The absence of the public can affect results and performances, in skiing like any other sport. Italian National Team's Sports Director Massimo Rinaldi talks about feelings and expectations, a few days before Madonna's Slalom Night, to be held on Tuesday, December 22nd
Racing in the 'sound of silence' is different. Everything changes. Sports psychologists point this, and some surprising outcomes in different sports after the lockdown seem to confirm this. The research illustrates a new and completely unexplored psychological condition for athletes. The one that the top-notch names of the slalom will have to face on Tuesday, December 22nd in Madonna di Campiglio (Trentino, Northern Italy).
The 67th 3Tre will be held with the Canalone Miramonti behind closed doors, for the first time in its history. Denied of welcoming its public, but capable at the same time, to guarantee a great TV show worldwide: first run at 5.45 pm CET, second run at 8.45 pm CET.
Under the guidance of the Sports Director Massimo Rinaldi, the Italian National Team will face a much different atmosphere from the usual experience of racing in front of their home public at 3Tre. "Madonna and Alta Badia are the first significant slalom races of our season; everything is still new for us - admits the Italian coach. - We are living a challenging situation, we are aware of it, but we cannot change it".
"Some athletes are boosted by the fans, and still manage to keep their mind on the race; others can be more subject to pressure – Rinaldi explained. “I believe the public to be an integral part of sports: the issue always lies within the athlete".
Alex Vinatzer, the most shining prospect of the Italian slalom, has shown no reverential fear. His attacking approach does not change, whether it’s in front of home fans or abroad. “Alex is a cool-headed guy. He is still young and makes some mistakes of inexperience, but he never suffers the circumstances in which he competes. When he gets out of the gate, he only thinks of his race."
In the last two 3Tre editions, the Italian rising star has inflamed his supporters on the Canalone Miramonti slope, revealing a significant potential. "Alex is a great talent, who must find consistency to become a champion - Rinaldi's thinking. - The sequences are there, but he has to learn to connect better and get to strike two high-level runs".
"Overall, the Italian team: we had an issue with Sala and Razzoli (tested positive for Covid-19), but Liberatore and the other veterans, Gross and Moelgg are in good shape. We have shown to have a good condition in European Cup, but the World Cup is another story".
Madonna di Campiglio is only the second slalom race in the FIS World Cup calendar, preceded by Alta Badia, only 24 hours prior. "They are almost two different sports, the Canalone Miramonti is much more difficult slope - said Rinaldi. - As usual, I expect a track prepared in an excellent way. Everyone will get out of the gate aggressively: if the weather is favourable, in Madonna there is a definite possibility to enter the second run, even with a very high bib ".
A favourite? "I would say Clement Noel, but surprises can’t be ruled out.”