Justyna Kowalczyk aims at 2018 Olympic Games
Nordic-online.ch recently sat down with Justyna Kowalczyk and produced great interview with the Polish skiing star.
Interview with Justyna Kowalczyk by nordic-online.ch
The best thing's first: Justyna Kowalczyk (32, POL) will continue competing until the Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang, KOR. "If I stay healthy," says the likeable athlete with a university degree from Poland.
Kowalczyk is now the most experienced cross-country athlete on the FIS World Cup tour with 275 World Cup appearances and an impressive list of successes, with 96 World Cup podiums, 45 World Cup victories, and she is also an Olympic and World Champion. Additionally she has won the Tour de Ski 4 times.
Nordic-online.ch: How has 275 World Cup appearances been possible?
Justyna Kowalczyk: The entry into the World Cup was so early for me, because my coach Aleksander Wierietielny - he is still my coach - at that time was also the World Cup coach of Poland so I got an early start."
Nordic-online.ch: Tell us about your beginnings. How did you come to cross-country skiing?
Justyna: I was always good in school at running. I loved running across the meadows. I was 15 years old when I first came into contact with cross-country skiing and liked it right away, although it really is too cold for me. I do not like the cold!
Nordic-online.ch: You have had many successes. What was for you the greatest success?
Justyna: The most important victory was likely the first world champion title at the 2009 World Championships in Liberec over 30 km in the free technique! But my most beautiful victory was the Olympic gold medal in Sochi over 10 km in classical technique. The conditions were very difficult, warm and soft snow. Also, for my Russian coach Aleksander this victory was very important.
Nordic-online.ch: When you look back on the past 15 years, how has the development of the cross-country skiing been in your native Poland?
Justyna: When I started no one knew in Poland what cross-country skiing was. Actually, there was Josef Lusczek end of the 70's. Today the entire FIS Cross-Country World Cup will be broadcast live. With Sklarska Poreba there is now a World Cup organizer in Poland. Cross-country skiing has become popular and many have begun to cross-country ski. As a cross-country skier I have become the most popular athlete in Poland and for 6-times now have won the "Athlete of the Year" award.
Nordic-online.ch: Last year was a very difficult year for you - yet you've won the Vasaloppet the most important popular race. How was this experience?
Justyna: It was the toughest 4 hours of my life! There were very difficult external conditions and I had no grip wax, just glide - that is 90 km of double polling! But the Vasaloppet was for me beside the victory very important and something very big, because I felt that I can still fight!
Nordic-online.ch: What is your motivation for your 15th World Cup season?
Justyna: I have that difficult year behind me, with many problems in the physical and psychological area. Now I want to again reach my best level and be able to do my best. It will probably be my last season competing in both techniques as the pain in the anterior tibial muscle is to great in the free technique! For the future I have two big objectives:. The World Championships in Lahti in 2017 in the 10km and the Olympic Games in 2018 in the 30km.
Nordic-online.ch: What are the highlights you are excited about for this winter?
Justyna: For me it is very important the opening in Kuusamo and also the World Cup in Oslo at Holmenkollen on 30 Km course. I also want to do well in the Tour de Ski. I'll be back in one or more of the long-distance open races. It is planned to start at the "Marcialonga" in Val di Fiemme. It is important for me to have a new motivation.
Nordic-online.ch: What is the secret of your success?
Justyna: I'm really not a great talent but I can work very hard. I train many many hours. For example, I trained 1,300 hours in 2010. But now I'm at around 1,000 hours per year.
For the complete interview click HERE.