Champion Biograpics

Benjamin Raich (Austria)

28.02.1978, Pitztal
A double Olympic gold medalist in Slalom and Giant Slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics, Benjamin Raich clinched two FIS World titles in Slalom and Combined at the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy. He also reached several World podiums in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009 in various disciplines. Winner of the 2006 Overall World Cup standings, the veteran from Pitztal also collected eight discipline World Cups trophies in Slalom in 2001, 2005 and 2007, and Giant Slalom in 2005 and 2006 as well as the Super -Combined Cups 2005,2006 and 2010. 'Benni' is also coming back from injury this season. The Austrian veteran badly injured his left knee for the first time in his long career while racing in the Team event at the 2011 FIS World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Raich skied his first World Cup race (Slalom) on March 10th at the 1996 Finals in Kvitfjell, Norway. The Austrian ski star has accumulated 374 World Cup starts, won 36 events and reached 90 podiums. His latest triumph at Crans-Montana where he won the second Super-G was particularly spectacular as he also celebrated his maiden victory in a speed event a year after his serious accident at Garmisch-Partenkirchden. He is now fighting for the podium in the Super-G standings`! As his girl-friend Marlies Schild, Benjamin aims to keep on competing at least until the 2014 Olympics at Sochi.

Carlo Janka (Switzerland)

15.10.1986, Obersaxen
Winner of the 2010 Overall World Cup "Jaenks" is also an Olympic Gold medalist in the Giant Slalom in the same year at the Vancouver Olympics. A year before, the Swiss became World Champion in Giant Slalom and Bronze Medalist in Downhill at the FIS Worlds in Val d'Isère, France in February 2009. In the course of the past season, doctors discovered an unusual change in his heart beat when he was making efforts. After undergoing surgery on February 23rd , 2011, Janka went on to win in comeback race, a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, 10 days later despite wearing a catheter in his heart. He managed to end the Overall standings in 3rd place after a series of other good results. The start of this season has been frustrating for him as he suffered from strong pains at his back since a training camp in Canada in November. It prevented him to move at his usual level afterwards. He could not reach any podium so far this winter, yet still managed to take 4th place in the downhill at Wengen and to finish 5th in the recent pre-Olympic race at nearby Sochi. The 25-year-old skier from Obersaxen, in the Canton of Graubünden, had his first World Cup start on December 21, 2005 in Kranska Gora, Slovenia in a Giant Slalom. Carlo has now a total 116 World Cup starts and got 19 podiums finishes of which 9 wins in all disciplines except slalom and Super-G.

Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway)

26.12.1982 - Kjeller
Overall World Cup winner in 2007 and 2009, Aksel Lund Svindal also collected numerous medals including five in gold in all the major events since 2005. Olympic Gold medalist in Super -G at Vancouver 2010, the Norwegian also got Silver in the downhill and bronze in giant slalom at Whistler Mountain and was close to capture a fourth one in the combined event when he skied out in the slalom run. He has been four times World Champion since 2007 in downhill, giant slalom and Super combined in Are, Sweden, Val d'Isère and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Interestingly enough, he became the first Scandinavian to clinch Gold in downhill in Sweden! Aksel got his first start on the World Cup in October 2001 in Soelden, Austrian, and soon established himself as one of the most promising athletes of his generation. In 2008 his brilliant career nearly came to a screeching halt in Beaver Creek, Colorado. A terrible fall in the training run on the challenging 'Birds of Prey' course left him unable to compete the season. Aksel made a stupendous recovery the next season to win the downhill there at the beginning of the following season. The handsome Norwegian - he is the lucky boy-friend of US Ski Team star Julia Mancuso has won 15 competitions and achieved 38 podium places in 286 starts. This season he fights for another World Cup title in Super-G after a series of strong results earlier this winter including his latest triumph at Lake Louise, in Canada. Aksel is still looking forward for his first triumph in Kviftfjell where he came four times on the podium in both downhill and Super-G.

