Alpine skier Lucas Braathen is the latest winter sports star to emerge from Norway. Here’s everything you need to know about Lucas.
Hailing from the scenic terrains of Norway, Lucas Braathen is an alpine skier who's caught the world's attention not only for his prowess on snow-covered slopes but also for his recent ventures off the track.
The young alpinist, with a blend of talent and courage, has been a significant figure in the skiing circuit, with high hopes attached to his name.
With age on his side and talent in abundance, Braathen has already showcased his potential to be among the greats of Norwegian skiing. His race victories and impressive timings on the track make him a force to be reckoned with in international alpine skiing.
A breakthrough talent
Lucas Braathen first caught the eyes of the skiing world at the tender age of 18 when he clinched second place at the Norwegian national championships.
This remarkable feat drew the attention of four-time Olympic champion Kjetil André Aamodt, who promptly advised that this young talent be inducted into the national team.
Heeding this advice, just six months later, Braathen made a notable World Cup debut in Val-d’Isère in December 2018, securing a position among the point earners and marking his entrance onto the international stage.
However, it was in January 2020 that he truly solidified his rising star status. Competing at Kitzbühel, he stunned many by finishing the first slalom run in the lead. While he eventually placed fourth, his performance had journalists buzzing.
When asked to identify himself, he confidently declared beside the esteemed slalom racer Henrik Kristoffersen, “I'm the next big thing!”
Today, Braathen is recognized as one of the elite skiers in both slalom and giant slalom.
His prowess isn't limited to these categories, though; in his debut speed event, he achieved a commendable seventh place in the Super-G at Beaver Creek, signaling a potential future challenge for the overall World Cup title.
Chalking up the wins
In the slalom at Wengen 2022, Lucas went from 29th place in the first run to win, the largest jump to victory on record.
He began the 2022/23 season in style, picking up first places in the Val d'Isère slalom, the Alta Badia giant slalom and the Adelboden slalom.
Controversy in Norway
Lucas Braathen, along with a few of his contemporaries, is at the forefront of a significant dispute with Norges Skiforbund (Norwegian Ski Federation). The root of the contention lies in the rights of alpine skiers concerning their image rights.
The Federation's 2022 declaration seemed to be in favor of the athletes, indicating they should have more influence over how their image rights are managed in commercial agreements. Yet, Lucas and his colleagues are still awaiting a revised contract that aligns with these principles.
In 2023, Braathen became the talk of the town when he took part in an advertisement campaign for a brand competing with one of Norges Skiforbund's partners.
This move drew criticism and concern from fellow athletes and others associated with the skiing world. The involvement was seen as untimely and contentious, especially considering the ongoing friction with the Federation.
Lucas's father is among his family members who have been vocal in understanding and respecting the reactions from fellow national team skiers regarding the controversial advertisement, emphasizing Lucas's loyalty and dedication to the alpine community's cause.
Beyond the slopes
Outside of his skiing pursuits, Lucas Braathen exhibits a keen interest in fashion and personal style, setting him apart from many of his peers.
In an interview with Red Bull, he expressed a fondness for cultivating his personal style, showing that his flair isn't limited to just the ski slopes:
“Fashion is subjective. Skiing is about hundredths of seconds, podiums, winning. I look for the polar opposite in the other worlds within my life. I want to be able to express myself the way I like there. I need that to be a good skier.”
“When the ski season is over, I have to be able to get as far away from my life as a professional sportsman as quickly as possible in order to come back motivated later. Every day I spend with friends who have nothing to do with skiing makes me a better skier.”