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For Ana Noelle Wahleithner, the honor of representing the Philippines and competing against great skiers is already an achievement. However, that does not mean that she will stop trying to improve to get better.
Wahleithner finished 33rd in the Women’s Slalom and 36th in the Women’s Giant Slalom. On paper, that performance hardly merits recognition. But then again, the chance to compete against seasoned skiers allows her to find out where she needs to improve. She hopes to address these before the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“At the time of the races, I skied to the best of my abilities in the GS and Slalom courses,” said Wahleithner.
For Ana, there were conditions beyond her control. However, she did try to make the necessary adjustments.
“The condition of the course is very different from what I race and train on in the US. As a result, the snow was injected with salt and water, allowing it to harden overnight. I had to spend more time than usual to sharpen my skis so that I could get my skis to properly grip into the snow,” the 17-year-old explained.
“Finishing 33 and 36 was successful considering the course conditions and being able to finish the races on both runs for each,” Wahleithner added.
Correcting mistakes this year
Wahleithner plans to use the rest of the regular season to train and race on hard surface courses in the United States and Asia. She hopes her sacrifice can churn a better showing at the Beijing Olympics.
“I have a lot to work on in my skiing, but I especially want to work on my GS Skiing to improve my speed going forward. I also need to train and race in hard surface courses like in the YOG to be better prepared for future major races,” she said.
Ana expressed her gratitude to the Filipino community for supporting them in the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. She also hopes that the Philippine Sports Commission can provide support similar to what Filipino SEA Games athletes got.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the Philippines for their support and blessings. Being a pioneer in Alpine skiing for women in the YOG takes a lot of sacrifice for the athletes and family. I pray that the Philippine Sports Commissioner will find it in his heart to support this sport just as they have done for those who participated in SEA Games. We also represent the future of winter sports for the Philippines and I think it’s important us to be supported,” she concluded.