„Now I know that I can reach the top!“
TUESDAY TALK: Lukas Greiderer (AUT)
With a third place in the Continental Cup 2013/14 overall under his belt, Austrian youngster Lukas Greiderer is not a stranger to dedicated Nordic Combined fans but many of the Summer Grand Prix spectators and present media representatives will have been rubbing their eyes when the 21-year-old set course for the podium in the 2-jumps, 15 km Final Individual Gundersen event in Oberstdorf - and conquered the third place in the end. In this edition of TUESDAY TALK, fis-ski.com caught up with Greiderer after his big triumph and heard surprisingly confident answers about further goals, the developments in the Austrian team and a big hats off to the German Kings of the Summer.
Lukas, you had your first ever podium position on World Cup or Summer Grand Prix level on this past weekend. What was your first thought after crossing the finish line as third?
Lukas Greiderer: It was just insane! I was already more than satisfied with my competition in Oberwiesenthal which was my very first SGP start ever, by the way. I though I had reached the top of what I was able to do already which seemed to be confirmed in Villach.
I already had so much going on in my mind during the race in Oberstdorf. Shortly after the start, I thought a Top Ten position might be possible if I go hard. But when I was able to catch up with Eric in lap three who was going at a considerable speed, my grin was getting wider and wider from lap to lap. I was holding on to last year’s King of Nordic Combined!
From lap seven onwards, I couldn’t wait for the finish and to be the only Austrian getting a podium in this year’s Summer Grand Prix! I was absolutely overwhelmed by my emotions in the finish. I can’t remember when I was that happy after a race the last time! Also my people at home were completely over the moon!
You and your young Austrian teammates showed convincing performances in the SGP now but also in the Continental Cup last season. What are you doing right at the moment and do you think we will see more of you, Harald Lemmerer, Franz-Josef Rehrl or Fabian Steindl in the World Cup any time soon?
Greiderer: Yes, we pretty much mowed down everything in the COC last season! (laughs) I think I don’t have to tell you by exactly how many points we won the Nations Cup.
We are a close-knit team, especially everybody who is around 20 years old right now. There’s always a really good mood, everybody has something fun to say and we get along with each other very well. This is what drives us, what makes these countless hard training hours fun. Every single one in this team is living Nordic Combined. There’s nothing we like doing more than ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Without this sport, nobody would be the person that he is today.
We will see who will be the most visible of us in the future because it’s a lot of guys and everybody wants to reach the top. But what you can see quite clearly is that it will not be a walk in the park for the „oldies“ in our World Cup team anymore. They will not be able to feel as these undisputed alpha dogs for much longer.
With Timna Moser, the first ever winner in a Ladies Nordic Combined competition comes from Austria, too. Were you able to see a bit of the Ladies on the past weekend?
Greiderer: Of course have we followed their competitions as well. I raise my hat to Timna! She is really talented and has the potential to become the star of this new scene!
Have your goals changed after this very successful summer?
Greiderer: No, my goals have not changed, I have just gotten really really hungry for more. These were two important weeks for me. I have been training hard this whole year and I have gotten my payout now. Now I know that I can reach the top.
How will you spend the 12 weeks until the start of the World Cup now? Which points do still need fine tuning?
Greiderer: I still have to do some fine tuning on my jumping, especially work on the consistency of it so I can have solid good jumps, not like the complete mess-up in Villach. It is very annoying that sometimes my focus is not where it should be in jumping because my cross-country shape is very good. I would like to hold this level through the training on skis now and improve a bit if possible. If you have a good shape in both part, there’s not much that can go wrong.
At the end of this interview, we have to spend some time on the German dominance throughout the Summer Grand Prix. What Rydzek, Frenzel and Kircheisen showed was a gala performance of the highest level, right?
Greiderer: That was Nordic Combined at its best! We have a lot of respect for these three gentlemen, especially Johannes! If his stellar shape continues, he will be close to unstoppable this winter. It’s almost frightening to see how this guy delivers, time after time. I am happy for them that they were able to give the home crowd a good show… except for this Saturday when I was surprisingly able to get a word of my own in, too! (laughs)