Updated: Thursday, 06 February 2014 01:35 | By Agence France-Presse

It's all downhill for Hoefl-Riesch

It's all about the Olympic downhill at the Sochi Games, according to German star Maria Hoefl-Riesch.


It's all downhill for Hoefl-Riesch

German alpine ski racer Maria Hoefl-Riesch competes during the women's FIS World Cup slalom race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia on February 2, 2014 - by Jure Makovec

The 29-year-old is the defending slalom and super-combined Olympic champion from Vancouver where she became the first woman to finish inside the top 15 in all five events at a Winter Games.

Hoefl-Riesch finished eighth in both the downhill and super-G four years ago, and 10th in the giant slalom, but has turned her sights on the blue-riband event of the alpine skiing line-up.

"My big goal is to make a medal in the downhill. I am really focused," said the German who is also a super-combined world champion (2013) and a slalom world champion (2011).

Hoefl-Riesch has never done better than a bronze medal in the downhill at a major international championship, but the Garmisch-Partenkirchen native has been in impressive form on the World Cup circuit this season.

She claimed double downhill victories in Lake Louise and latterly won in Cortina, also nabbing a second place and three third-place finishes in an extremely consistent showing.

Importantly, she also has form on the piste in Rosa Khutor, the mountain base for the Sochi Games.

"I won the downhill (here) two years ago (in the World Cup event in Sochi) and downhill was the best event this season for me so far and we are starting with some downhill training. I'm excited," she said.

"The downhill (course) I liked a lot, I heard they changed some sections a little bit.

"Two years ago the weather was really bad but now I heard the conditions are really, really good."

Hoefl-Riesch has a packed schedule starting with the first of three downhill training runs on Thursday. 

The super-combined comes on February 10, the downhill two days later, with the super-G slated for February 15, the giant slalom three days after that, and the programme culminating in the February 21 slalom.

"I know of course on the one hand it may be a little bit of a disadvantage because you can't prepare for each event so perfectly," she said of opting to compete in five disciplines.

"But on the other side you don't have the big pressure on just one or two races.

"I have done this (competing in all five disciplines) in all the big championships in the last few years so yes, I will try this time."

She added: "Of course it would be great to win a medal in the (opening) super-combined so the big pressure is off and maybe that opens it all up for something more."

Hoefl-Riesch's German teammate Viktoria Rebensburg was a shock winner of Olympic gold in the giant slalom in Whistler, but her preparations have been hampered by a lung illness, with only a sole podium to his name -- third place in Soelden.

"It has not been as good as it could have been. I had some problems," admitted the 24-year-old.

"However, it is what it is. I have to accept it. This is the past, I look at the future. I feel healthy and strong but I have lost so much time, a lot of training.

"This might be a problem. I will try to get the best out of the last days of training."

Rebensburg said winning gold in 2010 was now behind her.

"Vancouver for me was unbelievable, great and unexpected, but it was four years ago and it is time now to think about the present," she insisted.

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