At this point, the team reports to the Paralympics newspaper, a project of the Tagesspiegel and the German Social Accident Insurance. All the texts of our digital series can be found here. You can find all the latest news on our blog and on the social media channels of the Paralympics newspaper. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Our reader survey can be found here.
The starting gun sounds and Andrea Rothfuss launches into the first heat of the giant slalom. This is her discipline, her queen category, her opportunity to shine again in these games.
But the beginning doesn’t look bright at all: Rothfuss keeps running off the skis, doesn’t ski the perfect line, and has trouble with the weather. Was that the dream of the medal? Disappointed, the skier shakes her head at the end. After fourth place in relegation, ninth place in superg and disqualification in super combined, there is a lot of pressure to turn these matches around. “I need the perfect career catch, be among the top and compete for the medals,” Rothfuss once said.
Race Two: Rothfuss is back on his feet in the starting booth, visibly nervously crossing his arms behind his head before he steps on the starter and launches out onto the track. She again has trouble with the skis, but Andrea Rothfuss fights back, she flies around the gates and is able to make up time at the bottom of the slope. When finished, she raises her arms. That was good.
Rothfuss laughs, her team cheers her on. But there are still three competitors to come. She is already sure of a second fourth place, for a medal one of the top three finishers from the first heat has to drive slower than Rothfuss. One of the three strong skiers who have been able to adorn themselves with gold in these games.
The first to leave is the Canadian. molly Jespen. She starts more than a second ahead of Rothfuss. Her advantage decreases as they run, but it’s enough in the end. Jespen before Rothfuss. the swedish ebba aarsjoe follow to the side and attack. Aggressively, he runs downhill, taking all the risk. too risky – aarsjoe loses control, spins and falls. “The sadness of one is the joy of another,” says the commentator on the live broadcast. Because the fall of the Swede catapulted Rothfuss to the medal table.
Great joy at Rothfuss
The German skier hugged her teammate Anna-Maria Rieder, incredulous and radiant with joy, she crossed her arms in front of her face. “In fact, I myself thought it was almost impossible because I knew the strong competition and the large field of entrants and I already knew it was actually an impossibility,” explains Rothfuss.
the the Chinese mengqiu Zhang winning gold as the last starter is irrelevant, because for Rothfuss it means the bronze. bronze in it favorite discipline, bronze in what could be his last games. “This medal is the best and the most beautiful. It even beats the Sochi Golden. I dreamed about it, but I didn’t think it was possible. But I made the impossible possible.”
With the German flag slung over his shoulder and skis in hand, Rothfuss marches with Zhang and Jepsen to the slopes for a small awards ceremony. “Bronze medalist, representing Germany, Andrea Rothfuss”, sounds on the track. Shouts of joy, tears of joy. Relief is written all over Rothfuss’s face.
At the Paralympic Games since 2006
She qualified five times and won a medal each time: Rothfuss was 16 at her first Paralympic Games, that was in 2006. Since then there hasn’t been a game without her. But her fifth game was to be the most difficult: with competition in her own team from 22-year-old Anna-Maria Rieder and the strong international field of participants, it was only enough for fourth place at the World Championships in Lillehammer in the beginning of the year. That is why Rothfuss formulated his wish for a medal rather cautiously: “I want to show a good performance on the site and deliver what I have been training for four years. I definitely have a dream of another medal, although I think it will be more difficult than never this year.” But Andrea Rothfuss delivers. With her victory she proves: She is first class.
“This medal actually tells a life story. I am now 32. I have been competing in the Paralympics for 16 years, really half my life. – and now I’m coming home with this medal…for what it’s worth to me, it’s definitely not worth any other medal in the world,” Rothfuss said.
Team competitor and young hope Anna-Maria Rieder finishes fifth in the giant slalom, but is visibly happy for Rothfuss in the target area. Like the rest of the Para-Alpine Ski team. “We all need each other, we push each other. We see each other more a year than we don’t, so we’re like a big family,” said Rothfuss. It’s no surprise that he’s looking for support from his team ahead of his second race: “I told our technician at the start: ‘Honestly, I have Afraid.’ He asked: ‘Yes, why? later?’ – then me: ‘I’m afraid of myself because somehow I don’t know if I can live up to my own standards can.’ (…) He simply said: ‘If you are afraid of yourself, why do you think how afraid others are of you?’” Motivation helped. With bronze, Andrea Rothfuss was second behind Anna-Lena Forster to win a medal for the German paraalpine ski team.
Andrea Rothfuss has to do it again, the women’s slalom race is still on Saturday. But her focus was clearly on the giant slalom. “The giant slalom requires a certain technique and rhythm to be able to ski it. But you also need some speed and you have to let the skis run,” says Rothfuss, explaining her main discipline. For slalom, he is not lively and agile enough on his legs. Maybe then Rieder will get another shot at a podium finish in these games.