2014 Winter Olympics: Germany’s Top Medal Contenders
The Olympic Games are the greatest sporting event for every sportsman and woman. Winning a medal on the biggest sporting stage in the world is a childhood dream for many athletes. This February in Sochi this time will come again and some dreams will come true. Carsten Arndt outlines which German athletes are in prime position to win an Olympic medal.
Gold medal potentials:
Felix Neureuther (Alpine Skiing): Felix Neureuther is in the form of his life. After his historic win in the giant slalom (he was the first German to do so in more than 40 years), he also won the slalom in Kitzbühel last week. Added to this is another win in Bormio and a number of podium finishes. Neureuther is set to have an intriguing duel with Austrian Marcel Hirscher, but in his current form Neureuther is the clear candidate for gold.
Maria-Höf-Riesch (Alpine Skiing): Maria Höfl-Riesch was a double Olympic champion in Vancouver in 2010 and is a prime candidate for another gold medal this year. Höfl-Riesch arrives in Sochi with three season victories and as the overall leader in the World Cup. Even on bad days, she’s virtually impossible to beat when it comes to the downhill event.
Eric Frenzel (Nordic Combined): The 25-year-old has dominated this season. With seven victories to his name already and he has been almost uncatchable in the World Cup. If Frenzel can keep his form the gold medal is his, especially when it comes to the Large Hill event where he is nearly unbeatable.
Maximilian Arndt (Bobsleigh): With the win in the overall World Cup, Maximilian Arndt and his team could increase their self-confidence before the beginning of the Olympic Games. The team of coaches have planned the regime so that Arndt and his team reach peak form exactly at the height of the season. Arndt will fight for gold against Russian Alexander Subkow, but with such a strong surname, the German remains the favourite.
The Luge-Team (Luge): The Germans are still the team to beat in the luge. The gold medal is theirs. Among the men, Felix Loch is in peak form and a clear candidate for gold, and the women could even win all three medals again. Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Hüfner will be the frontrunners.
The ski-jumping team (ski jumping): In the individual competition it will be difficult for Severin Freund & Co to win a medal, but in the team competition, the chances look much better. Four different German athletes have already jumped on the podium this season, and it’s no secret that the team’s unity is Werner Schuster team’s biggest strength. The bronze medal is possible.
Simon Schempp/Arnd Peiffer (Biathlon): Right on cue, the 25-year-old Schempp is in peak form. After a difficult start to the year, Schempp triumphed in Antholz both in Sprint and Pursuit. Also Arnd Peiffer gets better and better each year and has a good chance of a medal.
Andrea Henke (Biathlon): The women’s hopes rest on Andrea Henkel. In Antholz, the doyenne proved that she can still win. If she can continue her good form another medal could join the four Olympic medals already in her cabinet.
Men/Women Relay (Biathlon): Both the men’s and women’s relay team have a realistic chance of a podium place. The men gained third place at the last World Cup in Antholz - showing their potential.
Sawtschenko/Szolkowy (Figure Skating): The four-time team world champion Aljona Sawtschenko and Robin Szolkowy are in their final season and winning the gold medal is their last mission. But at the European Championships in Budapest (the final rehearsal for Sochi), things didn’t go to plan. Sawtschenko has also been recovering from a heavy bout of flu. There’s no doubting their potential but with gold the aim, the questions about their form remain.
Lisa Zimmermann (Freestyle-Skiing): At no more than 17 years of age, Zimmermann turned into a serious medal candidate this season after the first ever German victory in Slopestyle. Zimmermann achieved the highest points return from the judges in her victory in Gstaad. Furthermore, she was the first ever woman to land the “Double Cork 1260”. If she can perform the same sort of tricks in Sochi, a medal is definitely possible.
Konstantin Schad (Snowboard): Together with his partner Paul Berg, he won the Team-Competition in Montafon this season, before climbing on the podium again at the Boardercross World Cup in Lake Louise. With a bit of luck, things might click in Sochi.
Isabella Laböck (Snowboard): This season, the reigning world champion in the Ladies’ parallel giant slalom has struggled with a number of problems, but form is temporary and if she can show her class in Russia she is a clear medal candidate.