Daniela Iraschko-Stolz: "I would have lent my skis to everyone"
In our series "FIS Ski Jumping-Talk" we present interviews with ski jumping athletes and officials. Today: Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (31).
Austrian overall World Cup winner Daniela Iraschko-Stolz received the Fair Play Award of the "European Fair Play Movement" last week in Baku. Reason for that was that Iraschko-Stolz lent her skis to Slovenia's Spela Rogelj at the World Cup in Sapporo last January. In our interview she now tells more about it.
FIS Ski Jumping: Daniela, congratulations on your award. How did this happen?
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz: The problem was that Spela's skis didn't arrive in Japan on time. I had a few pairs and we are also the same height. So I told her that she can have mine. But the bindings didn't fit so a few extra holes had to be drilled into the skis, that we had to plug again afterwards (laughs).
FIS Ski Jumping: So you got the skis back and still jump with them?
Iraschko-Stolz: Yes, I change them from time to time.
FIS Ski Jumping: Did Spela's skis arrive in Japan later on?
Iraschko-Stolz: Yes, on the day of the competition. She was jumping with her own skis again from the second competition in Sapporo.
FIS Ski Jumping: Have you heard about the "European Fair Play Movement" before?
Iraschko-Stolz: No, unfortunately not. It's actually a great pity. This movement held it's annual meeting in Baku and many organizations are part of it. It's all under the patronage of the European Olympic Committee, but it doesn't have any far-reaching authorities. I think, that especially nowadays, such a movement can also be a motivation. But for that it needs to become better known.
FIS Ski Jumping: Do you think that others might not have helped Spela?
Iraschko-Stolz: That's difficult to say. Especially in ladies' ski jumping we all have a common goal and that is to make our sport more popular. For that we have to stick together. It's also not about that much money as in men's ski jumping. A problem was that we use skis from different producers and, of course, these companies want to see their athletes using the right skis. That's why we didn't really talk about it in the first place. But when it comes to the equipment, the skis are not that big of a deal, boots and bindings are more special. What was also important was the fact that Spela was leading in the World Cup at that time. The leader should compete, otherwise the event doesn't have the same value. In that case it was not even her fault.
FIS Ski Jumping: Spela made it to the podium in this competition.
Iraschko-Stolz: Yes, she was third and I was second. After this competition we tied for the lead in the overall World Cup with Sara Takanashi. That was pretty funny.
FIS Ski Jumping: Did she thank you for that afterwards?
Iraschko-Stolz: Of course, absolutely. At the World Cup in Ljubno I was named honorary member of her fan club. That was totally surprising to me. I also got a small present from the Slovenian Ski Association. That was nice, because for me this goes without saying. I would have lent my skis to everyone. I can't jump with four pairs at the same time anyway (laughs).
FIS Ski Jumping: How was the award ceremony in Baku?
Iraschko-Stolz: It was a big meeting where a lot of issues concerning fair play in sports were discussed. For example also doping. Fortunately ski jumping is a sport that is very fair, also especially the new rules with the equipment control before the jump. It's really about who is the best. Obviously you always try new things, but at the end the best come out on top. That's also what makes it fun.
FIS Ski Jumping: Baku is not right around the corner. Was there also time for a short vacation?
Iraschko-Stolz: Yes. My spouse was able to take some time off and come with me. We were positively surprised, it's a great city. At least what we saw (laughs). A lot was built here in a very short period of time, everything is shiny. It looks a bit different in the back yards. The people were very friendly and progressive.
FIS Ski Jumping: Is ski jumping playing a role in Azerbaijan?
Iraschko-Stolz: No, only few people knew about it. A lot of questions were asked and I could explain the sport to the people there. I was kind of a ambassador for fair play and ski jumping (laughs).
FIS Ski Jumping: How is the preparation for the season going for you?
Iraschko-Stolz: I'm satisfied. I started jumping in Courchevel, which was pretty late. Since then I'm very focused. It's also about not stressing the knee too much, but there are only a few breaks. We are very strong as a team. The big goal is to defend the Nation's Cup and I think that we are on the right track.
FIS Ski Jumping: How important is it for you to defend the overall World Cup title?
Iraschko-Stolz: That's of course a big goal, but for many athletes. You can't plan that. Especially because there are not that many competitions, even if it'll be more than in the past. The planning of the season is going in the right direction, it's well thought out and stable. If you get sick or lose your shape it becomes difficult to fight for the title. My main goal is to be more consistent, that was always my weakness. I'm either on top or relatively far behind.
FIS Ski Jumping: We cross our fingers and congratulations again on winning the Fair Play Award!