She flies down the track at over 90 km/h, sails through the air for well over 100 meters – and yet still says that the hardest thing in her job was breaking through in the male-dominated world of ski jumping. This also makes Olympic champion Daniela Iraschko-Stolz the perfect ambassador and mentor for our “Technikqueens”.
When she was young Daniela first took off from the ski jumping hill on a whim on cross-country skis. She has drive, she has talent. At one stage her parents recognised this and bought their daughter professional equipment. But at that time ski jumping was still a closed world. Women ski jumping? No way!
That wasn’t only the case in Daniela’s home town in Styria, Austria – the first Ski Jumping World Cup event for women was only introduced in 2011. The fact that this was even possible is largely thanks to the passionate commitment of Daniela Iraschko-Stolz.
Of course it required considerable courage and self-belief for a woman to break through in professional ski jumping. It wasn’t always an easy path.
A clear message: be courageous
The achievements gained along this challenging path don’t only benefit other female ski jumpers today. The Technikqueens can also learn a lot from the experience of their new mentor Daniela Iraschko-Stolz. The goal of the OMV Resourcefulness initiative “Austria is looking for the Technikqueen” is to encourage young women to take up careers in science and technology and to motivate them to swim against the tide where necessary. After all, women make up only around 15 percent of specialist technology-based jobs in Austria; within OMV the figure is currently 20 percent
Who is better placed to provide support to Technikqueens than somebody who has successfully broken through? “I’m delighted to be an ambassador and mentor to the Technikqueens. If there’s one thing I can pass on to young women, it’s this: be brave. Do something with your talent.” And there’s a huge array of talent out there, as the third round of the Technikqueens has shown. Among them is Viktoria Zach, last year’s Technikqueen. What did she learn from Daniela Iraschko-Stolz? “She’s cool. And she’s really confident. That rubs off on you”, says Viktoria. The 15-year-old Technikqueen is certain: “Technology is absolutely the right thing for me”. When she finishes school Viktoria hopes to study at the University of Leoben, Austria’s uni for mining, metallurgy and minerals.
Interview with Daniela Iraschko-Stolz
You can find out why Daniela Iraschko-Stolz actually jumped off the hill with cross-country skis and how difficult her first steps in the skiing world were in our personal interview.