The ski poles gave Alexander Schmid support when, two days after winning the World Championship in the parallel competition, he weakly explained his disappointing performance in the giant slalom.
"The last two days have been incredibly stressful. Nice stress, but I'm just not used to all the hustle and bustle," said the man from the Allgäu and took a deep breath. After his sensational victory on Wednesday, he only found peace on his physio's treatment bench, Schmid reported after 15th place.
Schmid "reacts instead of acting"
The technology specialist lacked liveliness in his parade discipline. The 28-year-old reacted instead of acting on the ice-covered bald head in Courchevel. He was 3.19 seconds behind Swiss high-flyer and Olympic champion Marco Odermatt, who celebrated his second title in France after triumphing in the downhill. "Wednesday was my day, today wasn't," Schmid summed up the race aptly.
The voice of the introverted athlete from SC Fischen was barely audible over the noise of the cowbells from the Swiss fans. The Confederates celebrated a double success within sight of Mont Blanc: Odermatt's compatriot Loic Meillard finished second, Austria's Marco Schwarz fell back from the top position in the final to third place.
Schmid was certainly not the favorite for the gold medal. Nevertheless, after five runs in the top ten in the World Cup giant slalom this winter, the Bavarian had reckoned with a chance of a podium. "I also had goals today, but I just didn't achieve them," said the German self-critically.
World Cup races in California are coming up
The slope "L'Eclipse" (darkness) turned into a kind of ice skating rink on Friday. Ice skates would probably have been a more appropriate tool on the feet. "I had a hard time with the surface. We don't have these icy conditions that often throughout the season," said Schmid, describing the circumstances as a "big challenge".
The next few days will also be challenging. The world champion doesn't have much time to regenerate. Schmid wants to start in the slalom at the end of the World Cup on Sunday, after which he will return home to Oberstdorf. A reception for the city's new hero is planned for Monday.
And on Tuesday, the technology squad is already leaving for California. The next World Cup races are coming up in a week. As world champion, Schmid will be in focus again - and seek rest on his physio's treatment bench.