- Top pick
Lara Gut-Behrami won two gold and one bronze medal at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Italy in February, catapulting proud ski nation Switzerland back among the world elite. After this memorable achievement, the 30-year-old from Ticino now belongs in the same company as Swiss ski legends Erika Hess and Vreni Schneider. Yet the ambitious Gut-Behrami does not enjoy the same level of popularity as “Golden Vreni” did in the 1990s, not least because she refuses to be pigeonholed, let alone branded as Switzerland’s “ski darling”. From criticising piste conditions to giving monosyllabic answers to journalists – Gut-Behrami has always been regarded by the media as difficult. Her father works as her personal coach – an arrangement that has also raised eyebrows. She likes to do things differently.
Gut-Behrami first burst onto the scene as a talented junior at the age of 17, when she won two silver medals at her first-ever World Championships in 2009. She now has over 30 World Cup race victories to her name. In 2016, Gut-Behrami won the coveted crystal globe after ending the season at the top of the overall standings. However, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament one year later. Her body had “pulled the emergency cord”, she said. She used this unscheduled hiatus to learn more about herself and work out her life goals. One answer came quickly at the registry office, when she married footballer and erstwhile Swiss international Valon Behrami in summer 2018. In Behrami, who is no stranger to the rigours of professional sport himself, she has finally discovered her soulmate. Since then, Gut-Behrami seems to have found a grounding in both her sporting and personal life.