The German team was able to celebrate two gold medals in Beijing: Top talent Linn Kazmaier was the first to cross the finish line in cross-country skiing, as was Anna-Lena Forster in slalom.
Top talent Linn Kazmaier crowned her sensational Beijing Paralympic Games with a gold medal. The 15-year-old won cross-country skiing over 10 km with a lead of 39.5 seconds over Chinese Wang Yue and won her fifth medal in the visually impaired class with guide Florian Baumann on her fifth start.
“It’s totally blatant and pretty unreal,” said Kazmaier: “It was such a tough race, I’m really happy that I got through it.” Before that, she had already won two silvers in biathlon and one silver and one bronze in cross-country skiing. “It wouldn’t have been a broken leg if it hadn’t been gold. I still have so much time,” she said.
“There’s a world natural talent growing up”
“She left no doubt that she is the best in this discipline,” said Friedhelm Julius Beucher, President of the German Disabled Sports Association (DBS), the SID: “That at the age of 15 – that’s when a world natural talent grows up.”
Kazmaier is the youngest German gold medalist at the Paralympic Winter Games, only summer athlete Yvonne Hopf was younger from a German perspective at 14 when she triumphed in Barcelona in 1992. In Beijing she is the youngest German starter and overall the second youngest in the entire field of participants. The absence of the Russian athletes, who are otherwise so dominant in this starting class, also helped her with her successes.
Forster brings second gold medal
Alongside her, flag-bearer Anna-Lena Forster also triumphed in the slalom, securing her second gold. After two solid runs, the monoskier triumphed in her favorite discipline with a lead of 2.32 seconds over Zhang Wenjing from China. In the standing class, Anna-Maria Rieder took bronze, her first ever Paralympics medal.
Anna-Lena Forster: She also won gold – in the slalom. (Source: GEPA Pictures/imago images)
“It’s falling off a lot – it was a blatant day,” Forster told SID: “Because slalom is a very important discipline for me, it was super important for me personally at the end. When I’m at home, that will change put everything first. I can be incredibly proud of myself.”
Forster repeated her double from Pyeongchang with her triumphs in slalom and before that in the super combined, she now has four Paralympic victories in total. In Yanqing, in addition to two gold medals, she also won two silver medals in downhill and super-G, and in giant slalom she only missed bronze by six hundredths. With a total of eleven medals, she is now one of the most successful German athletes at the Paralympics.