"One could share a double bed with Sevi for a week without having to talk about ski jumping!" No, it wasn't Severin's girlfriend Caren who said that, it was Richard Freitag - team and roommate for an estimated 200 days of the year.
That's hard to believe considering ski jumping is the most important thing in Severin Freund's life. Everything revolves around this sport; everything is focused towards it. Everything! Really? Well actually, no! Because away from the ski jumps Severin also achieves an amazing amount. However, one at a time.
At the age of six Severin started to train on a regular basis. The trigger for this was a Four-hills Tournament event which the Freunds were following on the television from the comfort of their family couch. The images were so fascinating that Severin knew there and then, "I want to be a ski jumper".
From that moment on he started to train. Initially on his home jump at Rastbüchl; subsequently on all the facilities which he was able to use with various training groups. And since as we are all aware, "Practice makes perfect", he made his first Continental Cup appearance as a member of the DSV team as early as 2003.
It was then that Severin ignited the second stage of his development. Well, at least that is how someone who has accompanied Severin since that time and who he has allowed to get very close to him describes it, "Sevi was a loner at first and frequently "stiff" as they say in ski jumping circles," reckons Caroline Otterbein, the German ski-jumping team physiotherapist.
However, Severin developed over the years to bring body and mind into harmony. These days he doesn't only make big jumps, but elicits completely different comments Caroline. "Sevi is more relaxed, suave, and attentive these days and of course it goes without saying, clever. In short he has developed into a remarkable person." What was that again? Success boosts sex appeal... "Rubbish! Success didn't change Severin; it was Severin who changed in order to be successful," maintains 'Caro'.
If one talks to Severin about the progression of his career it is obvious that the causes behind this development are buried a long way in the past. He recalls his time at the Christophorus boarding school in Berchtesgaden; being away from home and how he learned to take an increasingly professional approach to sports. Severin matriculated in 2007. In the same year he started his first season as a professional sportsman with his first COC win at Lillehammer in August.
Severin moved to Munich, looking for other challenges as well as sports. He commenced studying "International Management" in Ansbach; with the intention of clearing his mind of ski jumping. He intends to concentrate on other things, thus satisfying his curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
Then no matter whether at breakfast with friends, during lectures at university or meals with the team, Severin leaves no subject out; he is interested in everything. How heavy is an elephant? What affairs did Kaiser Ferdinand have and when did he have them? What is the difference between splitting and accumulating votes? "If Sevi does not know something he looks it up and makes a mental note of it," says fellow jumper Maxi Mechler appreciatively.
Together with him or Martin Schmidt Severin has even analysed events on the international stock markets before switching to discuss the special cinematography in Emmerich's disaster films. "One is able to chat, joke, laugh or have a serious debate with Sevi at any time and in that sequence from one moment to the next," says Melcher. "And at a fast rate and a rapid pace - it never gets boring!"
Severin himself considers these characteristics to be "eccentricities". This includes his unlimited attraction to the Wikepedia app ("I must admit that this has a light touch of the know-all about it - but I stand by it all the same!"), or the fact that he always ties his left-hand jumping shoe first ("On the other hand the wedges must always be put into the right-hand one first."). What's more Severin's sweet tooth is undeniable. "I didn't choose the Manner company as a sponsor for nothing," quips Severin.
In spite of all his eccentricities, Severin is a practical person. "Scarcely anyone tinkers around with his equipment so much," says Richard Freitag. He knows Severin as someone always searching for practical if sometimes even unconventional solutions - away from the ski jump as well. "If it's cold in the room he puts on thermal underwear and his beanie," says Richard. "Sevi doesn't allow himself to be drawn by a faulty heating system." Nothing is able to get his back up very quickly. Or in the words of Richard Freitag, "Extremely negative swings are seldom registered on his scale of emotions. He is always even-tempered, poised and calm. That alone is impressive."
Perhaps that is the reason why Severin deals with setbacks so well; such as in the 2009/2010 season. That was when he dropped out of the World Cup team in the summer and fell back into the COC team. From there he fought his way calmly and purposefully back up again, "Important experiences; to have proven it to oneself; to know how it is done." No less impressive - the first World Cup win. "The idea that I'd jump as far as the podium had never crossed my mind. In Sapporo almost everything simply fell into Place." FIS race director Walter Hofer described it accurately, "One doesn't make the first victory - it just happens."?
"I don't believe that," says Pascal Bodmer. "Severin is a go-getter and damned effective with it. He has earned his success and for that he enjoys great respect within the sport.
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