Portugal Colonial - Stopping the traffic: Strolz to put police work on hold after Olympic medals

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Stopping the traffic: Strolz to put police work on hold after Olympic medals
Stopping the traffic: Strolz to put police work on hold after Olympic medals

Stopping the traffic: Strolz to put police work on hold after Olympic medals

Austria's Johannes Strolz expects to put his work as a traffic policeman on hold after earning his second medal of the Beijing Olympics with silver in the slalom on Wednesday.

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Since 2014, Strolz has on the books of the police force in the pretty town of Dornbirn, in western Austria.

The 29-year-old even went back to police duties after being cut from the Austrian team last winter.

But after winning an Olympic silver medal in the slalom to add to the gold in the alpine combined he earned last week, Strolz is set to put his police career on the back burner to focus on skiing.

"I have to talk to the coaches from the Austrian ski team and make a plan for the upcoming season, then see how much time is left for police work," he said, after collecting his second medal of the Games behind Frenchman Clement Noel.

"I really want to visit my colleagues from the police station in Dornbirn and celebrate with them, but the main focus will remain on ski racing."

With his remarkable showing in China, Strolz has emulated his father Hubert, who also won gold in the combined and a silver in the giant slalom at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Strolz's success comes despite being axed from the Austrian ski team after finishing just three out of 10 World Cup races in the 2020-21 season.

He returned to elite-level racing last December and his victory in the slalom at Adelboden, Switzerland, in January secured his spot on Austria's Olympic team.

"They have obviously not been easy years for him," said Paul Schwarzacher, Austrian team coach.

"Everybody is incredibly pleased. It's a great story."

Strolz trained with the German team after being discarded by the Austrians, which helped rebuild confidence.

"I learnt to trust myself during the summer because I was alone in preparing for the season," he said.

"The German team helped me so, so much. It was heart- warming to get such support from rivals.

"If I had trained with the Austrian team I would have put a chip on my shoulder and felt like I had to perform.

"With the Germans it was more relaxed and I was able to focus on myself."

Strolz insists on preparing his own skis, which is unusual at the elite level where teams have specialist technicians.

"The Austrian federation made me an offer to get a full service again to prepare my skies, but I decided to keep doing it myself," he explained.

"I needed the feeling in the starting gate that everything is like I am used to it, even though it’s a lot of work."

Strolz even prepared his own skis on the eve of Wednesday's two-legged slalom races -- he trusts no-one else.

"The sharpening of the edges, the most important thing in slalom and the last piece of the puzzle, was in my hands," he said.