A young alpine skier dreams of the Olympics

Training at International Ski Federation (FIS) camps has helped Ieva Januškevičiūtė to achieve a career-best result

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.infoTranslation by Jenn Virškus for kalnuereliai.com

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Ieva Januškevičiūtė was in a good mood during the winter holidays. The 18-year-old recently achieved the best FIS result of any female Lithuanian alpine skier at competitions in Italy. During FIS races held at the mountain resort of Speikboden, the Lithuanian took 19th place in the Slalom, with a result of 104.7 FIS points—points are calculated by time lost to the winning skier, the smaller the difference, the lower the score. No female Lithuanian alpine skier has ever achieved such a low result.

Up until that race, Januškevičiūtė’s best FIS result was 134.03. It was achieved in Slalom races last February held in the Czech republic.

Januškevičiūtė’s two runs in Speikboden had a combined time of 1:31.00. The winning time of 20-year-old Austrian Valentina Fankauser was 1:20.39. Forty-nine skiers started the race, only 23 finished.

In the Giant Slalom race at the same resort, Januškevičiūtė scored a personal best, taking 35th place against a field of 59 skiers (45 finished the race) and scored 136.01 FIS points. In all, Januškevičiūtė competed in four races in Italy, two SL and two GS—she finished only two of them.

In Speikboden, one of Lithuania’s best competed along side other FIS camp participants. “The camp was very useful. Training took place on slopes of varying difficulty, the coaches gave good advice, I had the opportunity not only to watch, but also to train alongside, skiers that are better than me. By communicating and training with athletes from different countries I learned a lot. I learned about skiing, ski preparation, and innovations in physical fitness,” said Januškevičiūtė, who for the first time succeeded during the rigorous selection process and was accepted to the FIS camp, where participants in the Alps are trained every year by Austrian and Italian coaches.

Europe’s most talented young skiers from Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France do not participate in the camps.

This season, Januškevičiūtė has already participated in two stages of the camp—the first began at the end of September, and she returned from the second just before Christmas. The third stage began Jan. 9th.

The skier is happy that the camp does not include only intensive training, but also the opportunity to regularly compete in races—in November and December, she had eight starts in races in Italy. Last winter, Januškevičiūtė competed in only 13 FIS races during the entire season.

The Vilnius resident doesn’t know yet if she will be able to participate in the Lithuanian Alpine Ski Championships set to be held Jan. 12-19 in the Italian resort of Kronplaz, since the FIS camp is held during that time. “If I won’t be too far from Kronplatz and don’t have FIS races at the same time, I would like to participate in Lithuanian championships,” said the skier.

Januškevičiūtė is already slated for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but her result means that she can start to seriously think about the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, since Olympic qualification requires results under 140 FIS points.

“I still haven’t thought much about Sochi. Of course, it’s the Olympic games—every skier’s dream, and mine too, but the most important thing now is to keep improving my results and focus on the coming races. The future will show how everything will be for participation in the Sochi Olympics,” smiled Januškevičiūtė.

The candidate list for the Sochi Olympics already includes one alpine skier, 16-year-old Rokas Zaveckas. He was also accepted to the FIS camps, but is currently out with an injury.