Like a phoenix from the ashes, Johannes Strolz emerged from the slalom in Adelboden when he clinched his first World Cup victory at the age of 29. A few weeks later, he added another chapter to his fairytale story at the Beijing Winter Olympics. First, the ÖSV runner grabs gold in the combination – 34 years after his father Hubert Strolz, who triumphed in the same discipline in Caglary in 1988.
In the slalom he was able to top it again and secure the silver medal: “I just concentrated on my things. I know that I have great material. I’ve already won gold, so I knew what I was doing, it didn’t matter, I’d go away as the winner. I was surprisingly unnerved (note: before the second round. I think I’m really enjoying skiing at the moment: yes dad, now we’re tied at the Olympics in terms of medals.”
His father Hubert also reacted to Johannes’ success: “We are all very grateful that Johannes succeeded. That he made it so cool today, that’s just nice. That’s an incredible story. I’m so happy for him because he’s an athlete with body and soul. I can only tip my hat.”
The history of Johannes Strolz is well known. However, this cannot be stressed enough. In the spring of 2021 he was not even in the ÖSV squad. He organized his training himself and also prepared the skis himself (which he still does today). Now Johannes Strolz – just like his dad – has finally arrived at Ski Olympus.
Gold went to Clement Noel in the slalom. The Frenchman fought his way from sixth place to the gold medal after the first round: “It’s unbelievable, a very long day. My second run was very good. I’m very, very happy, I have no words for my emotions right now. January was very difficult, but the training here was very good, very fast. Today’s race was perfect. Thanks to my Austrian fans, see you in Flachau.” Sebastian Foss-Solevag secured the bronze medal: “I was very nervous. A medal, I’m satisfied.”
As with the slalom victory in Adelboden, Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner congratulated the newly crowned silver medal winner. “I am particularly happy for Johannes Strolzthat this sports fairy tale will continue at the Olympic Games. Because he has shown in the past that you should never give up after sporting setbacks and that you should continue to pursue your goal. I congratulate him warmly on this great achievement.”
The Olympic slalom went less well for Manuel Feller, Michael Matt and Marco Schwarz. Feller was eliminated in the first round. After seventh place, Michael Matt still had the chance to win a medal, as you can see from the example of Clement Noel. But in the second run he was also eliminated. In the end, Marco Schwarz had to settle for 17th place. “The second round was okay. The material felt very good. If I had a slightly larger chest at the time, then I could certainly have stepped on the gas a bit more. It was a very adventurous time down there, very bad skiing, I would say it didn’t fit. The service man said before that when the mountains are high they are beautiful, the valley doesn’t have to be that deep.”