The 28-year-old from Ticino wins the first descent in Crans-Montana with a ride reminiscent of the years in which she won quite a bit. Lara Gut-Behrami also refutes doubts and some critics.
It was like before, in Lara Gut-Behrami’s first career: she on one side of the fence in the finish area, a bunch of media professionals on the other; she who backs away because the microphones are almost pressed into her face.
Gut-Behrami had once again won a ski race, for the first time in two years and a month, but she didn’t want to see redemption in it. She pretended not to give the impression that this victory was very special for her, as people on the other side of this fence in Crans-Montana saw. But the media and Lara Gut-Behrami have very often viewed things very differently.
«Today everything came together»
Anyone who watched the 28-year-old from Ticino skiing this Friday experienced a flashback, a journey back in time to the years in which Gut-Behrami had won quite a few races and medals – plus once the overall and twice the Super G World Cup , Finally, the many particles put together so well that a victory trip was created. Gut-Behrami was 0.8 seconds faster than Corinne Suter. The second-ranked compatriot extended the lead in the Downhill World Cup to 120 points before the last two races.
“Today everything that we had been working on for a long time, what we had been looking for, came together,” said Gut-Behrami. She suffered a cruciate ligament rupture at the 2017 World Championships in St. Moritz. The injury became a major turning point because the long break also changed the athlete as a private person. Gut-Behrami had won the overall World Cup in 2016, but the struggle for the big crystal ball had hit the substance enormously. At the time, she was like a robot, she said in an interview with the “Tages-Anzeiger”. «So I became to protect myself. But personally it broke me. »
As a human being, Lara Gut found her way back to herself – and she found love for professional footballer Valon Behrami. As an athlete, she had a good comeback winter, but the past season was the worst of her career. At the World Championships in Åre, Gut-Behrami of the NZZ said: “I want to go back to where I feel pressure, where every hundredth is concerned, where I can’t afford to make any mistakes, otherwise it’s not a victory.”
There was no shortage of people wondering how seriously Lara Gut-Behrami still takes skiing, who doubted that she would make it to the top again. Sometimes she reacted defiantly to criticism, but did not let it confuse her. Gut-Behrami went her way as she had always gone her way. This included new dissonances between her, the driver with the private team, and the association.
Gut-Behrami is no longer the outstanding Swiss ski racer from four years ago, the lonely medalist. She is only one of four Swiss Ski athletes in the spotlight. Gut-Behrami’s nimbus suffered, while Wendy Holdener, Michelle Gisin and most recently Corinne Suter earned more and more attention with their performances.
Gut-Behrami is no longer preferred by the association compared to Holdener and Gisin. But before the first speed races it became clear that she felt more disadvantaged than equal. “How many years did I have to pay for everything myself, even though I had already achieved a lot?” She asked. “Was I worth less?”
For Gut-Behrami, it is above all a chance that the team is less dependent than ever on their performance. The results of the colleagues have given her peace during the long search for the old form. Recently, a situation had arisen that Gut-Behrami had not known since she had reached her first World Cup podium as a 16-year-old: the media professionals from the other side of the barrier fence were only marginally interested in them.
It was different this Friday. Gut-Behrami said that sometimes she had been frustrated since the last victory. And sometimes she could see training for life in the negative experiences as an athlete. “I certainly don’t mind if things get a little easier again and I don’t have to fight as much as in the past two years.”
25 months – so much time has never passed between two World Cup victories by Gut-Behrami. Anyone who not only listened to her at the media event on Thursday, but also believed her, could only be halfway surprised that Gut-Behrami had just won the 25th World Cup. “We have made huge strides forward in the past few months, I am slowly feeling more confident in my turns than I have in a long time,” she told the team hotel. And that her physical condition improved for the first time during a racing season.
It was praise for José Luis Alejo Hervas. With the Spaniard, Gut-Behrami has for the first time a personal fitness trainer who accompanies them everywhere. Alejo Hervas is employed by the association. Lara Gut-Behrami is no less worthy of the association. Now she has shown how much she can still afford.