Alpine skiing-The secret of Swiss success - 'Drink Wine, Ski Fast'

2022 Beijing Olympics - Victory Ceremony - Alpine Skiing - Women's Alpine Combined - National Alpine Skiing Centre, Yanqing district, Beijing, China- February 17, 2022. Gold medallist Michelle Gisin of Switzerland celebrates during the victory ceremony. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

YANQING, China, Feb 17 (Reuters) - In a sport where talk of tactics, strategies and techniques can sometimes sound baffling, the dominant Swiss Alpine ski team has a simple motto - 'Drink wine, Ski Fast'.

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin retained her gold medal in the women's combined on Thursday, sharing the podium with compatriot and silver medallist Wendy Holdener before revealing the secret behind her team's impressive showing in Beijing.

The night before her bronze medal super-G performance, Gisin said she had a glass of wine in the company of Swiss slalom skiers Luca Aerni and Loic Meillard.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

"Then after the race, they wrote on my door 'Drink Wine, Ski Fast'," she said with a grin.

"So, we drank wine again yesterday of course and look at that - it seems to work for me very well," she laughed.

The Swiss success is not, however, a huge surprise, coming after they won nine medals, including three golds, at last year's World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Gisin said they have simply carried that form into the Olympics, the men also enjoying glory with Beat Feuz's downhill gold and Marco Odermatt's giant slalom triumph.

Corinne Suter won the women's downhill and Lara Gut-Behrami took gold in the super-G.

"We had amazing World Championships last year with so many medals, everyone performed at their best and to repeat that at the Olympics on the biggest stage, to win three out of five races and seven out of 15 medals on the women's side plus the victories of Beat and Marco, it is absolutely insane," Gisin said.

"The whole country is celebrating....or I really hope they are celebrating actually."

Swiss team head coach Beat Tschuor revealed that as well as wine, the skiers have also been eating well.

"We had some meat with us, called 'buendnerfleisch' and that is perfect, in the boots, smuggled," quipped Tschuor, who said the air-dried, thin-sliced beef was being consumed every night.

"No beer, but some good food."

The talk of wine and fine food creates a picture of a Swiss team feeling relaxed and at very much at ease during the Games.

"I can't explain it, we just tried to do like always, like how we work in the World Cup....just go for it. We try to do it calm and easy and that works better -- nothing special," Tschuor said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.