Matts Olsson feels relaxed about the current season. And there’s a reason. The last two seasons have gone well, really well actually. Olsson has recorded a series of top ten finishes as well as his first World Cup victory in Alta Badia in December 2017.
– I think the last two years have been good. I am especially happy about the consistency of my performances.
The 30-year-old hasraced the World Cup since 2007 and been in the top 30 in the giant slalom rankings since 2009. The last two seasons is when he reached another level and indeed finished 5th in the season giant slalom World Cup rankings in 2018. This season, he started with a 6th place finish Beaver Creek, followed by a third place finish in Val d’Isère on Saturday.
– It’s great that the season has started so well. I felt that I could master what went well last year, and that makes me think I can do it again this year.
The current good formis not something to take for granted. Matts lost the entire season 2015/16 after an ACL injury that required serious rehab. When he returned in the Fall of 2016 he began to move to a consistently high level.
– I had no massive complications on my return but I’ve had to work to get here and to stay at this level. It takes time but it also feels good. Now I do what I want, I do not need to think about working on something in particular but rather I can train what I need.
It comes as no surprise that Olsson’s goal is to win a medal at Åre 2019 in February. To have that chance, he needs good results in the World Cup which ensure a good start position at the World Championships.
Do you feel pressured to perform well at the home World Championships?
– Some people feel pressured when they sense the expectation to perform but we will see how it pans out when we are at the World Championships. I hope to manage the pressure by having a good season and a starting position that allows me to race for the title.
Matts Olsson describes himself as a laid-back person and does not really care about external pressure. His years of experience make him feel comfortable with the situation and that makes him one of the Swedish names expected to perform well at the World Championships in February.
– In the final analysis you are the one putting pressure. You are the one who will feel the greatest disappointment too. I think there is some benefit to having done this for a while. There are a few things you do not even think about when you have been doing this for a few years.
What do you like to say to the Swedish fans?
– Everyone should come to Åre so we can have a real party together. If you can turn the event into a party you also get so much more out of it as a visitor. Then it’s not just a sports event you watch but an experience you enjoy overall.
Matts Olsson in a nutshell
Born: 1 December 1988 in Karlstad
Lives: in Karlstad
Ski Team Sweden Alpine: ”We’ve always had a great time on the team. I think that’s why we stick with it. It’s easy to travel around with the gang and they’ve always been good people.”
The guy to beat in giant slalom: ”I have no real rivals but everyone wants to beat Marcel Hirscher. If you do that, you know you will be up there!”
Time off from skiing and training: ”I actually don’t do much when I am off; I am quite good at taking it easy and I have don’t have any cool hobbies that I invest a lot of time into. I like the lifestyle of an athlete and I prefer to focus and plan my time to perform at my best when it counts and to become a better skier.”