Bittersweet

7


Since 2008, when Tina Maze established her private team, the only way has been up. Overall, she was 6th in 2009, 4th in 2010 and 3rd last year, so it is only natural to aim at the very top. Similarly to last year, this season wasn’t off to a good start. A string of mediocre results, where the best achievement in the first seven races was a seventh place, suggested that she could have got it wrong during the training period. However, the tide turned with a third place in slalom in Flachau, followed by another four podium finishes. Despite no wins, she was gradually making her way to the top thanks to the fact that she is reasonably competitive in all disciplines. Vonn, for example, struggles in slalom, while Maze’s next closest opponents Marlies Schiled is a slalom specialist and Elisabeth Goergl is nowhere in slalom.
Another fact is that at the time of writing, it was still the first half of the season, with 22 events to go. Maze’s deficit of 282 points to Vonn might seem a lot but given the fact that this is less than three wins away, the battle could go right down to the wire. Maze’s successes once again attracted thousands of fans to Kranjska Gora where the World Cup race, otherwise held in Maribor, took place due to no snow in Maribor.
But contrary to any logic, Maze’s worst enemy is not other skiers but seems to be coming from the inside. It is the political battle with the Ski Association of Slovenia and its president Tomaž Lovše. In a rarely seen outburst of emotions, Lovše publically accused Maze, her team leader Andrea Massi and lawyer Damijan Terpin of greediness, selfishness, misconduct, improper attitude towards sponsors, and even political threats in connection with the imminent change of the government in Slovenia. In a heated exchange of words, Terpin accused Lovše of lying, while Maze refused Lovše’s congratulation for her fifth and four places in Kranjska Gora. The dispute has deep roots, originating in the Ski Association’s financial contribution to Maze’s private team. Although things seemed solved with the arrival of Lovše at the helm of the Association this is obviously not the case. For now, things ended with Maze demanding Lovše’s apology and Lovše’s “no comment”.