To tread in the footsteps of high-achieving people is always special. In this year’s Winter World Masters Games, the participants went one better… they competed in the same venues in which Winter Olympic Games Champions tasted glory.
The city of Innsbruck has welcomed the Winter Olympic Games twice previously. In 1964 Tryol’s capital welcomed 1,091 athletes from 36 nations, and in 1976 1,123 athletes from 37 nations to compete for gold.
In 2012, Innsbruck also hosted the Winter Youth Olympic Games – the first event of its kind. This honour made Innsbruck the first city to host three winter Olympic events, cementing its reputation as one of the world’s premier destinations for winter sport.
So, for the third edition of the Winter World Masters Games, Innsbruck provided an experienced host. In 2020, two Olympic venues have been used again: the Patscherkofel – used for Alpine Skiing and Ski Mountaineering – and Olympiaworld, the venue for Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating.
Both venues are steeped in history, having provided Olympians such as Egon Zimmermann, Knut Johannesen and Franz Klammer with gold medals.
For the Masters athletes here in Innsbruck the Games open up a special opportunity. Being able to compete in the same venues as former Olympic champions is a dream come true for many participants. It’s a memory they can take home and cherish, much to the envy of their friends!
A mere gondola ride from the fairy-tale village of Igls, Patscherkofel hosted the downhill at both Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. Once at the top you’re welcomed by stunning views over Innsbruck, the Stubai, Wipp and Inn Valleys, as well as the towering peaks scattered around the surrounding landscape.
Patscherkofel has an inviting choice of groomed and off-piste runs and not to mention some beautiful tree skiing. Of course, there is the Olympic run, where many Olympians have raced to glory.
The Masters athletes may have felt for a fleeting second what it must have been like to ski to Olympic gold, swooping down smooth slopes between ice-frosted trees to the base. There, they can catch the Olympia Express chairlift back up to do it all again.
Patscherkofel has seen some fascinating Olympic stories, but none more so than that of Italian bobsleigh pilot Eugenio Monti in 1964. It was at Patscherkofel that Monti distinguished himself by helping Britain’s Tony Nash and Robin Dixon to win gold when he loaned them an axle bolt to replace one that was broken. The Italians took bronze, but Monti was honoured as the first recipient of the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship.
A truly inspirational venue.
OlympiaWorld Innsbruck is a multi-purpose sports facility complex. It opened in 1963 and served as the Olympic Park of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, as well as the 2012 and Winter Youth Olympic Games.
At the Winter World Masters Games, athletes will take to the ice in OlympiaWorld to compete in Figure Skating and Short Track, skating within the same walls as Olympic Figure Skating Champions Dorothy Hamill and John Curry.
It was at OlympiaWorld that American figure skater Terry Kubicka attempted – and completed – a dangerous backflip in Figure Skating.
We’ve yet to see a Master attempt a back flip…
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