On a short trip to Bahrain, Tamara Tippler is on a break from her usual routine of racing down mountain slopes. She talks about her passion — the driving force in her life.
A self-confessed speed demon and racing junkie, 22-year old Tamara is among the five youngest members of the Austrian Downhill Ski team. She made her debut at the FIS race at 15, represented Austria at the Europe Cup at 18 and first appeared at the World Cup at 21. She tells us why she loves the sport where her mum is too scared to watch her.
WTM: What drew you to skiing?
Tamara Tippler (TT): It’s the most popular sport in Austria. After children have learnt to walk and run, the next thing they do is put on their skis. I started skiing at the age of three and racing down the hills has been my favourite pastime since then. Every morning, I would check the sky outside and beg my mother to allow me to go skiing.
WTM: When did you decide to turn professional?
TT: When I was 14, I realised that skiing was my life and this is all I wanted to do.
WTM: What’s the next big event that you’re looking forward to compete in?
TT: I’m really looking forward to the Winter Olympics in 2015. I want to improve my rankings this year to feature among the top 30 in the world.
WTM: What is your biggest challenge as a sportsperson? How do you deal with it?
TT: The high speed of up to 140 kilometres per hour, different slope conditions and several slopes make it challanging.
There isn’t much time in this sport because it’s all over in two minutes. You need to really concentrate, packing in everything into these two minutes.
Physical fitness and power is the key to success in this sport. I train at least six hours everyday throughout the year.
WTM: What do you tell yourself when you haven’t performed well in a race?
TT: Once a race is over, the next day is always a new day and a new opportunity. At the World Cup earlier this year, I was about four seconds behind world champion Lindsay Vonn and I thought that was great!
WTM: What brings you to Bahrain?
TT: I was invited by Conpeed, my sponsor, an Austrian-owned engineering company based in Bahrain. It’s an amazing place, totally different from my native Austria and the people here are very friendly. I’ve been to the Formula One race track and out in the sea on a speed boat, and loved it. The cars are very impressive as well.
WTM: What’s your ultimate ambition in life?
TT: I want to win the World Cup and an Olympic gold medal for Austria.
WTM: Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
TT: It’s the love of skiing and the thrill of flying down a slope every time that drives me.