Adrien Théaux (France)

18.9.1984 Val Thorens
The last Frenchman to have won a World Cup downhill - Finals Lenzerheide, March 2011 - has been for years the leader of the speed team as confirmed by his actual 10th place in the downhill and his 4th in the Super-G World Cup Start Lists. The former giant slalom specialist claimed four top-10 finishes this winter in downhill including his 3rd place on the Rosa Khutor Olympic run in February. In November, he was also 3rd in a Super-G at Lake Louise and 2nd last week in that specialty in Crans-Montana! A complete racer able to excel as well on gliding sections or on technically demanding parts, Théaux achieved his most impressive performance on the 'Streif' at Kitzbühel taking 3rd place behind Didier Cuche and Bode Miller. Interestingly enough, Adrien grew up in the Pyrenees Mountains at the Spanish-French boarder before moving to the Alps to join his older brother and enter the national team. His dad is a ski instructor at La Mongie. In the summer, his mother runs a bar at the top of the famous Tourmalet pass known by all Tour de France fans.

Christof Innerhofer (Italy)

17.12.1984 Gais/Brunico
Since shocking the World Cup tour a few years ago celebrating his very first triumph on the circuit with a superb yet unexpected victory on the treacherous 'Stelvio' course at Bormio, Italy's Innerhofer keep on surprising and charming the international media and his fans. A year before, 'Inner' was already very proud there to have scored his first top-10 result on the World Cup circuit. Last year, the mostly relaxed speed specialist achieved a thrilling 'Hat-Trick' at the FIS Worlds at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, dominating the Super-G race prior clinching bronze in downhill and silver in combined. His 8th place in the final Overall World Cup standings also indicated his potential as a future contender for a top sport in the general classification that has not been captured by an Italian skier since the impressive victory of skiing legend Alberto Tomba in 1995. The present season has been quite harsh for the mostly relaxed athlete as he suffered a painful crash in November while training Super-G in Austria. He needed some time to get over the slight concussion he sustained at that occasion and only reached his first podium in January 2012 finishing the famous 'Lauberhorn' downhill a strong and elate 3rd. He was 4th two weeks later at Garmisch-Partenkirchen yet he struggled in the other speed events, skiing out at Sochi while aiming for another podium on the demanding 'Rosa Khutor' Olympic slope situated above the valley of Krasnaya Polyana. He will have a hard time finishing again the final Overall standings among the best 10 this winter.

Beat Feuz (Switzerland)

11.2.1987 Schangnau
Switzerland's Beat Feuz is enjoying an amazing season this winter marked by his three superb victories in Super-G and downhill at Val Gardena, Wengen and Sochi and his ten top-3 results within three months! A year after celebrating her first ever World Cup triumph at Kvitfjell, in Norway, Feuz is now fighting for an unexpected victory in the Overall standings with two other established athletes - defending Overall champion Ivica Kostelic and Austria's amazing Marcel Hirscher. As Marcel, Feuz also dominated the junior Worlds in past years, clinching three titles in 2007 at Altenmarkt/Flachau in downhill, Super-G and combined. The former triple junior World Champion (downhill, Super-G and combined - also got bronze in slalom, what explained that he also excelled in the combined events this season, reaching the podium in all four competitions held in January and February. Yet Feuz was even more impressive a few years ago when he battled against a series of knee injuries which prevented him to sooner confirm his potential! After losing two seasons in 2008 and 2009, he progressively found back his momentum to bounce back in impressive way last year, finishing the FIS World downhill a strong 9th at Garmisch-Partenkirchen despite a high start-number. Hea is coming back with great confidence to Kvitfjll where he aims to fill up the gap which separates him from Marcel Hirscher in the Overall standings and recover the lead in the general classification prior the next technical races in Slovenia.

