5 questions to Mélanie Meillard
1) Mélanie, first of all – congratulations on your great performance in Giant Slalom in St-Moritz. In which way did your experience at the Youth Olympic Games last year in Lillehammer prepare you to handle these Ski World Championships in St. Moritz?
The Youth Olympic Games and the Alpine Ski World Championships are two very important events. Last year, I was still relatively inexperienced, and my participation at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer were a great experience in this regard. For the first time, I had to deal with the media attention that surrounds Olympic events and this prepared me very well for the races that I participated in this year, both on the World Cup circuit and at the World Championships in St. Moritz.
2) Gold in Giant Slalom, Silver in Alpine Combined, 4th in Super G: there if no doubt that Lillehammer 2016 was a great success for you. Besides your sporting accomplishments, what do you still remember from your participation at the Youth Olympic Games one year later?
I keep very good souvenirs from my experience in Lillehammer, especially because I was there with my good friend Aline Danioth to represent Switzerland! Together, we obtained very good results and we had a lot of fun getting to know athletes from other nationalities and other sports. We also had the opportunity to attend competitions in other disciplines, like ice hockey, for example. It was a wonderful experience!
3) Apart from skiing, you are currently studying to become a retail store manager. How did the Youth Olympic Games help you to become the person – and not only the athlete – that you want to become?
I had already started to study before going to the Youth Olympic Games. Actually, I only have a few months remaining. It is important for me to get a solid education basis before concentrating exclusively on skiing.
I learnt a lot by participating in an event as big as the Youth Olympic Games. I experienced very intense emotions. To climb on the podium in from of so many fans while listening to the Swiss national anthem was an incredible feeling. This feeling still motivates me to work harder every day to relive this experience in a World Cup or any other major event.
4) What would your hope be for the young skiers who will represent Switzerland at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne in 2020?
I hope that they can enjoy their experience as much as they can, because it is a unique opportunity to participate, especially in our own country. Sporting wise, I wish them to do the best that they can, no matter what their result is. On the personal side, I hope that they can benefit as much as they can from all the opportunities presented to them during the Games, including meeting other athletes from all around the world, who they will hopefully meet again in competitions throughout their career.
5) How well do you know Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud? How do you imagine the Youth Olympic Games there?
Unfortunately, I do not know Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud very well. I don’t go there very often as I don’t have much time between competitions, trainings and studying. Despite that, I expect exciting competitions, incredible achievements from our young Swiss athletes and a very festive atmosphere in Lausanne and everywhere in the Canton!
Photo: “Melanie Meillard, gold medallist in Giant Slalom in Lillehammer 2016, surrounded by silver medallist Katrin Hirtl-Stanggassinger from Germany, and his good friend from the Swiss team, Aline Danioth, bronze medallist”