February 3, 2023

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“I go back to Italy? Not in my thoughts. In Albania I have good support” – OA Sport

First World Cup giant and 17th in Killington, moreover at the age of 16: things for his destiny. Lara KulturiIt was on everyone’s lips for weeks. He was an avowed talent known for quite some time: in the youth categories he didn’t leave even a crumb to his opponents. It proved a rough diamond that deserved further stages and the start of a major alpine skiing rink.

It took Lara Kulturi three World Cup races (she also competed in the Levi’s slalom) before reaching qualifying for heat two and the next points zone: American Mikaela Shiffrin pulled through in the fourth attempt, Petra Velhova in the first. Important comparisons, maybe too much, however It is useful to compare very rare examples for accuracy.

The daughter of Olympic champion Daniela Ciccarelli, as she is known, has decided to compete for Albania, despite being very Italian: a choice that has sparked debate, and Lara Kulturi herself has explained to us.

Did you expect, in the third race in the World Cup, to get close to the top fifteen and achieve the fourth fastest time in qualifying?
I did not expect such a result, no. My goal was to have fun and experience. The first heat was pretty windy, but I was able to give it my all. In the second I think I could have done better, but I’m very happy“.

Is giant at the moment your main specialty? What do you need to improve aliasing?
I think there are no big differences between giant and slalom, in the sense that, looking at Levi, I haven’t gone far in qualifying and I feel good in training.“.

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Will we see you competing in any Super G this year?
I think so, I like speed and I’ve already trained and competed in South America as well. I have to be present in St. Moritz it’s also a place I’m particularly interested in, I trained there and I will definitely train there again“.

Albania has no traditions in winter sports. How do you see there and what is your relationship with the local media and the masses?
Excellent, there is a lot of interest and enthusiasm, both from the media and on social media and with all the people I’ve met, as well as in the institutions“.

Many argue that you can trace the career of Vlhova and Shiffrin. Are these comparisons weighing you down or is this really where you want to go?
I don’t believe in comparisons, everyone has their own way and I don’t listen much to this stuff. I want to continue having fun on skis, gaining experience, traveling and getting to know new places. I don’t pressure on results or career prospects“.

Do you miss not being able to wear the blue jersey or don’t think about it?
I don’t think about it, it’s not something I experience as a national football team, there have been manipulations and reflections that I’m away from. Skateboarding is ultimately an individual sport, as is tennis, golf, and many other sports“.

In the future, would you like to ski again in Italy, your country?
This is not on my mind now. I don’t even know what races and activities I’m going to do in a month, it’s also a good idea to evaluate opportunities as they arise, without looking too far ahead. I am interested in continuing to skate, and do what I love“.

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Are you convinced that you made the right decision with Albania?
I am glad to be able to continue skiing with my parents, who coach me, and sometimes with my brother Yuri, who also skis. I was well supported and was able to participate in the Copa America and also make my debut in the World Cup. But there is no brainer on our part as to what if we take a chance and now things are going well“.

Interview by Edoardo Diamantini

Interview with Daniela Ciccarelli

Photo: Andrea Cappelletti