"I definitely see myself in Nordic Combined!"
TUESDAY TALK: Evgeniy Klimov (RUS)
"Is he in or is he out" was probably one of the most-asked question of the last winter about Russian newcomer Evgeniy Klimov who came to the World Cup to almost instantly hit it off as one of the best jumpers on the tour. But Klimov had a major problem on the cross-country track, sometimes being overtaken by the whole field after starting out of the first positions. So rumours went flying that the 20-year-old would not be a Nordic Combined athlete for long, especially after coming back from the Junior World Championships in Val di Fiemme with a bronze medal - from special jumping. In this edition of TUESDAY TALK, Klimov dishes on his final decision concerning disciplines and his highlights of the past season.
During the last season, there was a lot of talk that you were maybe changing over to the special ski jumpers. What did you end up deciding?
Evgeniy Klimov: Yes, there was a lot of talk about that. But I’ve decided to stay with Nordic Combined. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, and I definitely see myself in this sport. Nordic Combined looks like a more interesting, diverse and reliable sport to me.
You were one of the new faces of the last winter season, surprising everybody by suddenly being among the top jumpers of the field. What were your goals going into your first World Cup season?
Klimov: My goals for my first season in the World Cup were being among the leaders after the jumping part and getting into World Cup points after the race.
In the cross-country part, it did usually not go so well so you. How tough is it - also psychologically - to be overtaken by a lot of athletes during the race and still find the motivation to go on?
Klimov: Yes, unfortunately I still have some psychological problems concerning this. But I’m getting closer and closer to overcoming them. After the Olympic Games I improved my results during the race and stopped losing so much. Speaking of motivation, for me the most important thing is to get to the finish line having been overtaken by the smallest possible number of athletes.
When you came to the Junior World Champions in Val di Fiemme, did you think you had a chance to win medals in two disciplines?
Klimov: Not at all!! Though I counted on the individual sprint in Nordic Combined. But unfortunately I couldn’t jump the way I wanted to. And regarding ski jumping, I just wanted to try this discipline out. And it felt great.
You mentioned the Nordic Combined 5-km Sprint event: During this competition we saw you deliver an outstanding cross-country race, staying with the top group and even winning a finish line sprint and ultimately claiming rank four. What was different compared to the World Cup events where you haven't been able to perform that well on the cross-country track?
Klimov: For me, the level of performance at the Junior World Championship seems much lower than in the World Cup competitions. There is also less pressure from fans and other athletes. So I felt more confident, more free when I’ve been preparing myself for what was ahead. Even before the start I knew it was going to end this way. There was a really good feeling in the air. (laughs)
Another big moment of the last winter were the Olympics at Sochi. How did it feel to perform at the Olympics in front of this big home crowd, especially in the jump event when you were standing in the leader board for most of the competition?
Klimov: During the jumping part of the competitions at the Olympic Games I’ve tried not to be nervous, to be calm and confident. And I managed to do that. The support of the spectators was really huge! I’ve tried not to pay attention to it when I was on the top of the hill so I won’t lose focus but standing at the leader board at my home Olympic Games was so fantastic!
Last question: How is the summer preparation going? What are you doing right now?
Klimov: My summer training is going in due course, and we’ve already had a training camp. Right now I’m at home, training by myself.