"Best regards from the leader board!"
TUESDAY TALK: Tobias Haug (GER)
If you have watched Nordic Combined in the last winter, you will probably be familiar Tobias Haug's face, waving happily from the leader board in the ski jumping part of the competitions. For TUESDAY TALK, the 20-year-old spoke about the tough experience not to go to Sochi and how it is to spend quite a lot of time on TV in your first World Cup season.
How did you summer preparation look like so far? What's on schedule next?
Tobias Haug: After the World Cup finals in Falun I took a short break. I am sports soldier in the German Bundeswehr, so I had a army camp in April. Until now, my training has been quite universal. I like to try new sports next to Nordic Combined, I have been to Italy at the beginning of May to do some climbing, for example. Next to that, I do a lot of cycling, jogging and swimming right now. The first Nordic Combined training camp is actually on next week when we will be doing the first summer jumps at Ramsau am Dachstein.
It's safe to say that the past winter was your first full World Cup season. What would you say is the biggest difference between the World Cup and starting in Alpencup and Continental Cup? Which World Cup venue did you like best?
Haug: That's right. It was a completely new experience for me and I noticed quite quickly that the level, especially in the cross-country part, is much higher. The best athletes in the world are starting and everybody is giving their best. The adaption has been easier in the ski jumping part where I was among the best with a good jump.
The weekend in Seefeld was really nice and interesting. The new Nordic Combined TRIPLE was really interesting for all participants and I have been able to wave from the leader board there, too! (laughs)
Speaking of the leader board, ski jumping has been your strength in the past winter and you were able to spend quite some time there. How was it?
Haug: Let's say, it's quite okay to be there! You get tasty cookies and coffee or tea… (laughs) But on a serious note: I was quite surprised to be there at first and of course I was quite happy to be able to wave into the TV cameras. I got a lot of messages for friends and family at home who were keeping their fingers crossed for me and saw me on TV. It's great to feel the interest of the spectators when you do a good jump.
In the past winter, you were even able to fulfill the qualifying criteria of the German Ski Federation for the Olympics in Sochi but in the end you were not picked to go there. Did you rather see this as a big step forward or as a frustrating set-back?
Haug: As it was my first "real" World Cup season, I never expected to be on the short-list for Sochi. We have a strong team in Germany and the Olympics simply were too big for me at this point in my career. But of course I was hoping to be able to go there after I fulfilled the qualification criteria in Seefeld. The Olympics are the biggest thing that can happen to an athlete and so, of course, not being nominated was a big disappointment.
But with some distance and the support of my family, friends and my coaches at home I was able to turn my frustration into motivation quickly and get a healthy distance in regards to this topic. It stayed exciting to work on my skills in training and to further pursue my goals.
On which weaknesses do you want to focus and work on over the summer?
Haug: The amounts of training will significantly go up to reduce my distance to the best cross-country skiers. Other than that, I would like to develop my strengths in jumping so I will be able to start into the races from the first ranks more often.
So, what can we expect of Tobias Haug in the next winter?
Haug: A good-humoured Nordic Combined athlete sending best regards from the leader board! (laughs)