He not only won the slalom race in the season finale at Meribel. Atle Lie McGrath (21) also has statistics that prove he is among the greatest talents in the history of the Norwegian Alps.
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The 21-year-old is running his 35th race at World Cup level and took Sunday’s second win. In total, McGrath has five podiums so far in his career.
Only Henrik Kristoffersen can match the statistics made by Norwegian alpinists – and even the “world champion” of the last decade, Marcel Hirscher of Austria has had similar results in his first 35 appearances.
– I think it’s really cool, but it doesn’t really have anything to say. “It’s cool to be compared to big names like that, but I’ve had a very long way to go from doing this over the years,” McGrath said of the numbers.
One can safely say that success has not yet reached his head. Third place in the slalom cup (which Henrik Kristoffersen won), two world cup wins and a total of four podium places this season did not relax the Norwegian-American.
– If I get too comfortable and think I’ve done the work now, it can quickly fade. You have to keep working, says McGrath.
VG has compared McGrath’s stats with the best world cup drivers from Norway: Henrik Kristoffersen, Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil André Aamodt, Lasse Kjus and Kjetil Jansrud. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, the best alpinist of the last decade, is also on the list.
McGrath is also number three on the list of first place finishers. Bæringen used just 13 World Cup matches before he finished 2nd in the giant slalom race at Alta Badia. Only Kjus (three races) and Hirscher (nine races) did it faster.
One of the factors of his great success was their good friendship with Lucas Braathen and their eternal internal competition. The two super talents have pushed each other over the years and have helped each other to the top of the world.
On Sunday, Braathen took the lead after the first round, but dropped to a disappointing 11th place. Disappointed, it was almost obvious that he immediately went and congratulated his best friend.
– It means more than you can describe. I know how damn it can be. It’s very awkward when you’re leading and falling so far behind in the results list. And he could then just come right over and hug me… We were both so tired and the meat between the rounds made us envious of those who smoked the first round and got the holidays back then, said McGrath.
Right when it comes to running in competition, McGrath (and Braathen) stands out in a negative sense compared to the rest:
McGrath realized that.
– Yes, that’s my focus towards this season of the year. I showed a very good top level last year, but was knocked out a bit. “I had planned to find some stability this season, but it started quite slowly and never gained momentum again,” he said and continued:
– Then I struggled with my thumb and lost a few races, but then came the progress at Schladming where I was second. But it was a slight drop when I smoked in both races at the Olympics, so I decided to take points in all the remaining races of the season. “Now I stand with seven out of seven races in points,” said the youngster.
– I feel I have found very good stability now. Had I not been so tough, I wouldn’t be in a situation where I would have to come up with such a tactical plan.
He said he had a lot of arguments with Sebastian Foss-Solevåg, who he described as “stability”. This has given good results and confidence back for McGrath.
Before next season, he revealed that he would spend many hours training to become more flexible. This means speed training in super-G and downhill, in addition to the fact that he will run all the races during the National Championships in Narvik in just under two weeks.
– Now I will go home for a few days before I go to Narvik, where I will drive all the branches. Then continue on to Kvitfjell to practice speed, he said.
Among other things, he will train with this year’s high-speed skier, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who won the World Cup in super-G and downhill.
– It’s great to be able to train with Aleks. So there I just need to open my eyes and follow closely.
– Will there be a vacation for you this summer?
– There will be a day off in early May. Then I have to go somewhere. I really wanted to go on vacation last year, but it didn’t work out, replied the 21-year-old girl.
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