Feature | Alpine Skiing

Marta Bassino: From GS specialist to overall World Cup contender

Speaking exclusively to Olympic Channel, the 24-year-old Italian explains how she's become one of the most complete skiers on the women's World Cup circuit.

By Alessandro Poggi ·

In just over a year, Marta Bassino has made an astounding transition from promising alpine skiing talent to the new star of the women's World Cup circuit.

Last season, despite a campaign cut short by the pandemic, she made the podium six times in three months.

That included her first win, in the giant slalom in Killington, USA, in November 2019.

Bassino became the first Italian woman to achieve top-three finishes in five different disciplines, and she's set for even bigger things this season.

The 24-year-old has already claimed two victories, both in her favoured giant slalom at Soelden and Courchevel, as well as her first points in slalom (in Levi, Finland).

So how has this GS specialist become an all-rounder in such a short time?

Bassino told Olympic Channel, "Everything starts from the giant slalom for me. If I can do well there, if I ski 'balanced', then I can do well also in the other disciplines.

"In slalom and speed, it doesn't come that natural like in giant slalom, but with a lot of work, training and small adjustments I know I can be competitive there too. This is how I developed last season, you just need to adapt your style to other disciplines."

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The Italian tried to explain the reasons for her recent success:

"I think it's a mix of factors. You need to be fit and physically prepared: I worked a lot over the summer to be able to cope with the demands of an intense season. You need to have a solid technique and a strong mind, because it's your mind which controls everything. If your mind knows what to do, then your body will follow."

"It's been a gradual process; I always did the same things and the results were meant to come." - Marta Bassino

Marta Bassino competing during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

A strong Italian team

Bassino has been training with Italy's elite team which includes PyeongChang 2018 downhill gold medallist Sofia Goggia and Federica Brignone, GS bronze medallist in Korea and last season's overall World Cup winner.

The 2014 junior world champion said, "It's always been an honour to be able to train with them and be part of their team. They are two very strong athletes, very determined and hardworking.

"I admire them because they always try to improve, to raise the bar and that’s what makes you a better skier.

"Of course, a strong team is helpful for everyone. It helps the athletes to improve, it helps the whole team to continue to be strong. When you have a group of strong athletes willing to train and test themselves, everyone is motivated to keep a high level.

"When someone is going faster one day in training, then you try to understand she does so you can improve yourself. So it’s a process that helps the whole team to grow and if things are done in the right way, everyone can benefit from it."

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Targeting Beijing 2022

Bassino made her Olympic debut at PyeongChang, finishing fifth in the giant slalom.

"The Olympics for me represent what I lived in PyeongChang as an athlete. That was an amazing event, an experience I hope I can enjoy again.

"The race itself is just another race, but the atmosphere, the Olympic Village, everything is different from the World Cup. In PyeongChang it was even more special because it was on the other side of the world."

Beijing 2022 is just over a year away, and the Italian believes she knows what to do to make the podium this time:

"I think the best way to be ready at the Olympics is to perform well during the World Cup season. You can't say, 'I just focus on this event,' and neglect the other races. At the end of the day it's the World Cup races that get you ready for the Olympics."