On the verge: Kristjan Ilves (EST)
"On the verge" focusses on the athletes to watch. Coming from the Continental Cup or gaining experience in the World Cup already, they have had good results but they are not quite there yet.
But just interviewing these young hopefuls would have been too easy. Instead, they were asked to name their best buddies on the tour: one best friend on their own team and the international athlete they are getting along with best. These two athletes will try to shed a little more light on who is waiting in the wings of Nordic Combined to maybe steal the spotlight in the future.
Estonia’s Kristjan Ilves definitely has to be named among the most promising athletes of Nordic Combined. Decorated with Junior World Championship medals and equipped with a huge talent for ski jumping, the 18 year-old made his way into the Estonian national team, the World Championships in Val di Fiemme and to the Olympic Games in Sochi. Best buddies Karl-August Tiirmaa and Ilkka Herola reveal some of the more unknown facts about the resident of Elva.
Who is Kristjan Ilves?
Born 10.06.1996 in Tartu
World Cup starts: 11
Best individual World Cup result: 30th in Chaikovskiy 2014
Best overall WC rank: 80 (2014)
Best COC rank: 5th in Kuusamo 2014
See some more statistics about Kristjan here!
Best buddies: Karl-August Tiirmaa (EST) & Ilkka Herola (FIN)
How long have you known each other?
Ilkka: I met him for the first time in Taivalkoski, at our junior nationals in 2007, I think. I was 11 years old, so you can imagine what kind of big guys we were back then (laughs).
Karl: I have gotten to know him better since than he joined the national team. Of course I remember him from earlier years and also when he was a less-than-a-meter-man but even back then he jumped like an old ace!
What do you like about him?
Ilkka: I like him because of his open-minded and happy attitude! He doesn't take things so seriously and keeps people around him happy, too. Of course it's also nice that he can speak a little Finnish!
Karl: He has a great desire to be successful in this sport. Already at a young age, he has quite a professional attitude. On top of that, he is very friendly, helpful and easy-going. To sum it up, its not a problem to fit him into the same room in camps and competitions for years.
Why do you think he can become a champion in Nordic Combined?
Karl: It seems that he was born on skis and with a hat on his head. In fact, he is highly trained from a young age and developed a step-by-step. For me, it would not be a miracle if he is fighting for the medals at the next Olympics.
Ilkka: Just his attitude and hard focus on sports has already made and is going to make him a champion. He is skillful jumper and for sure will be hard to beat on the cross-country track too, with some time and more hard work!
What do you think has been his toughest moment in the sport so far?
Ilkka: I don't really for sure know but I guess he was not so satisfied after the Junior World Championships in Val di Fiemme last year.
Karl: Hmm, maybe it’s these moments when he is not able to be fast enough (yet) to fight for his place on the cross-country track and the others just seem bigger, older and stronger.
Which success is he the most proud of?
Karl: The Junior World Champs bronze medal and the ticket to Sochi.
Ilkka: He must be really proud of his bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Liberec because I was was the one losing out to him by only one second! (laughs)
What is the funniest/weirdest thing about him?
Ilkka: It's hard to find an answer for this one but I think it's very funny when they mix Estonian and Finnish! That is probably of course only funny to the Finnish team (laughs).
Karl: Hmm, that’s a tough one! But I heard that when he was a small boy he was such huge fan of Nordic Combined. If were the Olympic Games or the World Championships he would tape all of the competitions and watch them so much that he knew in his sleep who jumped how far and which place someone reached. (laughs)