Story contributed by Patrick Lang.
More than a dozen women have managed to achieve ski racing’s most prestigious hat-trick clinching Gold at the Winter Olympics and World Championships as well as the Overall World Cup title. Only a few of them were 25 or younger when they accomplished this feat! Foiur year after her maiden World title in combined at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, she won her second consecutive gold medal in Super-G after her superb Olympic victory in Super-G at Sochi.
Austria’s Anna Fenninger became last winter the latest member of this exclusive club. It was not really a surprise for her entourage and international ski experts who have all been waiting this to happen sometime sooner or later. The determined athlete from south of Salzburg had already shown her impressive talent at a younger age, excelling at the ‘Topolino Trophy’ in Italy and the ‘Whistler Cup’ in Canada’s British Colombia in 2004.
In the following seasons she clinched several gold medals at FIS Junior World Championships and two overall Europa Cup titles when she was 16 and 17 years old. Less than two years after her World Cup debuts at Levi, in Finland, Anna enjoyed her maiden podium on the main alpine circuit in January 2009 as she finished 2nd in a Super-G at Cortina d’Ampezzo behind Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby. A few weeks later she just missed a medal at the FIS Worlds at Val d’Isère finishing in 4th in that specialty.
Anna didn’t make the top-10 at the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver and had to wait January 2011 to reach another podium in downhill on the tricky course at Zauchensee, near Altenmarkt, then again in Super-G at Cortina d’Ampezzo. The confidence she gained with those results strongly helped her to ski at her best at Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the 2011 FIS Worlds where she beat all the favourites to win the Super-combined!
At the beginning of the following season she finally managed to celebrate her first World Cup win in giant slalom at Lienz, Austria. A strong series of six podium finishes propelled her to 5th place in the overall World Cup standings in March 2012 – and become the new leader in her team.
She moved up to 3rd place the following year marked by strong results in her best disciplines, including her first win in Super-G on the treacherous course at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in March 2013. A few weeks earlier she had confirmed once more her willpower claiming bronze in giant slalom at the FIS Worlds at Schladming after skiing out in Super-G and in Super-combined - and ending a distant 11th in downhill.
Last season, Anna struggled again at Sochi in the first Olympic races yet fought back with blistering performances in Super-G and giant slalom, capturing gold and silver after disappointing results in the previous competitions – DNF in downhill and 8th place in Super-combined. An extraordinary moment for sure for the tiny athlete that had worked so hard for many years to reach that prestigious summit!
Yet it was only the beginning of a superb firework … Scoring a total of 500 points in six races during the last weeks of the 2014 World Cup season, Anna took advantage of the misfortunes of her main rivals for the overall victory to become the first Austrian since Nicole Hosp in 2007 to clinch the big crystal globe.
Anna Fenninger also gained much public attention in recent years with many other activities that allowed her to promote her image as an outgoing, very modern and attractive woman who wishes to take care of her environment.
Many Austrian publications printed beautiful front-page pictures of her in very feminine outfit or riding her Harley Davidson. Two years ago, her fans were very interested in her campaign in favor of endangered species in Africa – the cheetahs. She even traveled to Namibia to meet representatives of CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) and take photos with some of the animals… This winter she also plans auction with some of her Bolle helmets to keep on promoting her engagement with that goodwill organization.
Anna Fenninger (AUT) 18.6.1989 Hallein/Salzburg 1,66 m / 64 kg.
Junior World Champion 4 Gold in combined (2), Super-G, giant slalom 2006 - 2008
Overall Europacup Champion 2006, 2007, 3rd 2008 – 14 victories.
Overall World Cup Champion 2014 – 9 victories.
Winter Olympics: Gold Super-G, silver giant slalom - Sochi 2014
Austrian Sportswoman of the Year 2013- 2014
‘Skieur d’Or AIJS’ 2014