BBC World Service – 18.01.2020
BBC World Service
– Interview with Noa Szollos
BBC: – It's been a fantastic week of competition for Israel. The country has won its first medals at any level at a Winter Games Israel success has been down to one young woman.
Noa: – Hello, I'm Noa Szollos. I ski for Israel, and I just won a bronze and the silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne. It's absolutely fantastic. I can barely put it into words, so many people have asked me now, and I still don't know how to describe it. It's such a proud feeling. It's been crazy, so many people have messaged me. I can't even answer everyone. There's just so much going on right now.
BBC: – We'll talk about how you won those medals a little a bit later, I want to take you back, though how did you first get into skiing then Noa?
Noa: – My dad used to be a skier. He was a coach in Israel later on. I have two older brothers, so I started skiing with them. We all started at a very young age, at around 2 or 3 years old. Half of the year, I was in Hungary and during the skiing season and winter, we were actually in Austria. You can't really ski in Hungary as there are not many mountains suitable for training, so I started skiing in Austria. I also go to school in Lower Austria, Waidhofen an der Ybbs. It's a School specialized on skiing where we don't have school from December until March, so we can focus on training and races. This way, I don't have to worry about school until I go back in March.
BBC: – That's pretty cool, being able to ski and get away from school for a few months.
Noa: – Yeah, I mean who would want to sit in school when you can ski all around the world.
BBC: – What was the moment you thought? “I can do this competitively…”
Noa: – I think the moment that I knew, or at least thought that I could do this was when I won my first international children's race in Andorra. I was so happy to be the best out of all those countries. It was a huge moment for me.
BBC: – And if we take you full of Noa to competing now at the Youth Winter Olympics and winning your first medal the bronze in the super-g. What do you remember from that winning run how challenging was it what did you experience there?
Noa: – On the top, I was kind of slow, so I didn't know what to think during the run. And when my coach got down to the finish, he was like: "when your dad told me that you got in first, I thought he was kidding because you looked so slow at the top I thought you would get in last." And I just had to laugh so much because when I skied through the finish line, and I saw the 1st place I couldn't believe it either, I thought someone was pulling a terrible prank on me. But when I realized that it was true, I felt so happy. I felt like a little child who found some chocolate at home. I felt like I finally found my chocolate.
BBC: – What you got is a little bit more than chocolate. It was bronze!
Noa: – Of course, it was frustrating when these two amazing girls pushed me down to third place, but considering my mistakes, I'm still very happy and amazed by the fact that I was only nine-hundredths of a second from grabbing gold.
BBC: – Well bronze and then silver in the Alpine combined this is surely beyond your wildest dreams and of what you could achieve.
Noa: – The Alpine combined was an even bigger surprise because usually, slalom is my weakest discipline, so coming into the finish in the second position and then staying there, I couldn't believe it. It was probably an even bigger surprise than the Super G. I finally put together two perfect runs. I've been trying for so many years now, and it all came together perfectly.
BBC: – Where can you go now? Are you looking at the Olympics in 2022 is Beijing a target? What more do you think you can achieve?
Noa: – I'll probably go to Beijing, I think I have a pretty good chance at qualifying, but I'm not thinking about getting a medal yet. I don't think I could hold on to the best in the world. I'll be happy to be there. But I'm looking forward to the future. In four or five years I hope that I'll be part of the World Cup and I hope I'll be able to compete with the best. I'm looking forward to the 2026 Olympics. I hope that I'll have another success story there.
BBC: – Well, we wish you the very best for the future! Before you go there, now just confirm for me, you can ski in Israel, can't you?
Noa: – Obviously there is enough snow to ski on the mountains in Israel but sadly it only lasts for around two months and for me there aren't enough possibilities to train there, but I hope I'll be able to ski there one day.
BBC: – ah, I see, but there is snow you can go and get your skis in Israel.
Noa: – Yes.
BBC: – You've had an incredible time in Lausanne. Thank you so much for talking to us Noa.
Noa: – Thank you very much!
BBC: – That is Israel's Noa Szollos, she won silver and bronze at the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, the first Winter Games medals at any level for Israel!