TT - Marjan Jelenko: "A podium can happen - already in this season!"
The last time fisnc.com sat down and talked to Slovenia's Marjan Jelenko, it was after he had won the Continental Cup as the first Slovenian athlete in history. Now, approximately half a year later, the 21-year old from Zrece is a fixture in the World Cup, currently ranking 14th in the overall. In 21 Individual World Cup starts so far, Jelenko has already claimed two tenth, one eighth and a fifth rank and apparently has no intention of stopping his hunt for top positions any time soon as he shows in this week's TUESDAY TALK.
Last year, you were mainly starting in the Continental Cup. This year, you have made a big step into the World Cup, establishing yourself in the Top 20 athletes. How does it feel to be a part of the best athletes in the World?
Marjan Jelenko: It feels really good but it's also still kind of surprising to me. I am feeling strong in every race. We have had eight or ten races now and in every one of them, I felt strong. It's good for me, good motivation. I am looking forward to each of the races that we have left for this season!
It has also happened some times now that you were in the Top Four after the jumping and suddenly had to ski a cross-country race at the very top together with some really big names of Nordic Combined. How much confidence does it take to not let it intimidate you and just do your race?
Jelenko: It takes a lot of confidence and a lot of belief in yourself. But my first race this year in Lillehammer when I was fifth gave me that boost and that confidence I need now. Nowadays, every race proves to me: "I can actually go with them and be among the top." It is working really well right now.
What is your goal for the next races after having been quite close to the podium some times now. Is a podium result something you're thinking about?
Jelenko: Of course do I think about the podium. Actually, I do that a lot of times, but not during the competitions because I think I would get too nervous. For sure, every time so far, I have just missed it. But I know, if the luck is with me and I am strong during a competition, it can happen. Maybe already during this season!
So, you have been doing a lot of things really well during this winter. What do you feel is the thing that you still need to improve the most?
Jelenko: I have to improve a little bit more in the cross-country part. I have done a big improvement since last year but on the last lap, I am still a little to weak to go with the best guys. When I manage to improve that, I can really be among the top athletes.
The World Cup in Seefeld is on on the next weekend. What's the thing you're looking forward to the most now?
Jelenko: I am looking forward to the hill! I really like that hill and also the cross-country track. On top of that it's also a nice city. I will do my best to show great results again!