Skiing king Hirscher: Breaking my ankle helped me to dominate!
Marcel Hirscher believes he ultimately benefited from breaking his left ankle ahead of his most dominant season to date in the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup.
The Austrian once again claimed the overall title - his seventh in succession - in 2017-18, as well as topping the slalom and giant slalom disciplines to take his tally of crystal globes to a remarkable 17.
Hirscher also claimed two gold medals at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last month, his triumphant campaign all the more impressive considering he suffered an ankle fracture in August, just three months before the World Cup season got under way.
In his blog for Red Bull, Hirscher wrote: "Rewind five months and I was spending my days thinking about questions like: 'Is the season already over even before it has begun?', 'Will I be able to compete at the Olympics?' and 'Could this be the end of my career?'
"Back then my team and I would never have dreamt of thinking this season could be as successful as it has been. When my recovery progressed as planned and I was able to complete my first turns on snow without any pain, we sat down and drew up our strategy for the winter ahead: push the limits every day, in every race, and take each result as it is.
"This 'whatever happens, happens' mentality gave me the freedom to take as many risks as I wanted - and ended up producing my best ever season with 13 victories, two Olympic medals and three FIS World Cup titles.
"That was a dream which was made possible because I was able to go into every race with no pressure on my shoulders. Nobody expected anything from me this season - not the media, not the public, not the team and not even myself. That removed a lot of the pressure, which I am sure would have been there after last winter.
"I am sure this year would have gone differently if I had not suffered my injury that threatened to derail the whole season. That might sound a little strange, but it is true. Breaking my ankle had a big positive effect on making my season such a success."