Over the weekend, Federica Brignone, the 2019-20 overall World Cup champ, caused a stir in her home country when she nonchalantly said in a TV interview that she is contemplating retirement. The season didn’t come easy for Brignone, who had only a single victory and four podiums in 2020-21, compared to a year earlier in which she recorded five wins and six additional podiums. At her home world championships in Cortina, it was a goose egg.
In an interview with RAI TV, after a fourth-place finish the GS, the 30-year-old Brignone shared comments surrounding her uncertain future in ski racing and sent shock throughout her home county of Italy. She said she was tired, drained, and discouraged. Ultimately, she may not return to the start gate next season.
“I’m happy how I ended my season,” said Brignone in the interview. “I really hope that I don’t have to experience another season like the one that has just ended. I’ve lost my motivation. I really need some distance now and hope to find the motivation for training and preparation for the season again. Because, like last time, it makes little sense for me to compete again.”
Perhaps all the motivation isn’t gone. On Tuesday, Brignone picked up her eighth national title in Livigno, a career-first in slalom.
Brignone is relying on a change of head and heart to return to the World Cup circuit next season, and while hopeful she can find the motivation, without that change, she will not be back, according to her comments Sunday.
Meanwhile the Italians said goodbye to one of their own over the weekend, tech specialist Irene Curtoni. The 35-year-old concluded her final World Cup race in the last slalom race of the year. Curtoni had a successful career, representing her home country at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as well as at the World Championships in Val d’Isère (2009), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2011), Schladming (2013), St. Moritz (2017), Are (2019) and Cortina the Elder ‘Ampezzo. She and the team won bronze at the 2019 World Cup. Curtoni was met with a traditional send-off from her teammates, including warm hugs and flowers for her last race representing the Italian flag.