World champion from the back row – sport
One tends to overlook them. Marta Bassino is not one of those alpine powerhouses, 1.67 meters tall and weighing 56 kilos. On the other hand, her world title in 2021 was still going in the parallel race in the debates about the contentious format; and in the World Cup, Mikaela Shiffrin and others often drew interest, even when Bassino won the giant slalom event two years ago. The stadium announcer on Wednesday in Méribel also had some catching up to do, he called her “Marta Bossina”. Bossina, excuse me, Bassino had just won the Super-G World Championship.
It could be that the light will fall on them more often in the future. The 26-year-old from Cueno in Piedmont was twice second and twice third in a Super-G in the World Cup until Wednesday; she had never won the curvy speed exercise. With her gold ride, she proved that triumph was a matter of time. The heavier downhill skiers were better in the sliding section, but nobody carried the speed through the more angular passages as well as Bassino, which suited her as a giant slalom expert. “You have to be very present in your head and fast on your skis,” she said. She was “very proud” that she was faster than all the favorites.
When people talked about Italy’s successful women’s team in recent years, they often talked about Sofia Goggia, who drove to Siegen with a broken hand, and who has tumbled down a slope in her car in her free time. There was also talk of Federica Brignone, the 2020 overall World Cup winner, who throws herself into every swing with full force, which carried her to the combined title on Monday. Bassino is often as present in this ensemble as the shy student in the back row, and if you study her biography, that is not surprising. Her parents had taught her and her siblings to be satisfied with little, humility, respect and a love of nature, she once said. They hiked a lot in Piedmont, the greatest happiness was a small hut in which they often stayed: with a small stove, light for reading and above all: no cell phone reception.
Bassino once said that her father, a ski instructor, exemplified the concept of competition Gazzetta dello Sport says: “Everything was a game.” To this day she dabbles her turns in the ice, lightly and beautifully, and what she lacked in mercilessness she learned from Goggia and Brignone. “When you see what the teammate you work with every day can do, you think: I can do that too,” Bassino said on Wednesday. It’s quite possible that it will be Goggia’s turn in the downhill on Saturday. The World Cup days in France could be nice, easy days for the Azzurri.