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SCHARNAGL Michael
Sport Para alpine skiing
NPC Austria   
GenderMen
Age33
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
B2
Guide
Florian Erharter
Further Personal Information
Residence
Wörgl, AUT
Occupation
Physiotherapist
Languages
English, German
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He was introduced to skiing as a child and took up Para alpine skiing seriously in 2018.
Why this sport?
"I used to ski quite normally and took part in a few district cups. With my illness, I lost touch with skiing a little, I didn't know that skiing existed for people with visual impairments. I've always loved this sport and I'm glad that I've now been able to return to my roots and my passion."
Club / Team
SC Lattella Worgl: Austria
Name of coach
Markus Gutenbrunner [national], AUT
General Interest
Nicknames
Michi, Iron Mike (Instagram team profile, 10 Sep 2021; oesv.at, 26 Jan 2021)
Hobbies
Spending time in the mountains, archery, rock climbing. (oepc.at, 11 Feb 2022; de.beatyesterday.org, 01 Dec 2021)
Injuries
A torn ligament in his knee meant he was unable to compete at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway [held in January 2022]. (meinbezirk.at, 14 Feb 2022)

In September 2021 he sustained a knee ligament injury in a training fall, which kept him from training for two weeks. (oesv.at, 23 Sep 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I might not notice the visuals when skiing, but I do notice all the other influences. How nature and the ground affects me. The wind howls around my ears and pulls at me, I have to work against it physically. I hear the track. I feel sloping passages, especially at the start. I'm happy about that, because then we quickly pick up a high tempo. I experience a lot more on a descent than others." (de.beatyesterday.org, 01 Dec 2021)
Ambitions
To win a medal at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (oepc.at, 11 Feb 2022)
Impairment
He was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a degenerative eye condition, when he was in elementary school. "I couldn't read anything on the blackboard even in the front row. It was clear then that something was wrong." (oepc.at, 11 Feb 2022; de.beatyesterday.org, 01 Dec 2021)
Other information
INJURY BEFORE BEIJING
A torn ligament in his knee meant he was unable to compete at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway [held in January 2022]. He immediately started focusing on rehabilitation with the aim of representing Austria at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, where he is due to compete in a specially made knee brace. "It was only with the great help of people very close to me, whom I don't want to forget at this point, that the almost impossible became possible for me." (meinbezirk.at, 14 Feb 2022)

GUIDE
He began competing with his guide Florian Erharter at the start of the 2021/22 season. "It's a great thing with Flo. He's a really cool person, very caring and always looks out for me. We work together intensively in sport, but I would say that we have also become good friends. It's nice when you can share all the great experiences. It just fits between us - he has a tremendous character. " (oepc.at, 11 Feb 2022)

OCCUPATION
He works as a physiotherapist and opened his own studio in Kirchbichl, Austria, in 2012. (meinbezirk.at, 14 Feb 2022)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
  2022 Downhill - Visually Impaired  DNS
  2022 Slalom - Visually Impaired  DNS