Livio Magoni, the coach of the recently crowned overall World Cup champion Petra Vlhova, has apologized for unflattering remarks that he made directed at the Slovak star racer.
Magoni reached out to the Slovak sports website www.sport.sk to issue an apology not only to Vlhova, but all citizens of her native Slovakia.
“I especially apologize to all Slovaks and Petra for ruining their great moment of happiness. I feel sorry for all Slovakia. Excuse me,” Magoni said.
The 57-year-old Italian ski coach contends that the inflammatory comments attributed to him in the March 23rd story, published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, were misinterpreted.
In the interview, Magoni was asked to compare Vlhova’s accomplishments to those of other top female racers, to which he replied that Vlhova is only “an iron” in comparison to the “diamonds” that Italian racers Marta Bassino, Sofia Goggia and Federica Brignone are.
Magoni, who has coached the 25-year-old Slovak racer since 2016, attempted to explain in his apology: “I used a special Italian expression to underline that Petra has ‘iron legs,’ not that she is ‘iron.’” He said he was insinuating that Vlhova has a strong feeling for the snow, and the gift and intuition to be able to adapt to conditions, as compared to the other racers.
The Italian ski coach further got himself into hot water comparing his former protégé and 2013 overall World Cup champion, Tina Maze, with Vlhova.
“Tina is complete — whether as an athlete or outside of sport. This page does not exist with Petra,” Magoni said. The journalist also asked his thoughts on her future development and success, and if it was destined. “No, she doesn’t have that in her DNA. In the end, it can only get worse. If she doesn’t keep working hard, that’s exactly what will happen. Tina understood what it took to become a strong personality, Petra didn’t.”
Magoni also informed that nothing is certain pertaining to his continued collaboration with Petra and Ski Team VLHA.
“There will be changes in the team,” Magoni told Corriere della Sera. “But my position is stable and I will make up my mind shortly.”
However, additional, perhaps unnecessary comments, continued to stir the pot.
“I also said that I hadn’t signed a contract with the Slovak association. If a trainer decides to work with Petra, then he signs the contract with the family and basically ‘marries’ the whole family — but not the association,” he said in the apology.
”Basically, far too much importance was attached to this interview and the work and the sporting success has moved into the background.”
Magoni also felt it necessary to point out that Corriere della Sera doesn’t specialize in sports, let alone ski racing.
Vlhova reached out to her fans, the ski racing community, and journalists requesting her response to Magoni and the unexpected remarks that were made public just two days after Ski Team Vlha secured the overall title in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
“The negative statements of my coach Livio Magoni in the Italian media hit us all at a time of absolute joy. I will not go into commenting on them without all of us talking about it and not making our positions clear,” Vlhova wrote.
“Every team, like every family, has its own internal problems. During a season full of emotions, we had them too. However, we have repeatedly used our different opinions to strengthen our team. If we didn’t do better than our competition, we wouldn’t have won the crystal ball. Even now we will not deal with our internal affairs through the media.”
In regards to the incident that has dominated Slovakian sports news, one Slovak journalist commented: “I was quite surprised by some of his quotes — I felt them inappropriate.”
Veronika Pullmanova, who wrote the story including Magoni’s apology said: “Really have no idea why he needed to say those things, but that’s his problem.
“He made a big mess, don’t know why. But he apologized. Case closed.”
Case closed? Perhaps.
However, it remains in question if resentment will linger and how this unfortunate incident might affect the relationship moving forward. It is undetermined whether Petra and her private team will continue cooperation with Magoni next season. Vlhova says she will decide when the time is right.
Could Magoni end up coaching his fellow Italians? He claims “this chapter is closed” regarding working for the Italian Ski Federation, but what about a stint as a private coach for Goggia, Brignone and Bassino or some combination of the talented trio?
Will Magoni ultimately order Bolognese or Halusky? The Italian ski coach implies that it is a matter of taste, but maybe his relationship with Vlhova is now soured.
Vlhova visits presidential palace in Slovakia
As an invited guest of Slovakian president Zuzana Caputova, Petra Vlhova and members of her team visited the Presidential Palace in Bratislava on Tuesday.
Vlhova shared her crystal globe with Caputova and government officials, while enjoying a beautiful day strolling the grounds of the Baroque palace in the Slovakian capital. The Slovak ski racing star presented the president with one of her racing bibs and a pair of Rossignol skis.
Her coach Livio Magoni attended the proceedings.
Vlhova shared a video and thanked the Madam President for the invitation on her social media.
“I will do everything in my power to continue to successfully represent our country and to put that euphoria of this extraordinary success, especially in the promotion of sport and youth,” she wrote.
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