Italy’s Debora Agreiter can become the successor of Italy’s Cross-Country skiing legends Manuela Di Centa, Arianna Follis or Marianna Longa. The young talented skier from Alta Badia could not decide between Athletics (3.000m) and Cross-Country Skiing until six years ago. Luckily she has chosen the winter sport and claimed the first big medal last year at the U23 World Ski Championships in Erzurum, Turkey. FIS Cross-Country News talked to the likable 22-year-old skier after her double medal success (silver and bronze) in U23 at Liberec 2013.
Q: Debora, you won two medals in Liberec. Are you satisfied with your performance?
Debora Agreiter: I am very happy with my results in Liberec. I did not train specifically for the Championships as I competed in many World Cup competitions. I am not only in the U23 team but I am also member of the A squad. So I had to try and perform well in many competitions and not only at the U23 World Championships. It is a great satisfaction for me to have competed in Liberec.
Q: You were strong already last year in Erzurum. What is the biggest difference between Debora in 2012 and 2013?
D.A.: Last year, the success (silver medal in 7,5 km C + 7,5 km F Skiathlon) was a surprise. This year I came to Liberec in a different position, as one of the favorites. It was a new situation for me. I had to think about new things, such as expectations, tactics, pressure. Looking back now to skiathlon in Liberec few days ago (silver medal) I was not prepared for them. The other girls did not ski as fast as I had expected, I was caught in the free technique part and lost the gold medal. I tried my best but I could have skied differently. However, it was a priceless lesson for me.
Q: What was it?
D.A.: That next time, I have to focus only on my performance, on my skiing. I cannot think about how the others girls are doing, how far or close behind they are. That just distracted me from my own performance.
Q: Did you have to cope with the pressure and expectations?
D.A.: Of course there has been a pressure. Italy had great success with Manuela Di Centa, Arianna Follis or Marianna Longa. Now, there are young girls on the team and we have to start from the beginning. It is not easy for us as there is currently no experienced athlete who we could train with, who would push us forward. But we have been working very hard and we are going our own way.
Q: Do you believe you can lead the next generation of Italian ladies in Cross-Country Skiing?
D.A.: I hope so. It is not only me, Virgina De Martin Topranin is also very good too. She is better in classic, I am stronger in the free technique. We have to work hard together and I believe that in some years we can be on the top.
Q: Which aspects of your skiing you feel need to be improved?
D.A.: I have to work on my technique and strength in the upper body. Usually, Italian ladies have become very strong in older age, after 26, and that is the timeline I have had in mind and have worked on with my coaches.
Q: FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme is the biggest highlight of the season. What are your expectations?
D.A.: I am looking forward to competing in Val di Fiemme. After each competition I will take part in, I want to say to myself that I gave my best and performed 100%. I do not know what will be the final result. I know I am not strong enough to be on the top level this year. Each year I want to come little bit closer to the world’s best skiers. My time could come in five years.