56th Golden Fox 2020(15. 02. - 16. 02. 2020)
Slovak wins in Kranjska Gora, but the New Zealander took the victory in giant slalom and the Swede wins slalom - Great success of Meta Hrovat at her home venue - Last minute move to Kranjska Gora - Organizers protest due to interrupted TV broadcast
56th Golden Fox ended with a fall, yet it was a great victory. Anna Swenn-Larsson literally fell head first into the finish arena. Four turns before the finish she had plenty of time advantage and while heading towards her first career victory at age 28, she hit the pole. More than thousand Petra Vlhova’s fans held their breath for a moment. Their hero, who just won the slalom and Golden Fox combination raised the skis high into the ski with mixed feelings.
Golden Fox also started with »the fall«.
Eight days before the event, Markus Mayr the FIS snow controller and Race Director World Cup Women Technical Events, decided that due to weather forecast and snow conditions, Maribor cannot host the race. But the Golden Fox is an event that lived through many challenges along its way, so the very next moment all eyes were set on Kranjska Gora as a possible venue. Not only the entire organizational move was done in record 8 days, but they managed to organize the best race of the season according to entire world cup caravan. After two sunny days, with ten thousand viewers, an amazing race course and having winners Petra Vlhova along with Slovene Meta Hrovat sharing her third place with Wendy Holdener, the race was a victory of its own .
The rise and TV defeat
Golden Fox was an amazing success in Kranjska Gora, but that did not help Maribor to understand why the move had to be done, again... Many in Maribor were »wondering« about the move, when they could see the white snow on the slopes. But they were not the only ones left wondering. Also the staff, which arrived to Kranjska Gora from Maribor were surprised how icy and hard the race course surface was. After the race, many were wondering why the TV Slovenija broadcast was so short and why they moved to another race, especially as TV staff did an incredibly challenging technical move to Kranjska Gora after the announcement of venue change. And why they failed in terms of program, as TV viewers could see only one Slovenian performance each day, immediately followed by ski jump event which showed ski jumps from the beginning of the start list.
Sarah Lewis compliments the organizers
Sarah Lewis, FIS General Secretary was present at 56. Golden Fox in Kranjska Gora.
Races in Podkoren, organizers’ successful change of venue and an excellent race course thrilled her.
”Race course was prepared in a great way. Congratulations to all competitors, who showed an amazing fight on a top level. There was no world cup races for men this weekend, which makes the Golden Fox incredibly important for women's alpine skiing as it received great publicity and it was broadcasted between jumps in Kulm. This was an important weekend during this winter and you used it really well. Besides that you have shown how two organizers, together with the national ski association can have an amazing collaboration. This kind of cooperation sets a great example for everyone else. Therefore I would like to thank all organizers for their efforts and a job well done. Winter holidays started in Slovenia and this was a great challenge for the organizers regarding accommodation capacities. But you managed it well. At the same time, seeing such a great interest for skiing is a good indicator for popularity of this sport. It is also important that such cooperation is happening here, at the triple border, among 3 countries. Again, congratulations to all!”
Thousand Slovaks at Gorenjska
Petra Vlhova »had to« win the 56. Golden Fox! Her biggest rival, American Mikaela Shiffrin who she shares with year's giant slalom victory in Maribor, was not present in Kranjska Gora. And Petra also decided to attack the overall world cup victory and started to perform in all disciplines. More than a thousand loud fans from Slovakia came to support Petra Vlhova and only Maribor could attract a thousand more… Regardless, both races had a competitor who was better than the first rival. Alice Robinson from New Zealand made a small mistake in first giant slalom run, but showed no mercy in the second one. She showed an amazing run and won the giant slalom. After two thirds Vlhova was already falling behind and not even the loudest cheering did not help.
The slalom race also came with another rival, who was not scared of loud Slovakian cheering in Podkoren. When the Slovak reached the finish line, she could only watch Anna Swenn-Larsson skiing towards the victory. First day the New Zealander was faster than the Slovak and the second day, the Swede almost took the victory, but fell at the finish area.
Hosting 56. Golden Fox in Kranjska Gora attracted around 5.000 viewers, which created an amazing atmosphere in sunny Podkoren. Organizers also did an amazing job as they moved the race organization in just 8 days and prepared such a great race course it is remembered as the best prepared women's world cup racecourse of the season.
Competitors' statements - slalom
”My first slalom was not the best and I do not really know what happened, why I did not make it. Second slalom was something totally different, conditions were very hard, warm weather did have an effect, but I got help from my amazing fans. They really are incredible to support me in such a massive number. This motivates me and makes me do my best.”
”It was a real fight. I made a mistake in the first run and I lost the overall victory because of it. I watched Anna, she skied great and she deserves to win. So I have mixed feelings. But I am proud to have this success on both days and I would like to thank the organizers for doing such a great job. I am looking forward to racing in Maribor next year, as that is the home venue for this event.”
”Kranjska Gora is my local ski slope, I live only 20 minutes from here, so all my friends and people I am close with were here today. This made my third place even better. It felt really wonderful when I took the lead and I did not think I will make it to the podium. Congratulations to the organizers for an amazing organization. Slovaks were great too, for a moment I thought the race is there.”
Competitors' statements - giant slalom
”I skied really well in the first run, but I made a mistake and it cost me the leading position. In the second run I felt I am skiing on the limit and during such a hard run you never know how it will end, anything can happen. I had my first performance in Kranjska Gora 2 years ago at a world cup race, but I did not make it to the second run. Last year in Maribor I qualified for the second giant slalom for the first time and this year I won here. Because of this, my performances in Slovenia have a special meaning for me and my career!”
”I really like Slovenia, we are not completely the same, but we are very much alike. Because the countries are so close to each other, many of my fans travelled here to support me and they made me feel like at home. It was a wonderful experience. The racecourse in Kranjska Gora is a bit harder than the one in Maribor and it was in excellent condition. Icy and hard in both runs, great for competition. It is hard for me to say which race course I like more, skiing on both is a challenge.”
”Meta skied really well and I knew the final part right before the finish will be crucial. It was really intense to watch her performance and I just closed my eyes. I opened my eyes at the moment when the timing showed 00:00. This and the loud cheering of her fans made this day special.”
”Usually I am not very proud of myself, but this time I think I can be at least a bit proud... I am really happy! It also helps that everyone on the team is very competitive and we get along very well. We motivate each other and this paid off today. I don't mind being tied on third place, luck was on my side and it makes me even happier.”