There are very few Alpine athletes with more experience than Marco Büchel. With his first World Cup stripes in the bag, he practically started his career at the Olympic Winter Games – and even though he did not quite make it to the top ranks, Liechtenstein was at least present and Marco was part of the national team in Lillehammer 1994. This was followed by his dramatic rise to a World Cup ace.
The way to the top was difficult for the HEAD racer who had learned skiing with long, straight skis before carving came on the scene, but he mastered the changeover with bravura. After only two years of regular competition he made his first World Cup points in Sölden in 1996. Later in the same year, at the World Championships in Spain, people noticed him when he finished 18th – as always, of course, in the giant slalom, his specialised discipline at that time.
Büchel did not stop there, but developed further. Rankings among the top ten in the World Cup and 14th place at the Olympic Games in Nagano were the first rewards – and at the same time an incentive to move forward. He very soon made it to the winners’ rostrum: In Park City, Büchel raced to third place and had finally caught up with the elite.
Entirely without pressure, but with a lot of feeling in his legs instead, Büchel set off for the World Championships in Vail in 1999. He returned to Liechtenstein as the sensational winner of the silver medal in giant slalom. In a tight duel, he missed gold by the blink of an eye, but even this could not spoil the great mood and good spirits of this likeable athlete.
Marco Büchel soon became the main challenge to the dominant stars in the World Cup. It was mainly in giant slalom that he showed his best performances, but as from 2000 onward he also claimed successes in the speed disciplines. In 2002 he narrowly missed his first World Cup victory in Beaver Creek, but the following February his time finally came:
At the age of 30, he won the Super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Ten more places on the winners’ podium followed in the speed disciplines. Büchel also won the race in Gröden and – as the icing on the cake – the Hahnenkamm Super-G in Kitzbühel in 2008. The occasion was marked by a cable car being named after him.
In his final season, Büxi as he is called, was again at his peak in competition sports. In Wengen, he finished among the top three and at the Vancouver Olympic Games 2010 - his fifth Games - he also made it into the top ten. He competed in nine World Championships; his final World Cup race earned the HEAD racer 4th place in Val d’Isére.
In total, Marco climbed the winners’ podium 18 times in the World Cup, four times as the winner. He competed in 19 World Championship races and won one silver medal. In his eleven Olympic races, he made it three times to the top ten.
His grand finale was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last weekend. In a silk tailcoat and short pants, the popular athlete from Liechtenstein celebrated his departure at the Super-G of the World Cup finale to a chorus of wild cheering. Fans, attendants and colleagues saluted this most popular of athletes with a spontaneous round of applause.
The HEAD team thanks Marco for the many great years together.
All the best for your future, Büxi!