Carina Edlinger: An unbelievable dream

Austria’s teenage Nordic skiing world champion has PyeongChang 2018 in her sights

a female Para Nordic skier Carina Edlinger (R) with her brother and guide Julian Josef © • Heinz Schaefer and Hans Kaulich

“Two years ago I wanted to end my career and never thought that I could continue. A season like the last is still an unbelievable dream which is reality.”

Austria’s Carina Edlinger may only be 18-years-old, but the teenager has already experienced many highs and lows in her Nordic skiing career.

The visually impaired cross-country skier, who competes with her brother Julian Josef as her guide, found things tough going at the start of her debut season, before stunning the Nordic skiing world by winning double gold at the World Championships in Finsterau, Germany earlier this year.

Edlinger admits that even she did not expect that level of success.

“Oh no, absolutely not. After my World Cup debut I got to know that I could have a chance to win a medal but a gold medal was far off my thoughts.”

As if becoming a two-time world champion was not enough, the Austrian then went on to be crowned overall World Cup winner in Sapporo, Japan.

But Edlinger is unsure if she can repeat that achievement this season, which begins on 9 December in Canmore, Canada.

“My goals are not that high for this season. My training did not go really well and I have many troubles, but I think when the races start it may be the positive motivation which picks me up.

“In general I just want to ski fast and then we will see.”

World Cups are not the only thing up for grabs in the 2017-18 season, with the Paralympic Winter Games taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea next March. Despite her reservations over her current form, the IPC Teenage Talent is still dreaming of glory at the Games.

“For me it is still a lot of work to do but I take it easy [be]cause when you have stress about it it will be much more hard,” she said.

“In general I am really optimistic for the Paralympic Games [be]cause I really love these tracks there and cannot wait to get there.”

So does she think she can win her maiden Paralympic gold on the PyeongChang slopes?

“Haha that is a nice question. I think every child is dreaming to become a superstar and winning everything you can.

“For me it is and always was a huge dream.”