"All in all, it was an even better season than last year. The FIS ranking shows that we have taken the step to the top in the Slalom. In the men's Slalom we have five athletes in the top 20, and we won three races - that has never happened before. That was one of our big goals, and we have now achieved it this season," says HEAD Racing Director Rainer Salzgeber. "What made us stand out this season was that we were able to win our successes with many different athletes in extremely varied racing conditions. This demonstrates that we were able to respond optimally with our race team to the different requirements of the athletes and the challenges of the different locations."
Golden times - in Cortina and also in Beijing
Last season, the HEAD Worldcup Rebels delivered an impressive performance with seven out of twelve individual Gold medals at the World Championships in Cortina. At the Olympic Games in Beijing in February, six out of ten Gold medals in the individual events went to HEAD. In total, HEAD athletes won 15 medals. HEAD was represented on the podium in all ten of the individual events. "The last two major competitions in Cortina and Beijing were just great. In China, we won more than half of all the Gold medals in the individual events. It could not have gone better," says Rainer Salzgeber. "All the medals were highlights, of course, and it was also a lot of fun. I don't want to highlight any in particular because there were so many special stories associated with each medal. For example, Johannes Strolz winning Gold 34 years after his father. Matthias Mayer, who has now won Gold for the third games in a row. Beat Feuz, Lara Gut-Behrami and Sara Hector with their first Gold medals at the Olympic Games. On top of that there was Corinne Suter's Gold as well. And Johan Clarey winning a medal at the age of 41. In addition, there were several surprises, such as the brilliant performances delivered by James Crawford."
More podium finishes than last season
In the World Cup the HEAD Worldcup Rebels also reconfirmed their unique class. 64 podium finishes were achieved by HEAD athletes - six more than in the previous season. In 17 races the HEAD Worldcup Rebels stood on top of the podium. Austrian athlete Vincent Kriechmayr and Swedish athlete Sara Hector were responsible for the most victories this season with three each. Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland and Atle Lie McGrath from Norway both won twice. Victories also went to Matthias Mayer, Johannes Strolz and Cornelia Hütter from Austria, Beat Feuz and Corinne Suter from Switzerland, Elena Curtoni from Italy and Ragnhild Mowinckel from Norway. "Particularly outstanding for me this season were Atle Lie McGrath and Johannes Strolz in the men's events and Sara Hector and Lena Dürr in the women's races," explains Rainer Salzgeber. "I've always said over the past two years that Atle Lie McGrath was going to be one of our top performers. With his successes this season, he has certainly proven that. I hope he gradually makes the move to a third discipline as well. In terms of bib number, he would now have a really good starting position. Johannes Strolz has written a story worthy of a film. He has really shown what he is capable of in a variety of conditions. His Olympic medals were indescribable. He has been competing for years and has always fought on with all his heart. He decided he will try giving it his all one more time and if it doesn't work out, he will do something else. That was the strategy that led him to success."
"Sara Hector skied an outstanding Giant Slalom season, culminating in the Gold medal in Beijing," says Rainer Salzgeber. "Of course it was a pity that she so narrowly missed winning the Crystal Globe, but we don't need everything to work out. Dropping out of the race in Aare was decisive - on track for victory and the Crystal Globe. Lena Dürr didn't win a race, but with her podium finishes and many fastest run times she proved how well the equipment works. A lot of the stories in the speed disciplines were really cool, too. Unfortunately, covid held us back a bit in the women's races. Lara Gut-Behrami was in perfect shape in December and then dropped out for a long time. Despite everything, it was an impressive season for us."
Kjetil Jansrud ends his successful career
Norwegian athlete Kjetil Jansrud - a very big name in the Alpine Skiing World Cup - says goodbye after almost two decades. The 36-year-old Olympic and World Champion competed in his last race in the Downhill in his hometown of Kvitfjell. "Kjetil Jansrud has enjoyed an impressive career. We have experienced many truly great moments with him since 2010, and it is a sad moment when we see such a strong character leave the sport, but he deserves to finally be able to spend more time with his family," says Rainer Salzgeber. Kjetil Jansrud made his World Cup debut in Wengen in January 2003 and was crowned Olympic Champion (Super-G in Sochi 2014) and World Champion (Downhill 2019 in Aare) during his successful career. In addition, there were another four Olympic medals and two World Championship medals. Kjetil Jansrud won the Super-G World Cup three times (2015, 2017 and 2018), the Downhill World Cup once (2015) and bagged 23 World Cup race victories - 13 in Super-G, eight in Downhill and one each in the Combined and Parallel events.
"Our aspirations certainly won't get any smaller"
"I would like to thank everybody who works at HEAD for this amazing season. A great many people have played their part in this success," emphasises Rainer Salzgeber. "I would especially like to thank the ski development team. We have very high aspirations. That is why the pressure we are working under is also very often very high. The results show we are on the right track. We have made enormous progress in the Slalom and Giant Slalom. We were always able to react quickly, which is not easy with such a broad-based team as ours. The fact that so many different athletes have been able to celebrate victory and success with our equipment is only possible if the equipment and the coordination are optimised, and everybody works together closely. We are now already in the middle of preparations for next season. Our aspirations certainly won't get any smaller."