"We can be nothing but satisfied with last season!"
TUESDAY TALK: Jan Klimko (POL)
After one of the best seasons in a long time for the Polish Nordic Combined team, head coach Jan Klimko shared his insights and most remarkable moments of the season. The Polish Ski Association PZN caught up with the father of the recent Polish success.
How do you sum up the season and the performance of your athletes in hindsight?
Jan Klimko: I am happy with the whole season. It's just a pity that we couldn't have one more athlete at the Olympic Games in Sochi. My athletes scored points in the Continental Cup and the World Cup, so we were able to meet the criteria for a start at the Olympics for Adam Cieslar. Our group of juniors also achieved very good results at the Junior World Championships in Val di Fiemme. Unfortunately with the difficult winter and snow situation in Poland, we couldn't use our jumps and cross-country tracks properly to train.
What was the most pleasant surprise for you?
Klimko: Adam Cieslar and the high level of performance which he kept throught the while season. Pawel Slowiok also had a good season while Szczepan Kupczak lost a little bit of power and energy at the end of the season. I am also pleased with Andrzej Gasienica (Editor's note: who has since then decided to change over into special ski jumping). Despite the injuries he had, the showed good performances on the jumping hill.
How do you assess Adam Cieslar's debut at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi? Were you expecting more from him?
Klimko: Before the Games, we hoped that Adam manages to jump into the Top 30, eventually finishing on an Top 40 rank. Adam was well prepared but in the second competition, the weather didn't allow a better position in the end. It was raining the whole day and unfortunately we were not able to prepare his skis well for these kind of conditions. But in spite of this, Adam did well and we are happy with his debut.
The Winter Universiade can definitely also be listed as a success. Did you think that it could end so well for your athletes?
Klimko: We were hoping for one medal in the team but even there, we were not expecting a gold medal. To be honest, I was very surprised by all these gold medals (Editor's note: Adam Cieslar won a gold and a silver medal at the individual events in Trentino, teammate Pawel Slowiok a bronze medal and the Polish team with Cieslar, Slowiok and Kupczak won gold in the team event). The boys presented themselves in a superb way in the individual competitions and in the team event. They gave their all in each and every race and won a total of four medals. It was a really great show.
What would you say, which athlete out of your team has the biggest potential?
Klimko: Currently Adam Cieslar has shown that he is the best athlete but Pawel Slowiok his right behind him. Pawel is a good skier, we only need to work with him on the hill. Adam on the other hand is performing well in both disciplines, so we need to keep the direction and just keep improving.
What are the plans for the next season?
Klimko: First of all, we would like to start with the preparations earlier than in the last season. We need to significantly improve the performance on the hill and to further minimize the time needed for the races. If we manage to so that, I am sure it will not be a problem for the boys to be regulars in the Top 30 of the World Cup.
Interview courtesy of PZN
Find the full interview in Polish here