"The national team has always been a big goal!"
TUESDAY TALK: Thomas Kjelbotn (NOR)
Some things in life take a little more time than others but a statement that Norway's Thomas Kjelbotn would probably have no trouble to sign right now is "All is well that ends well". After working his way back from tearing his ACL in early 2013, the 27-year-old has just been named as the latest addition to the Norwegian national team. FISNC had the chance to ask him about his new goals after this milestone, his great jumping shape and why the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" also has a lot of truth to it.
First things first: you have just been named to the Norwegian national team. What does this mean to you and what will change for you now?
Thomas Kjelbotn: It has always been a big goal to get on the national team. Now I will get the chance to go to training camps together with Olympic champions!
In the last winter, we could watch you fight your back from a knee injury you suffered at the COC in Høydalsmo in March 2013. You really bounced back in style with a career best seventh rank in Chaikovskiy and then went to being one of the strongest jumpers of the field in the very end of the season. Is this a classic case of "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?"
Kjelbotn: It could be a classic case, for sure. When you have to stop with specific training for ski jumping and skiing for such a long time, you are forced to focus on other things. It gives you the chance to work on areas that may have been your weakness underlying the specifics. So at the same time, you eliminate some weaknesses and get extra hungry for specific training. It's great when you are done with your rehab and your knee is good enough to do normal training.
You were in a really impressive jumping shape at the end of the season, sometimes even putting your teammate Håvard Klemetsen to shame. Can you explain what it was that made you so good all of a sudden?
Kjelbotn: I think I just got the confidence at the end of the season and then i managed to bring up some good ski jumps. Sometimes it's as easy as that.
With constant Top 20 ranks from Lahti till Falun, you also proved you can hold your own in the cross-country tracks. How would you judge your level of performance in this part of Nordic Combined right now?
Kjelbotn: Well, I would say that my level of performance in the cross-country part is soon to be awesome! (laughs)
Now that you're on the national team, what are your goals for the next season?
Kjelbotn: I actually have two goals: one would be to show even better performances in World Cup and then of course I would like to join the team for the World Championships in Falun.
And last but not least, of course we want a little recap of what you have been up to since the season ended!
Kjelbotn: I have just been recharging after the season, spending time together with my family.