Neureuther and Straßer in the podcast: “Last Generation” in Gurgl – Climate protection protest “in the wrong place”

As of: November 22, 2023 11:53 a.m

A climate protection protest by the “Last Generation” led to the interruption of the Slalom World Cup in Gurgl on Saturday. Former ski racer Felix Neureuther and slalom ace Linus Straßer question the meaning of the campaign.

The protest action of the “Last Generation” is still keeping the Alpine skiing world busy four days after the World Cup race in Gurgl. “It is claimed that it is a non-violent protest,” said Linus Straßer on “Pizza & Fries”, the BR24Sport podcast with Felix Neureuther and Philipp Nagel. Straßer had already reached the finish line at the start of the slalom in Gurgl when a group of activists gained access to the finish line and spread colored powder on the snow.

Climate protest: “The whole thing will then become dangerous”

“Just because it is physically non-violent doesn’t mean that there is no violence. There is definitely violence behind it,” said Straßer. The DSV rider received approval from Felix Neureuther: “In my opinion, skiers are all children of the mountains and they have a very high awareness of nature and the environment. In my opinion, this protest was simply in the wrong place and in the wrong place.”

The race in Gurgl was interrupted for several minutes due to the incident. The remaining drivers had to wait in the starting house for the competition to resume. The Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who was already at the finish at this point, wanted to confront the activists and had to be held back by law enforcement officers.

Kristoffersen “is a bit over the mark shot out”

“Henrik may have overstepped the mark a bit, although I also understand his intention behind it,” said Straßer about the strong emotional reaction of his slalom competitor. As a skier, “who dedicates his whole life to this, you are thrown out of your rhythm. Of course, that’s not very beneficial for the guys who were up there.”

Neureuther would generally like to see more constructive communication in the debate. “If you ask 100 people on the street about climate protection, sustainability, anything else, 99 percent will tell you: ‘Hey cool’,” says the BR winter sports expert. Actions like those in Gurgl “just annoy people and so I think that completely misses the point.”

“Massively attacked”: Neureuther criticizes the culture of debate

When it comes to arguments about climate protection in winter sports, “it’s either just black or white,” said Neureuther: “You can’t even express your opinion without being immediately shoved into a crass drawer or immediately massively attacked.” Neureuther had it a few weeks ago Criticized the timing of the start of the World Cup in Sölden and called for a later start to the season.

“Immediately comes: ‘Wow, Neureuther wants to destroy skiing.’ (…) Why can’t you just talk to each other normally? Why are you immediately labeled as an activist?” asked Neureuther.

Gurgl “the most sustainable race of the year”

The 2005 team world champion also defended the organizers of the slalom in Gurgl, which was part of the World Cup for the first time. “They use 100 percent renewable energy. This is the most sustainable race of the year, they are also partners of Green Event Austria.” The World Cup was given the title “Green Event” because, among other things, it is heated with pellets and the electricity for the cable car is 100 percent ecological, as the organizers in Gurgl had emphasized in advance.

From Neureuther’s point of view, the group could have “drawn attention to the sustainable approach of the event, that the way they did it is the right way.” The climate activists of the “Last Generation Austria” defended their behavior afterwards: “We interrupted the race, not for fun or to put the skiers at a disadvantage, but because we don’t know what else to do! (. ..) We are heading towards a catastrophe and our managers are letting us down. Time is running out.”

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Source: BR24Sport on the radio November 22nd, 2023 – 10:55 a.m