Tanja Poutiainen's rehab goal - a gold in Sochi

16 April 2013 12:23
Tanja in Selce
Tanja in Selce -

After suffering an injury to her left knee during a giant slalom race in Ofterschwang, Tanja Poutiainen is already in full rehab mode. The Finnish champion and proud owner of three small crystal globes, 11 World Cup victories and five medals from big events is working hard towards her comeback at the same facility in Selce, Croatia which has helped Janica and Ivica Kostelic get back on their feet after their multiple injuries.

The always-smiling Tanja, took a few minutes to talk to the Croatian web portal Skijanje.hr about the injury, her rehab and plans for the future. The full video interview can be found here.

Skijanje.hr – You suffered a bad injury in Ofterschwang at the end of the season and that is the reason you are here in Selce, how is rehab going?

Tanja – I came here two and a half weeks after surgery and since than I have been improving every day my knee condition. I am enjoying training because every day I can do more and more with the legs, I could train my upper body from the beginning really well and that is really important as well. We do a lot of balance training and mentally I am really happy.

Skijanje.hr – You said you were planning on coming back to Croatia for a round two of training?

Tanja – The first round was three weeks and I will be back in a month or so to continue with therapy and training. This is what I need and I will come back.

Skijanje.hr – When do you think you might be back on snow?

Tanja – If everything goes well I think in September I might be back on skis but of course my goal is to first be in a really good physical shape. I already know now that I will be, and than I can go skiing and work towards my comeback.

Skijanje.hr – Does that mean we will not see you in Soelden?

Tanja – Soelden is still a question, I think I will be in Levi but Soelden might be coming a bit too fast because I want to be also in a good skiing shape when I start racing again.

Skijanje.hr – You had a quite injury free career, but what does it take to come back from an injury?

Tanja – It always requires mental strength to come back after an injury but it’s the same thing if you want to be among the best in the world, you have to have mental strength and I think I showed I have it over many years.

Skijanje.hr – You have been in the World Cup for many years now, what are the relationships on Tour like, is it easy to make friends among your competitors?

Tanja – I think I am a pretty social person and for me is not a problem being friends with everyone but I don’t think I’m a best friend to anyone. My best friends are on the private side of my life and it’s just how it is. We are kind a like a small family on the World Cup and I get along with everyone but I don’t see it as a problem when competing as on race day I focus on myself, my skiing, my team and how we are working and I don’t care about anyone else.

Skijanje.hr –Do you see the end of your career approaching?

Tanja – I know I will not ski many years more but I don’t know when I’m going to stop, if its one year or more. I don’t want to decide it’s going to be after the Olympics or after the World Championships as I think I am going to feel it inside that it’s time to stop. I know I am among the oldest, really experienced skiers on tour but when I put my skis on I feel 20 years old. It’s more about how you feel physically and mentally and age becomes just a number. I see these young girls as a challenge to show that I can still do something.

Skijanje.hr – Three small crystal globes, Olympic and WM medals…what is still missing?

Tanja – I’m still missing a gold Olympic medal, it’s a big goal for me and Sochi is next so I will do my best to be there and have a chance to ski for the gold.

Skijanje.hr – What do see as your “secret weapon”?

Tanja – Mental strength. I know now after injuring myself even more deep in myself that I really want to do this and I still can do this. There is a goal next season and I work for that. I have a great team and the support of my family so we see what happens. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t reach anything in Sochi but it’s a goal and I take it as a challenge.