Thursday, Feb. 04, 2010

Carlo Janka

Alpine Skiing

Many skiers have been inspired by the legendary Austrian Hermann Maier. The Herminator mesmerized a Swiss teenager named Carlo Janka, who was sufficiently motivated to pursue skiing over soccer in high school. Good choice. The 23-year-old Janka emulated his hero by winning a trio of Alpine events — giant slalom, downhill and super combined — at Beaver Creek, Colo., last December, 10 years after Maier did his triple.

Known as the Iceman for his laid-back style, Janka also smoked the competition in January to win the treacherous Lauberhorn downhill in his homeland by a huge margin.

In Vancouver, Janka will be making his Olympic debut. His run to the podium will have to go through countrymen Didier Cuche and Michael Walchhofer, as well as the Herminator's successors on the powerful Austrian team, which includes Benjamin Raich and Marcel Hirscher. "I don't know yet what it's like to be at the Olympic Games," says Janka. "I think everything will be very special." If the Iceman continues his hot skiing, it surely will be.