Velez-Zuzulová second in World Cup race in Semmering

At the place she first won a World Cup race in 2012, at the Austrian resort of Semmering, Slovak skier Veronika Velez-Zuzulová came in second.

L-R: Second Veronika Velez-Zuzulová (SVK), winner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and third Wendy Holdener (SUI) in the World Cup slalom race in Semmering, Dec 29.L-R: Second Veronika Velez-Zuzulová (SVK), winner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and third Wendy Holdener (SUI) in the World Cup slalom race in Semmering, Dec 29. (Source: AP/TASR)

On the same day – December 29 – four years later, she nearly won again, finishing only 64 seconds behind the winner, US Mikaela Shiffrin.

“Before the race, I did not reminiscence,” Velez-Zuzulová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “I concentrated on today’s slalom. The track was quite demanding, and I had to concentrate most on the result,” said the Alpine skier, aged 32, from Bratislava.

After the first round, Velez-Zuzulová was in second; but she had an excellent second round and it seemed no-one could beat her time. However, Shiffrin proved once again she can work miracles, especially in the lower part of the track, and was victorious.

“On one hand, I am happy – but on the other hand, I want to try for more,” Velez-Zuzulová said. “Also today, I tried to improve – and failed again. So I will keep trying,” she summed up. The Slovak skier explained that in in entering one flat stretch, “I did not let the skis loose as much as I could, I was slower, fell behind, and this is probably what stripped me of a victory.”

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It is interesting, SITA wrote, that this is already the third consecutive race in which Velez-Zuzulová finished second, after Shiffrin. “I ended up second again, behind Shiffrin – how can I perceive it?” she asked. “From one side, I am glad, on the other side I have to improve and keep trying. Sure I would like to be first. Mikaela is a great phenomenon, and it would be super to beat her now. Let us wait and see whether she can be beaten; I will keep trying. I can say it motivates me to work differently in training than I used to,” the elite Slovak slalom skier summed up.

On the last day of the year, Veronika Velez-Zuzulová will train at the Slovenian ski resort of Mariboru.

“The year 2016 was great in private life, as usual,” she said, “ and as for sport, it was not bad either. I do hope, however, that the next one will be even better.”

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