So the season started. I was 17 years old and had just had my first autumn with the Swedish Ski Team. My best result the year before on a European Cup was a 50th place, like 11 seconds after the winner. This year I started with a 2nd place. And then a 3rd. I remember it like yesterday. I got called in to my coaches’ room at the hotel. They sat down and talked to me and said: “Sara, you will race the next World Cup race”. My dream came true! I could not stop smiling for a week. It was around Christmas time and the whole week I just ate gingerbread that I tried to divide into three pieces so I would get luck before the race. Not superstitious at all. Or just a great reason to eat a lot of gingerbread.
Before the race I got to train with the World Cup team, at that time, more idols than friends. I remember that they made a great impression being so nice to me. The race was taking place in Åre. I went to school there at that time and a home race is for sure always an advantage. The day before the race we had a press conference. I had a hard time. I was very nervous and apparently had no idea what to answer to the questions. The reporter asked me what it was like to be with the team and I answered: ”Great, you can learn a lot of stuff”. Then obviously the next question was: ”What kind of stuff?” Well, I had not thought about that. Everybody in the room looked curiously at me waiting for an answer. The clock ticked, still quiet. My head was all empty and I started to hmm and sweat! So thank god, Anja Pärson stepped in and started to joke.
At the inspection the next day, I could hardly focus because I was so excited. My coach, Hans Ottosson, pushed me in the right direction so it all went fine in the end.
I started 59, pretty late. It was kind of bumpy and me being nervous did not make it better. Normally I do not think about getting tired while skiing, but this race I remember almost falling into the finish because I was so tired. I could hardly stand up anymore. I had a great fight in the course though, and just so much fun. I was 27th after first run so that made me qualify for the second run! Very great result and in the second I skied very well and finished 22nd!