Athlete of the Week - Evgeniy Klimov (RUS)
The winter of 2013/14 has started off with an exciting Nordic Combined weekend in the wintry climes of Kuusamo, Finland and it has certainly shown a couple of "new" faces for this upcoming Olympic season already. One of these faces is Russia's Evgeniy Klimov. After a long period of bad results, the Russian team seems to have surfaced again, just in time for the home Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Klimov, who already created some buzz by entering the top three in a jumping part of a Summer Gran Prix competition this August, impressively set 139,5 metres - the winning jump of the Provisional Competition Round last Friday. As the weather conditions were - in true Kuusamo-style - difficult, the PCR had to be used on Saturday which meant the first "pole position" in a World Cup race for the 19-year-old Russian talent. But fans who have watched the competitions in summer also know Klimov's weakness already - the cross-country part. But this weekend in Kuusamo, he at least managed to hold onto a 30th rank in the final result, salvaging his first World Cup point.
"My PCR jump wasn't really good. I didn't expect it to count as the competition jump, so I didn't put a telemark! But my goal for the weekend was to get my first World Cup points in my first World Cup start and I managed that", a happy newly minted World Cup athlete said after the race. And confidently added when asked if he was happy that the PCR with his big lead on the other athletes was actually taken: "No, next time, I will even get more of a head start."
Evgeniy Klimov who lives in Perm, was sucked in by the fascination that is Nordic Combined in September 2002 just after the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, being already eight years old. An age, where other have already competed for several years but Klimov didn't exactly come from a winter sports family. Today, he is cheered on by his little sister and his parents, a a driver and a kindergarten teacher but his biggest supporter is probably his girlfriend.
Headcoach Dmitriy Dubrovsky knows what a diamond in the rough he has in his team: "Evgeniy is feeling quite confident with his ski jumping and nothing is disturbing the system too much. He know's the level he is on. The performance in the cross-country part we saw from him is not what he can really do. We had test races where he was just 20 seconds slower than his fellow teammate Ivan Panin."
The problem as of now rather exists in the young athlete's head: "We explained to him that if he could ski a minute faster, he would constantly be in the Top 20. But something in his mind just switches when the faster skiers overtake him. It gets really hard for him mentally then. In training camps he isn't actually that slow, so it's a psychological thing. We try to give him confidence to just be on his actual level. But he is only 19 and has all the time in the world."