Crowd favourite 'Robbo' cracks the big time

THREDBO's glamour boy and up-and-coming alpine ski racer, Sam Robertson, had the biggest race of his life after he qualified for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming in Austria last week.

In his first World Championship, 19-year-old Sam competed and finished the men's Super-G. He finished 55th in a time of 1.31.77 for the 1.885km course, just 7.81 seconds from winner, 2006 Olympic Combined Champion and three time World Cup Giant Slalom Champion, Ted Ligety.

Late addition Gauthier de Tessieres of France and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway took out the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Sam was inspired by the experience.

"Wow, what can I say. It was by far the steepest, iciest, bumpiest, gnarliest track I have ever skied and it took some balls to lay it on the line at such high risk, but damn it was fun and such a great feeling to make it over the finish line," he said.

Sam's parents, Gabi and Tim, were both watching the race and were thrilled with his result.

"He started 75th and ended up 55th and on one pair of borrowed skis. It was so awesome to see Sam's name on the big screen. Never been so scared in my life during the race," said Gabi.

Thrilling and adrenaline pumping, Sam took a lot from the incredible experience.

"Unfortunately I made some big mistakes in the middle section, but that's what can happen when you push it and I wasn't going to leave anything behind.

" That aside, I skied the top really well and was only 1.4 seconds behind Ted Ligety (the winner) at the first split time. And as Jono Brauer said to me today, now everything else will be a walk in the park.

"It's been an amazing 48 hours. Thank you so much to everyone, all my friends and sponsors, for the incredible support you have shown me and the other boys. It has been a wild ride and I couldn't have done it without you".

To make things sweeter, Sam got the thumbs up by the sold out fanatical crowd at the bottom. They interviewed him at the bottom totally out of the blue.

"Sam was a character and the crowd went nuts. I just got funnier and funnier... they loved him... this guy from Australia... It was priceless", Gabi explained.

Sam will see out the end of the racing season in Europe before returning to Australia in late April/May.

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