Five things you didn't know about alpine ski prodigy Lucas Braathen

The 20-year-old Norwegian recently won his first World Cup race after a meteoric rise, but did you know that the half Brazilian initially preferred football? More on that below.
By Olympic Channel

Lucas Pinheiro Braathen is one of the most exciting names in alpine skiing right now.

Already known for his precocious talent and lively personality, the Norwegian has recently made headlines with a Giant Slalom victory at the season-opening Soelden event, becoming the first male skier born in the new millennium to win a World Cup race.

His meteoric rise over the past two years has been equally impressive. In 2018, despite starting with bib no. 60, he managed to qualify for the second run in the Val d’Isere Giant Slalom and finished 26th. Last season in Soelden, Braathen ended up sixth despite another high bib number (34) in the first run.

His performance in the 2019 Kitzbuhel slalom (sixth, after finishing top spot in the first run) only confirmed that a new alpine star was born.

Lucas, along with Marco Odermatt, Alice Robinson, and Clement Noel, belongs to a new young generation of skiers looking to make an impact in the World Cup, but how well do you know the 20-year-old snow prodigy?

Lucas Braathen (centre) takes 1st place at the Alpine Ski World Cup Giant Slalom in Soelden, Austria.

1 - Half Norwegian, half Brazilian

Braathen’s mother Alessandra hails from Sao Paulo, and his lucky charm is a piece of cloth displaying the Brazilian flag.

“I like to go to Brazil every year. I like to visit my family, live their culture. It forged my personality and I am grateful for that,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport's Sportweek magazine.

“My father Bjorn Froelich Braathen left his family farm to move to Kitzbuehel when he was 20. He wasn't afraid of what other people were thinking. This is something my dad taught me. My mum left Brazil when she fell in love with him.”

On the subject of lucky charms, he still wears the same white neck warmer that he and his friends wore when they raced each other in Norway, as it reminds him of home.

2 - Braathen was not an automatic hit on skis

Unlike most professional skiers, Braathen came to his sport relatively late in life.

As with most boys with Brazilian blood, his first sporting love was football. However, he hit a stumbling block early on:

“I was a pretty lazy kid." Braathen told Eurosport. “I really learned from soccer that you have to do more than the next guy to beat him. You know just showing up at practice everyday won't do you any good. You'll be a solid football player, but you'll never be the best."

Braathen’s father taught his son to work harder than every other kid, and he eventually became the best player on the team.

“I think in that way the grind was really similar when it came to skiing. I started off later, I was the worst at the race academy that I first attended, and I just figured out I have to train more in physical strength."

Despite giving up on playing football, he still counts Brazil's Olympic bronze medallist Ronaldinho and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo as sources of inspiration.

3 - Forged by Norway's finest club

Braathen comes from the legendary Bærums Skiklub in Akershus.

The club has produced three Olympic champions in Lasse Kjus, Hans Petter Buraas, and the late Finn Christian Jagge.

Other current members include the reigning overall World Cup champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, and PyeongChang 2018 bronze medallist Leif Kristian Haugen, so the club will certainly be hopeful of adding to their list of Olympic champions at Beijing 2022.

4 - Chasing adventures on social media

The pressure and demands of elite sport can often stifle personal expression within athletes, but the same cannot be said for Braathen.

His Instagram is bursting full of his creative and confident nature.

When he's not flying down the mountain on skis, his 30k+ followers can watch the prodigy indulging in his other passions of surfing, skateboarding, doing acrobatic jumps on trampolines, cliff diving, and just generally not taking life too seriously.

'All these disciplines are challenging and they make me a better skier because they help me with the balancing and overcoming my fears,' he said.

5 - He’s a YouTuber

With such a rich array of skills and a penchant for making videos of his escapades too, creating a YouTube channel was the logical next step.

Braathen signed up in May 2020, and attracted around a thousand subscribers in the five months prior to his breakout race win,

He aims to give Norwegian and skiing fans some behind-the-scenes access into what a national training camp looks like, and how he goes about his business over the course of a day.

"I want to show that we are not only skiers. Skiing is only one of the sports I love, I like many other activities." - Lucas Braathen

If his YouTubing is anything like his sporting rise, we doubt it’ll be long until 'Pinheiiiroo' and his 'Pinheiro Days' vlogs will be attracting thousands more likes to go along with with more ski race wins.