TT - Tim Hug: "Nordic Combined has been my anchor!"
Being a Nordic Combined athlete isn't always easy and it's even harder when you have no teammates around you to compare to and train with - everyday life for Swiss athlete Tim Hug whose team consists of him and the two C-cadre athletes Jan Kirchhofer and Christian Erichsen only. To swiss-ski.ch, the 26-year-old gave a candid interview about his motivation, other goals in life and what Nordic Combined means to him, making this our TUESDAY TALK of the week.
Tim, how did you actually end up doing Nordic Combined?
Tim Hug: Back in the days, there was an offer about a ski jumping trial day in the children's holiday program in Solothurn where I was born. We had already been skiing and used every hill we could find to jump from, so my older brother Jan really wanted to attend this day and after that he was hooked. A year later, I also signed up. As the younger brother, you surely don't want to be left behind when it comes to things like this. So I had my first ski jumps as an eight-year-old in Kandersteg and after I got over my initial fear, there was no stopping me!
What does Nordic Combined mean to you?
Hug: It means extremely much to me. It is a very time consuming sport and it has been the thing that my life revolves around for many years now. It has a big influence on every decision I make. Nordic Combined can drive you to desperation but nevertheless I love this sport because it also gives back so much. Especially in trying times and very difficult situations in life, it has been my anchor, giving me strength.
What is it that fascinates you about it so much?
Hug: It is the many-sidedness in training and the contrast between the elasticity-based sport of ski jumping and the endurance required for cross-country skiing. Everyday is a challenge because you have to combined both sports and find a good balance in training.
What were your personal highlights in your career so far?
Hug: The Olympic Games in Vancouver where a biiig highlight and a fantastic experience. My first Top Ten rank in the last winter was another emotional highlight for me. But also the little moments around the sport, the people you meet and the experiences you have on to road contribute to this unique life in sports.
The competition in your own country is extremely small. What is your motivation to nevertheless give everything in training, given you are missing the chance to compare to other World Cup athletes?
Hug: In the past few seasons, I was only missing that tiny little bit to be able to keep up with the world's elite in this sport. I am convinced I have what it takes and I also know that I have to give everything on every day to achieve that. I want to be among the top athletes in this discipline and with the Olympic Games on the doorstep, the motivation is big enough to keep going, even if I am alone.
In Switzerland, Nordic Combined is a rather small niche sport. The public attention is low, as well as the support by the Ski Federation. You had to live through to financial dire straits and other hard times. What makes you go on?
Hug: The joy that this sports gives you and all of the big and small highlights. And of course my competitive streak and the belief that I can still achieve something in in my career.
If you hadn't picked your path as an athlete, what would you be today?
Hug: I would probably have graduated from a technical university program about now. Because when I decided to go to Einsiedeln and pursue a sports career, I had already been in high school for a year, with the clear goal to study afterwards.
Which goals do you want to achieve - in sports and in life?
Hug: Everything's focussed on Sochi sports-wise right now. I have taken part in Olympic Winter Games once, now I would like to be in the middle of if and make my mark on the results list. For my future after the sport, I have different scenarios running though my head. Probably I will still start to study but maybe I will also do something completely different.
What are you doing when you're not doing Nordic Combined?
Hug: I am all about sports! After the season, I usually go skiing for a couple of days or do a ski tour. In the summer-time, I like to play beach volleyball and tennis.
Do you have an idol and if yes, who and why?
Hug: No, not really. I think everybody has different strengths and weaknesses and has to find their own way in dealing with these.
Interview courtesy of swiss-ski.ch. Please find the German version here!