Thomas Dreßen fought back tears.
At the start, at the finish, during the interviews – the best German downhill skier had a hard time holding back his emotions.
"Whoa, unbelievable, really," he said, visibly moved, "for me it's just so nice that I can be back now."
There, that was the Lauberhorn classic from Wengen, where Dreßen was a proud 2.22 seconds behind the outstanding winner of the day, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.
But his 23rd place was irrelevant.
While Kira Weidle equaled her best World Cup result in this discipline in seventh place at the Super-G in St. Anton, the return alone was a success for Dreßen.
"It's quite emotional for me," he said, kissing the cheering 25,000 fans at the finish line.
For the 29-year-old, it was the first race in the Bernese Oberland since 2020. At the start of the season, he returned after an almost two-year World Cup break due to injury, most recently he had to take another break due to a thigh injury.
"In physical terms," meaning physically, he's doing "super" again, said Dreßen, "I'm super happy." The top priority is "that I'm having fun again."
He lost it after the "great start" because he was "too focused on the result": "I no longer concentrated on skiing."
That was different now.
Behind Romed Baumann, who finished 16th on his 37th birthday, Dreßen was again the second-best German starter ahead of Josef Ferstl in 24th place.
Kilde celebrated the Wengen double after his success in the Super-G.
His secret of success?
"A cool package that works," he said with a smile, adding a dash of risk, "then it's just quick."
"I'm happy with the result"
Because of the wind, the longest descent in the World Cup was slightly shortened, and the women in Austria didn't ski the entire route either.
Weidle "pushed it down really hard", as she said with satisfaction, at the finish she kissed her left ski.
“It was a brutally tough race.
I wasn't sure if that was very slow or fast," she said.
Only a look at the timetable gave her confidence: Her tactically clever drive came within 0.31 seconds of the podium.
0.97 seconds separated Weidle from winner Federica Brignone (Italy).
"I'm happy with the result, nobody comes off perfectly," she said.
Because of the cancellation of the descent, for which a second Super-G had been scheduled, it said: "This is not your weekend.
It's all the nicer to prove that you can also do it in the Super-G.
It shouldn't be a flash in the pan, it should become standard."