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Austria's downhillers are in a speed slump

 Austria's Klaus Kroell races to the third place during a men's World Cup downhill, in Bormio, Italy, Thursday Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Tro...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Austria's Klaus Kroell races to the third place during a men's World Cup downhill, in Bormio, Italy, Thursday Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Tro...

The list of Austrians who have dominated in downhill stretches back nearly uninterrupted to the founding of the World Cup circuit in the late 1960s.
Now, though, skiing's "Wunderteam" is facing a crisis in the speed disciplines that it has become accustomed to dominating.
With Michael Walchhofer's retirement at the end of last season, the Austrian men's team features only one racer who has ever won a World Cup downhill _ Klaus Kroell, with two _ and it hasn't won a single downhill or super-G with nearly a third of the season already gone.
By contrast, former greats Karl Schranz (8), Franz Klammer (25), Hermann Maier (15), Stephan Eberharter (18) and Walchhofer (14) won a combined 80 downhills.
Austria head coach Mathias Berthold says fans and media "have to stop dreaming that we can win every downhill."


Updated : 2021-05-06 04:53 GMT+08:00