikaela plays the piano as well.
Can you describe the role of your parents in your career?
My parents are important in my sporting and personal life. My mum is also sometimes a mind coach for me. I can speak to her about everything. And they also come to my races with me a lot. They are more in the background but they support me a lot. My dad is more silent but he always gives me strength. He knows what to say at the right moment. My dad was also a skier, but not professional. My mum did athletics (track and field) and she learned to ski with my sister and me.
What do you expect from these Youth Olympic Games?
I expect a really cool atmosphere because it’s in Switzerland and we expect a lot of spectators. I also hope that we can sleep in the Lausanne Youth Olympic Village. I think that it will be a big experience in my career. Whatever the results, I hope I can perform to my best, which will be a great feeling.