While Jasmine Flury sat in the leader box for the St. Moritz super-G, she could hardly believe it. It was written all over her face. The young Swiss athlete had never been on the podium let alone led the pack in a World Cup speed race. Up until Dec. 9, her best result was a fifth-place finish in the Jeongseon World Cup super-G last February, and she had earned a handful of other top 10 results during the season. Flury was an athlete on the cusp of earning a podium result, and then she went from zero to 60, skipping silver and bronze in favor of gold.
“It means a lot,” she recalled. “I worked so many years for that day. It was amazing.”
Since then the Swiss skier has not been able to repeat her performance, but she did land a sixth-place result–tying with teammate Michelle Gisin–in the downhill at Bad Kleinkirchheim from bib 24, a career-best result in that discipline. It was a particularly challenging day with low visibility and a bumpy track that tested the likes of even the most successful World Cup veterans like Lindsey Vonn.
While Flury has not found the consistency of more household names, she is one to keep an eye on heading into February because, as St. Moritz proved, all it takes is one day with the right conditions for a relatively unknown athlete to walk away with the win.
Flury always knew she wanted to be a World Cup ski racer. Like many Europeans, skiing was just part of her family’s life. Born in 1993, Flury was on skis by the age of 3 at Rinerhorn, Switzerland.
“That was very early,” she explained. “I have two sisters and they were also in ski racing, so it was normal that I also want to do that. I always wanted to say I was the best racer on the hill, and that was my goal.”
The Swiss athlete–who loves the movie “Remember The Titans” and her mom’s cooking–realized her dream in January 2014 when she made her World Cup debut at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.
Interestingly enough, her ski racing dreams did not surround the Olympic Winter Games. Many athletes talk about watching the Games as a child and cheering for their heroes as they skied for gold. They say that’s what launched them on their path to glory. It is one of the more cliched narratives out there. Flury does not share that story.
“It was not my biggest goal,” the Swiss skier said. “I just wanted to ski race on the World Cup. That was, for me, the biggest thing. Now, when I am getting older, of course the Olympics is a big goal.”
Based on her super-G and downhill performances this year, she has qualified for the Swiss Olympic team, but as Flury said herself, there’s a difference between being qualified and being officially named to the team.
“You have to be two times top 15 or one time top seven. I’m qualified, but we have so many good girls,” Flury shared in Val d’Isere. “Already in super-G, I think three or four already have it and only four girls can go, but it’s still a lot of races to go.”
If Flury does get named to the Swiss team for PyeongChang, it will mark her first appearance at an Olympic Winter Games. To Flury’s point, the Swiss do have a strong team on the speed side, similar to what fans see on the Italian squad. On any given day, Gisin or Gut or Flury could be the fastest woman on their team. What has made the team so strong this season? Time.
“We’re in the same group like two years ago and now we know the coaches very well and they know us,” she said. “We have a great team spirit now, and also the summer it was great. We had such good training in Chile, La Parva, and I think there’s a rolling stone and it’s getting faster and faster.”
That stone will roll into Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, next for two downhills and super-G on Jan. 19-21.