Sofia Goggia and her hunger for victory

The Italian downhill skier among trophies and obstacles

Home Life People interviews Sofia Goggia and her hunger for victory

Sofia Goggia won't stop. She is always “hungry” for victory, and those she's already achieved are in fact never enough. Born in 1992, she is one of the most successful Italian alpine skiers ever: Olympic champion in 2018 in the downhill in Pyeongchang, four downhill World Cups and two world medals. She holds a record of 13 podiums won in a single World Cup season. Behind the scenes, however, there are also endless sacrifices, falls and obviously injuries like the one she suffered at the beginning of the year during a training session at Ponte di Legno. Here, she suffered a fracture of her right shin and malleolus, forcing her to a forced stop less than two weeks before the Alpine Ski World Cup round in Crans Montana. That's just how it goes for Sofia Goggia: a discipline of speed, beautiful and free yet solitary and dangerous. In her first accident on the slopes, she was just 15 years old and tore her cruciate ligament and broke her right knee. The year after she tore her meniscus. And the list goes on. As usual, however, this time too the Italian downhill skier got back up and resumed her activity, as fast, free and ready to claim her next victory as ever.

When you're going downhill at those speeds, what do you think about?

The pleasure of the descent is precisely to feel the speed that penetrates your bones. When I manage bends well, I feel pure satisfaction, total fulfilment, and I don't think about anything at all. Indeed, sometimes I almost hum.

Along with the victories you're used to reacting to injuries. How were you feeling before the last fall?

My career is unfortunately full of many injuries, on seven occasions I have been forced to undergo surgery. Before the last fall, however, I felt good, I was in shape. In the giant slalom I was doing really well and I had a good lead at the top of the downhill ranking. That's why it was so hard to agree to end the season so far in advance.

And when did you realise you were hurt? How did you react?

I couldn't feel my foot in my ski boot any more: I immediately realised something was seriously wrong and at first you don't know how to deal with the next moments. The first 20 days were really dark times, then it was time to react. And so I did, without ever giving up for a second.

In light of all these ups and downs, in sport would you say that you need talent or sacrifice more?

I say talent is certainly necessary, but without sacrifice you won't get anywhere in today's sport. One must do one's work religiously. I have always put myself and all my passion into getting the results I've achieved.

You get to train and compete in some breathtaking scenery. How do you perceive climate change from the mountains?

It is perceived at the beginning of the season when you notice that the snowfalls are taking longer and longer to arrive, and again at the end of the winter with the sudden changes in temperature. On occasion I've competed in places that had a white strip of snow on the slope flanked by greenery.

Let's get back to you. Tell us about one of your life hacks in preparation for a competition?

I don't have one in particular. I'd say do what it takes to perform in the best way. I am deeply convinced that in life work represents the only real social elevator and that in the end work is still the one thing that pays off and rewards you, always.

You and Federica Brignone are the most successful Italians ever in the Alpine Ski World Cup. How does that feel?

We are two winning skiers. We have triumphed in different disciplines and have climbed many podiums together. It's a good feeling but skiing remains an individual sport, so I'm always focused on my descent. What unites us in any case is that victories are never enough for us. We are always hungry for more.

What's your next goal now?

First of all, my leg needs to heal completely. Only then will we establish the next upcoming competitive goals.

If she hadn't become a skier, who would Sofia Goggia have been?

It's hard to imagine what I could have become. Sometimes I say I could have been a tennis player, and now it's quite fashionable. As for me, however, the important thing is to remain Sofia Goggia always.