Sonja Nef

Sonja Nef ( born April 19, 1972 in Grub ) is a former Swiss ski racer. She specializes in the disciplines of giant slalom and slalom and from 1996 to 2006 she was a member of the Swiss national team. Severe knee injury risk in the first years several times to continue their athletic career. Nef still prevailed and was around the turn of the millennium the world's best giant slalom racers. Their biggest success was the world champion title in 2001 and the Olympic bronze medal in 2002. Alpine Skiing World Cup In she won 15 races and scored 17 podiums. In 2001 and 2002 she decided the giant slalom discipline rating for themselves, 2002, she was third in the overall standings. Seven times she won a Swiss championship title.

  • 3.1 The Olympic Games
  • 3.2 World Championships
  • 3.3 World Cup ratings
  • 3.4 World Cup wins
  • 3.5 Further successes


Lengthy injury

As a nearly 16 -year-old Nef, which was considered a great talent was recorded in 1988 in the C- squad of Swiss-Ski, paving the way seemed marked out for top sport. The following year she took part in the Austrian Youth Championships; here she fell in the Super G and suffered a torn ligament in his right knee. The attending physician overlooked small tears in the cartilage, which led to protracted complications. For FIS races Nef was inferior to the domestic competition significantly. Two more operations in 1991 brought no relief and there were the first signs of osteoarthritis. Only after a change of the doctor and the fourth operation, an improvement was established.

Swiss Ski classified Nef in 1992 due to lack of success in the eastern Swiss Regional Association back. Although she was now dependent on the financial support of their parents, but could train for the first time free of symptoms after three years. In the 1992/93 season they won with high starting numbers several FIS races and also reached the European Cup top rankings. Although they did not belong national squad more, she was allowed to participate for the first time on March 20, 1993 to a World Cup race. Place 22 in the giant slalom in Vemdalen she immediately won the first World Cup points. There followed the first Swiss Championship and inclusion in the B-team. In the summer of 1993 again broke off a piece of cartilage from his right knee, which the fifth operation required. Nef decided henceforth to be limited to the disciplines of giant slalom and slalom, as Downhill and Super -G race would affect their health too much.


In the 1993/94 season Nef had their bets dose and drove only twice in the points. The 1994/95 season brought three results in the top ten a significant increase, after which it was incorporated into the national team. The foray of the world leaders she succeeded finally in season 1995 /96 apply. On January 6, 1996 Nef managed with 2nd place in the giant slalom in Maribor, the first podium in a World Cup race. Three weeks later, she won the slalom in Sestriere. At the World Championships in 1996 in the Sierra Nevada led after the first run of the giant slalom with over one second ahead. However, they held the nervous strain was not and was eliminated in the second run of just four goals.

In March 1996, Nef had to be operated on her right knee for the sixth time because of cartilage damage. The end of the career seemed in sight, so they looked for alternative treatments. Coach Theo Nadig recommended that she have a specialist and in the next few years they let themselves be injected into the knee to prevent further cartilage damage of this every six weeks fish oil. In addition, Nef put their training program completely around, there was no longer to think of a regular workout with the rest of the team. They hired a personal trainer; initially, later paid at his own expense by the association.

The 1996/97 season was characterized by numerous failures. The best result was a third place finish in the giant slalom in Cortina d' Ampezzo, in the World Cup 1997 in Sestriere occupied Nef in the same discipline in eighth place. In the 1997/98 season Nef drove fairly constant, with a second place as best result. She qualified for the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano in 1998, but resigned in the Giant Slalom and Slalom first run out. Was similar to 1998/ 99; in the giant slalom, she was once each second and third, but the first victory in its strongest discipline still left waiting. Rather disappointing for them ended the 1998/99 season in Vail, where she was eleventh in the giant slalom and the slalom was eliminated.

On top of the world

Nef met in winter 1999/2000 final against the world's best. To kick off the World Cup season in Tignes, she won her first giant slalom on 31 October 1999. It was followed by two more victories in Åre and Sestriere and a second place. In the slalom they binned six times in the top ten. In the giant slalom discipline rating they had merely defeated Michaela Dorfmeister, in the overall standings they finished sixth.

In the 2000 /01 season, Nef was found in the giant slalom as superior. She won six of eight discharged World Cup race, five of them in a row. There was also a victory in a slalom, where she was able to break the dominance of the only series winner Janica Kostelic. She chose the giant slalom discipline standings with a big lead for himself and finished second in the slalom scoring the second place, what brought her in the standings to fourth place. The highlight of the season was the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton am Arlberg. With clear fastest time in both runs Nef won the gold medal in the giant slalom, slalom she went to seventh place. Because of these achievements, she was elected Athlete of the Year.

Similarly successful Nef was in the winter season 2001 /02. She won three giant slaloms and scored three podiums. In the slalom, she stood on the podium three times to be able to win a race without, however. End of winter handed her this to re winning the giant slalom discipline standings to fourth place in the slalom standings and third place in the overall standings. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, she won the giant slalom behind Janica Kostelic and Anja Parson the bronze medal.

Re- injury problems and resignation

Nef could season in winter 2002 /03 to maintain the high level at the beginning yet. On January 4, 2003, they won in Bormio last time a World Cup giant slalom, were added a second place and some of the results in the top ten. In the 2003 World Cup in St. Moritz they drove to eighth place in the giant slalom at the sixth and in the slalom. End of February 2003, she suffered during training another torn ACL and had to end the season prematurely.

The breach made ​​in the following winter of 2003/ 04 in a drop in performance level noticeable. Although Nef was able to achieve a podium finish in the slalom last time, other good results but were less frequent. This trend continued during the winter of 2004 /05. Your best rankings were two fifth places. In the season 2005/ 06 made ​​her an inflammation of the hip to create. Nef was never better than on the 20th Place classified and could not qualify for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. At a press conference at the edge of the Olympic race in Sestriere she gave on 21 February 2006 their immediate resignation from the top sports known.


Sonja Nef is romantically involved since 1994 with the Austrian Hans Flat shear and married to him since 2011. The couple has two daughters (* 2006, * 2008) and a son (* 2013). Flat shear was during Nefs sports career working as a trainer at the German Ski Association Alpine skiing, and later with Swiss-Ski ( since 2012 as head coach of the women's national team). Temporarily out of Nef lived in toads im Pinzgau, but moved back yet before the End of career in Switzerland. From 2005 to 2010 she served on the Board of Trustees of the Children's Village in Trogen.


Olympic games

  • Salt Lake City 2002: 3rd giant slalom

World Championships

  • Sestriere 1997: 8 Giant Slalom
  • Vail / Beaver Creek 1999: 11 Giant Slalom
  • St. Anton 2001: 1st Giant Slalom, Slalom 7
  • St. Moritz 2003: 6 Slalom, Giant Slalom 8

World Cup ratings

  • 1995/ 96: 5 giant slalom World Cup
  • Season 1997/ 98: 4 giant slalom World Cup
  • Season 1998/99: 4 giant slalom World Cup
  • 1999/2000 season: 6 Overall World Cup, second giant slalom World Cup
  • Season 2000/ 01: 4th overall World Cup giant slalom World Cup 1, 2 Slalom World Cup
  • Season 2001/ 02: 3rd Overall World Cup, 1 giant slalom World Cup, 4th slalom World Cup
  • Season 2002/ 03: 5 giant slalom World Cup

World Cup wins

Other successes

  • 7 Swiss Championship Giant Slalom 1993, 2000, 2001 and 2002
  • Slalom 2000, 2001, 2004


  • World Sports Archive ( Munzinger archive), Issue 23/2001