"I am looking forward to our next duels!"
TUESDAY TALK: Johannes Rydzek (GER)
Who better to catch up with after the season than German shooting star Johannes Rydzek who progessed to a second rank in the overall World Cup ranking with a stellar performance in the last World Cup weekends from Lahti till Falun. For TUESDAY TALK, the 22-year-old revealed his holiday plans, shared his thoughts about missing the Olympic individual medal and about his new favourite opponent, Norway's Olympic Champion Joergen Graabak. And is that a slight challenge we're hearing there?
If we look at the results of the last weekends, you progressed to being the strongest athlete of the German team. How does that feel?
Johannes Rydzek: It's feels very cool. My last results were just great. Of course it's just a snap-shot in a way but one I very much intend to just enjoy now. It is a really nice thing.
Before the season, did you think you could finish on a second rank in the overall World Cup standing?
Rydzek: No, really, that is just… well, that just came to be over the last competitions now and for sure, it's always difficult to plan something like this. But when I think about it, I was able to leave so many great athletes behind me… it's just so cool. I am very happy to round off a great season like this one with a second place in the overall ranking.
Do you have any explanation why these last few competitions in Scandinavia worked out that well for you?
Rydzek: There are multiple factors. First of all, I really like the places. I go there with a positive feeling. Then the added stress from the title event was gone and I was able to act laid-back, unburdened and confident and my jumping shape stabilised over the competitions.
What we were able to enjoy in these last competitions is also the development of kind of a duel with Norway's Joergen Graabak who you fought with for the win several times. Is it especially rewarding to have such a strong opponent, to push each other and to be able to beat him (sometimes at least) in the end?
Rydzek: Yes, of course! (laughs) Of course you always want to win this one. He is a really strong sprinter on the home stretch and me, too, actually, so it is great fun to face off on the last metres. And to be honest, it annoys you more to lose that particular duel than to walk away with the second rank in general. I am quite sure he feels the same, for example when I beat him on his home ground in Trondheim. It is great fun to have an opponent like this. I am looking forward to our next duels!
Have you actually talked to him about this?
Rydzek: Yes, of course that's what you talk about after the race. After Lahti, I told him, I am going to win the next one, you better watch out! (laughs) I really enjoy this!
How much does it still hurt that you did not get your hands on an Olympic individual medal which was pretty close at one point?
Rydzek: Things like that always hurt. But the circumstances were really stupid and it happened out of this not so good situation. I can't blame myself for having done anything wrong so it is also not worth it to still be sad about what happened. This is not helping me to progress in any way, so I am leaving that backpack where it is!
What will you do now that the season is over?
Rydzek: There will be no big holiday coming up. I am studying Business and Engineering and my classes continue and I also want to take some time for myself to see my friends and my girlfriend who I had to neglect a bit over the last months. We will go on ski tours or on mountain trips. So I just want to enjoy home and study a bit on the side. (laughs)