Ski World Cup: Odermatt trumps “Herminator” Maier
SSki racer Marco Odermatt, exhausted, dropped into the air-filled barrier and celebrated the next milestone in his career with his last ounce of strength. Then he knelt down. With his 13th World Cup victory of the season, the best alpine athlete of the season has surpassed the legendary record of ski icon Herrmann Maier and set a new point record in the overall men’s World Cup.
On Saturday, Odermatt was celebrated in Andorra on minute-long laps of honor through the finish area. “I was so tired and nervous and now I’m just overjoyed,” said the 25-year-old. The Swiss finishes the winter with a total of 2042 points. Maier’s previous best was from the 1999/2000 season, when the “Herminator” collected 2,000 points.
For Odermatt, the season ended where it began in October: at the top of the podium. The 25-year-old celebrated a total of 13 World Cup successes and stood on the podium 22 times. There are also two gold medals at the World Championships in France. Odermatt secured victory in the overall World Cup, as well as the small crystal globes for the best skier of the winter in giant slalom and super-G. “He’s simply in his own league,” said a former ski racer Felix Neureuther in the ARD.
Like in a computer game, Odermatt jumps from level to level in his career. In 2018 he won five gold medals at the Junior World Championships, followed by his first World Cup title in 2019. At the age of 24, he won gold at the 2022 Olympics. Now the next alpine record, which the all-rounder corrects upwards.
Why is Odermatt so abnormally strong? Because he’s so normal. Odermatt does not use a nutritionist like many of his competitors have. “When I’m at the buffet, I load exactly what I want onto my plate,” the Swiss once said.
His striving for normality is also reflected in his driving style. Simple and yet somehow daredevil: Odermatt’s no-frills driving style is his great strength. The slender all-rounder doesn’t need pumped up muscles to be able to keep up with powerhouses like Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. “Lightness and coolness” are among the qualities of the Swiss.
The countless successes also present the Nidwaldner with a luxury problem. The space for the trophies is slowly running out. “My childhood bedroom has been converted into a trophy room. Actually, there was already no space left after last season, but over the course of this winter we found a few gaps,” Odermatt told the Swiss “Blick”. A drop in performance in the coming season seems unlikely. The all-rounder should look around for more gaps.