Romed Bauman (Austria)

14.1.1986 Hochfilzen
A double junior World Champion in downhill (2004) and combined (2006) Romed Bauman has been considered for years as one of the future leaders of the Austrian Ski Team. This winter, the 26-year-old did achieve a series on promising performances which confirmed once more his potential in the speed events and in giant slalom too. 2nd in downhill at Kitzbühel and Chamonix, the Tyrolian beat the odds and the favorites in the Super-combined event in Chamonix - his second in the discipline after his maiden triumph at Sestrière in February 2009. Beside his first victory in a 'true' race, the Salomon champion also aims to end for the second year in a row the overall standings among the best 10! Last year, the 2006 Europa-Cup downhill champion also proved at the FIS Worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that he also feels comfortable in big events. A strong 5th in giant slalom at the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver, Baumann was 4th in downhill, 6th in Super-G and 11th in giant slalom in Bavaria where he captured silver in the Team Event.

Jan Hudec (Canada)

19.8.1981 Sumperk (CZE) Calgary (CAN)

It's quite an amazing comeback that Czech-born Canadian Jan Hudec was able to achieve this winter in his tenth complete World Cup season. A year ago, the silver medalist in downhill at the 2007 FIS World Championships at Are, in Sweden, was not so sure to continue his career after missing the qualification for the Lenzerheide Finals despite good results at Kvitfjell. The racer from Calgary was 'only' 26th in the downhill standings and 31st in Super-G after the Norwegian competitions. He has also been seriously bothered for a long time by nagging back and knee pains. Yet his passion for alpine ski racing and the strong support from his family and a circle of close friends helped him to overcome those disturbing moments of doubts in the summer and find back his way to the slopes. After a quiet summer, Hudec was pretty busy in the months prior the season quick-off getting back in shape and find money to pay his contribution of 15,000.- Can $ due to the National Ski Federation to partly cover his training and travel expenses. Fortunately, he managed to raise funds through an auction and a local pub also agreed to become his head sponsor for the Lake Louise event a few days before the races. Favorable courses conditions and the presence of fans and members of his family at the finish- line including his 4-year-old son Oaklee boosted his confidence and his moral, helping him to be the leading Canadian over that crucial weekend with a 11th place in downhill and a 4th in Super-G! It was the start of his most consistent World Cup season ever. Scoring points in all the following speed events, including at Kitzbühel where he had never entered the downhill race until this winter, Hudec kept on moving-up in the standings and gaining confidence after each race. Finally in February he celebrated in Chamonix, France, his second World Cup victory nearly five years after his maiden triumph at Lake Louise in November 2007. A few weeks later, Hudec came close to his second season victory at Crans-Montana where he was a strong 2nd behind local hero Didier Cuche in the first Super-G organized in the Swiss resort. He aims for more success on the Kvitfjell Olympic course which perfectly suits his style. His main goals are to stay among the group of leading athletes in both speed events - and remain on the podium in Super-G prior the Finals at Schladming.

Hannes Reichelt (Austria).

5.7.1980 Radstadt.

A ten-year veteran on the World Cup tour, Hannes is definitely on its way to become one of the leaders of the Austrian squad and a serious candidate for a future Overall World Cup triumph. After excellent results in giant slalom and victory in the Super-G World Cup standings in 2008, the skier from Radstadt has also started to excel in downhill. 3rd at Lake Louise, he again reached the podium in Wengen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen helping him to move up in 6th place in the Overall World Cup standings prior the speed events at Kvitfjell. He has also reached the podium in Norway in Super-G in 2003 and 2010. Four years ago, Hannes ended the season rankings in 10th place but this winter he has the chance to score twice as much points than in 2008! Last year, he was one of the few Austrian skiers able to clinch a medal at the FIS World Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen ending in 2nd place behind Italy's Christof Innerhoder. In 2006, he came in a solid 10th in that event at the Turin Olympics. During the past ten years, Reichelt has entered 171 World Cup events, scoring 17 podiums and celebrated a total of five victories in giant slalom and Super.

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