Lausanne 2020: Luc Roduit looking to shine on home soil
Luc Roduit, 17, will be one of Switzerland’s main assets at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020. The skier from Verbier in the Canton of Valais is keen to shine in front of his family and friends on the slalom course in Les Diablerets.
Are you an all-round skier or do you have a favourite discipline?
I like all the disciplines, but I prefer the slalom – it’s the one I enjoy the most. I also think it’s the discipline I’m best at. In my most recent FIS [International Ski Federation] race, in Zinal at the end of November, I finished fifth in the combined, and achieved the best time in the slalom leg. It’s also my favourite discipline when I’m watching the World Cup on TV. I really like the giant slalom – it’s something a bit different. The super-G is enjoyable too, every now and again, but I’m less keen on the speed disciplines.
And as it happens, Switzerland is very strong in the slalom at the moment…
Yes, and it’s probably down to Daniel Yule and Ramon Zenhäusern that it’s my favourite discipline. They’re my role models – athletes from my home canton who are both excelling in what they do. You can’t help but look to follow their example! They are a huge source of motivation and inspiration.
You took part in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Sarajevo in February. Tell us about it.
It was my first major international sports event. It was spectacular, and I feel I got loads of experience out of it. So that was satisfying, even though I wasn’t able to perform as well as I’d have liked; but I’ve learnt from my mistakes. It was a magical event: athletes from all different countries were taking part, and there was an amazing sporting and Olympic atmosphere, even though it was taking place in a country with a rather complicated history.
And one year later, here you are ready to compete in the YOG!
I’ve not officially qualified yet. But I think I’ve had a really good start to the season and feel I’ve got every chance of being there. It’ll be incredible if I do qualify – it’ll give me a huge sense of achievement in what I hope will be a long career. I won’t just be at Lausanne 2020 to make up the numbers; if I’m selected, it will be to go there and deliver. And I think I’ll have the best chance of challenging for a medal in the slalom.
Do you know much about your main rivals?
As I mainly compete in Switzerland in my age category, I don’t know too much about my international rivals. After competing in the EYOF, I know that the level is really high, but also that I’m capable of challenging. I won the first two races at the national trials in mid-November at Diavolezza. It was important to get off to a good start so I could let my skiing do the talking!
Are you familiar with the Diablerets resort where the YOG races will be held?
Last year, I was the forerunner on the Diablerets course at the women’s Europe Cup and took part in several U14 and U16 races, so I know the area well. For a start, the landscape is magnificent; the course goes through a forest and it isn’t too difficult or too easy. The super-G course is great as well, with plenty of twists, turns and changes of slope. The slalom course is really varied; it starts out with a medium slope, followed by a small area of flat that sort of goes up again, and then there’s a slope that’s not too steep to finish off. I think it’s an amazing course for these YOG.
Is competing at the YOG on home soil important to you?
It’s cool for friends and family who’ll be able to come, and it’s always better to feel at home. I can’t deny that I would’ve liked to go somewhere else as well; but I’m really happy that it’s taking place in Switzerland so that we can show what we can do and, who knows, maybe influence the thinking on which country will stage the next Olympic Winter Games. The last time was 1948 in St Moritz. That would be amazing!
Are you looking forward to meeting athletes from all over the world?
Yes. It’s really cool to be able to meet other people and learn about other nations and cultures. I can’t wait!
Do you have any career goals?
Like every athlete my age, my dream is to compete in the World Cup and the Olympic Winter Games. That’s a really big goal of mine, and I’m training like mad to make it a reality. At the same time, I’m continuing with my studies and I’m managing to juggle work and competition. It’s going really well and I’ve found the right balance. Skiing is still my biggest passion.
Do you come from a skiing family?
Not at all on my mum’s side: she’s Australian. But my dad’s a skier and a mountain guide. He was the one who got me into skiing. My parents both fully support my sporting ambitions. Performing well at the Lausanne YOG would be a good start!