Athlete of the Week - Haavard Klemetsen (NOR)
Something about the saying "Wine is getting better with age" can certainly also be transferred to our Athlete of the Week: Haavard Klemetsen. The 34-year-old Norwegian has been on the World Cup circuit for over ten years but his results in the overall have definitely getting better and better in the last four of them. Currently lying in seventh, Klemetsen is well on his way to another top result for the season 2013/14.
A weekend like the last one in Ramsau surely helps the team veteran on this way to said result. With two back-to-back second places in the Team Sprint and Individual Gundersen, Klemetsen proved his stable shape and impressed insiders even more because it happened at Ramsau, a place with a comparatively small hill and two tight, action-packed cross-country races.
Known as one of the ski jumping experts of the Nordic Combined World Cup, Klemetsen likes to fly. Even jumping at Vikersund, the biggest ski flying hill in the world is an option for him, just the timing did not work out so far: " I was discussing it with my jumping coach last season. We were thinking of trying it but then we had the National championships in Nordic Combined in the week when it was possible to jump in Vikersund. It would be nice to jump over 200 metres, but for now, it is still only a dream."
Looking at Klemetsen's rising shape in the jumping part, a dream that might as well become reality sooner or later. After winning the PCR, the ski jumping round in the Individual and also his group of the Team Sprint jumping on Ramsau's normal hill, Klemetsen's jumping shape is pointing right up
Up until now, a bigger question mark was his performance in the cross-country part. "For many people it's always a surprise when I go fast in the cross-country race", Klemetsen commented in Sunday's press conference. But it's starting to go in the right direction. I have been training hard and also was a little bit sick but what I put into the bank before the season is now starting to pay off."
Klemetsen, who has a Sami background, paid special attention to his cross-country training over the summer and autumn, training together with Norway's cross-country national team twice to get himself the extra edge on the track: "It's not that our coaching team is not good enough but we are different athletes and we need different tactics when we're in the training process. I know the coaches and athletes pretty well and was very lucky to get this opportunity. I learned a lot from maybe the best team in the world, I got a lot of good input technically and physically, and hopefully it will make me into a more complete Nordic Combined athlete in the future."
A future that Klemetsen apparently does not have to wait for any longer. But attesting to the incredible team spirit in the Norwegian squad, the 34-year-old was done talking about going his separate ways quite soon: "We are a strong team and we're on the podium all the time. As I said in yesterday's press conference, I am really proud to be a part of this team. We are really working hard and good together and we will take Eric when we get to Sochi!"