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Tina Weirather
Liechtenstein expert

Born into a family of Olympic winners and world champions, now Tina Weirather is herself a star in the international ski circus, and carries the hopes of Liechtenstein fans for World Cup victories and medals

Tina Weirather darts down the slopes of Malbun

Tina Weirather

"The moment in the start house: great tension, immense pressure. The stomach turns. The waiting gets you down. I have dedicated my life to my great passion, skiing, and now comes the moment of truth. Not 90 seconds later, when the finish line is crossed and the one is written on the board, the whole burden falls off you. You are at the goal of your dreams."

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She was perhaps predestined to be a talented sportsperson. Her mother Hanni Wenzel is a double Olympic champion, four-time World Champion, Overall World Cup Winner of 1978 and 1980. Her father Harti Weirather secured the Downhill Cup in 1981, and was crowned Downhill World Champion in Schladming in 1982. Tina was clever enough to pick only the best traits from both her parents, declares mother Hanni with a laugh.

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Hanni Wenzel

«From her father she has the enthusiasm for downhill courses as well as speed, while from me she got the sense of snow.»

Tina Weirather

Tina, whose real name is Christina, first ventured out onto the pistes at the tender age of two and a half. That was the Red Devils ski course in Kitzbühl, recalls Hanni Wenzel. It was the beginning of a burning passion. Tinas favourite activity has always been skiing. She would keep her ski boots on at lunch, in order not to lose time, and she was on the piste from early morning until the lifts stopped operating at the end of the day. In 1992 Klein-Tina was a forerunner at the Hanni Wenzel Cup, two years later she began ski racing herself, and quickly put paid to any doubts about her exceptional talent.

Injury devil as a faithful companion

No wonder, you might think, that Tina Weirather has already won several World Cup races. But the development from former child prodigy to absolute top racer did not go so smoothly. On her way to the top, Tina had to go through many deep valleys and cope with several setbacks, because the injury devil was her uninvited but all the more faithful companion for a long time. The first time he struck was when Tina was 17 and freshly crowned junior world champion in downhill. During training for the World Cup downhill in Lenzerheide, the athlete from the Schaan ski club had a bad fall and tore cruciate ligaments in both knees. The next cruciate ligament rupture followed a year later during a training fall in Pitztal, and in January 2010, in the downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo, cruciate ligament rupture number four.

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Harti Weirather

"As a father of a daughter, you would love to wrap everything in cotton wool from start to finish. Or wish she'd rather go cross-country skiing."

Tina Weirather and Marco Büchel

Tina took the first two serious ligament injuries relatively lightly, the third was tough, and the fourth cruciate ligament rupture was "the end of the world", as she once described it in conversation with the former Liechtenstein ski racer Marco Büchel: "I had to think for a really long time whether it still made sense. At some point I decided to give it another try." In the end, an internship at a life insurance company was decisive. That's when she realised, "Skiing is just the coolest thing. When you have the chance to experience these trainings, to be in a team, to travel, to meet lots of people, to be in nature, to test your limits every day, well, when you have that chance - maybe only two out of a hundred get it - you have to grab it." So she swapped her office job and computer work for fresh nature, snow and skis.

Tina and Harti Weirather

Tina and Harti Weirather

Family Weirather

Tina was born with talent.

Like mother, like daughter

However, cross-country skiing was never an option for Tina Weirather. She wanted to become a journalist. Plan A, however, was always to become a professional skier. Until she was eleven, she played tennis regularly in the summer months, coached by Melanie Molitor, the mother of the Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis. Then she had enough of two sports and wanted to concentrate only on skiing. Mum Hanni Wenzel accepted her daughter's decision: "I tried first and foremost to pass on my enthusiasm for the sport to my children." She succeeded in that. She also took away the immense pressure on her daughter of having to follow in her parents' huge footsteps. "It was important to me from the beginning that Tina develops her own personality. As the daughter of Hanni and Harti, she was under pressure and special observation from an early age, which was unpleasant. That's why we kept telling her: No matter who we are, you are you. Your needs are the centre of attention, not ours." She really doesn't feel any pressure, Tina says.

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

"I am proud of my parents and happy to have such experienced people around me."

Even though the saying "like mother, like daughter" applies to Hanni and Tina in many respects, they are different in nature. While Hanni was more of an introverted athlete, Tina is a real team player, feels really comfortable in a team and has many close friends in the ski circus, including Anna Veith (former Fenninger) and Lara Gut, her former direct competitors for World Cup victories and medals. But unlike Veith, Gut or US superstar Lindsey Vonn, Tina Weirather was never an athlete who polarised and provided the media with material for sensational stories. "I might be boring," she laughs. She neither insults people nor is jealous of others' successes.

Tina Weirather was frenetically celebrated at the Olympic reception in Schaan

Highlights of her career

Whereby she has no need to be envious. For Tina Weirather has achieved a great many successes of her own. In the 2011/12 season she was the world's second-best downhill racer, after Lindsey Vonn. On 1 March 2013 she celebrated her first World Cup victory at the Super G event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and was the first daughter of a former World Cup winner to follow in the footsteps of her mother and win a World Cup of her own. During the following season, Weirather confirmed her top form in the speed disciplines, and also became one of the worlds top performers in the giant slalom. As a reward for the triumph in the giant slalom at Val d'Isère, she actually led the overall World Cup rankings for a whole week. This was followed by her victory in the downhill event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in March 2015, and her success in the Super-G of La Thuille in February 2016. At the World Cup final in St. Moritz in mid-March 2016, Tina Weirather triumphed in the Super-G. This was her sixth World Cup victory, causing her to draw level with her father Harti Weirather. At the same time, she passed the magic 1,000 point mark by coming fourth in the Overall World Cup, and is carrying the hopes of many ski fans that Tina will one day secure the top prize for the small Principality just like her mother Hanni Wenzel did in her own day. In February 2018 Tina won an olympic bronce medal in Pyenchong, South Korea for Liechtenstein.

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

"When I look back, I had this passion, this love of skiing in me even as a child, and it all started on the ski slopes in the Liechtenstein winter sports resort of Malbun. I remember always keeping my ski boots on during lunch, just to get back on the slopes faster. I was a Malbun child and for me winter should never have ended. Even today, when I step on the gas on the steep Hocheck slope or leisurely make a few turns in the Täle, I feel this special connection to "Malbu". Or to put it another way: once Malbun, always Malbun."

Tina Weirather and Marco Büchel

Tina Weirather and Marco Büchel in Malbun

Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather

Profile Tina Weirather

Nation: Liechtenstein
Birthday: 24 Mai 1989
Club: SC Schaan

Liechtenstein Ambassador
From January 1 2018 on Tina Weirather is ambassador from Liechtenstein Marketing. 

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