Jernej Damjan: "I want to be better than last winter"
After Jernej Damjan lost the race for the FIS Grand Prix overall title on the final stretch last summer, the 31-year-old came out on top of this ranking this year. FIS Ski Jumping now had the chance to ask the Slovene a few questions about the upcoming winter season.
FIS Ski Jumping: After you came in a close second to Andreas Wellinger in last summer's FIS Grand Prix overall ranking you were able to take this title this year. How important was this for you?
Jernej Damjan: At the beginning of the summer I did not think a lot about the summer Grand Prix. Only my daughter Niki was non my mind. She was also the reason why I didn't compete in Wisla. After that I just wanted to take part in all the summer competitions to get the right feeling for the winter. I did well in almost all the competitions and at the end that meant the top spot. It was nice to win after last season's second place.
FIS Ski Jumping: There's only a bit more than a month between the final of the FIS Grand Prix in Klingenthal and the World Cup opening on the very same hill. Can you tell us a little bit about how you spend this last couple of weeks?
Damjan: The weeks after the end of the summer season were all about hard work in all areas in order to be perfectly prepared for the start of the season next week. It was seven weeks, but it felt like two. I did a lot of physical and technical training.
FIS Ski Jumping: A lot of trophies are up for grabs this winter. There's the World Championships in Falun, the 4-Hills-Tournament, the overall World Cup, what is your highlight of the 2014/15 season?
Damjan: In my opinion it is hard to focus on only one or two competitions in ski jumping. You have to be close to the top all winter if you want to grab some of the major prizes. So all I want to do is to jump as good as possible every time I'm competing and have as much fun as I can.
FIS Ski Jumping: What jumpers are you expecting to be on top this season, will it be the so-called "usual suspects" that we have seen there already in the past or will there also be some new faces, like for example, Phillip Sjoeen this summer?
Damjan: It is always hard to predict what will happen and who will jump well. I think, all in all, the athlete's on top will be the same as in the past seasons, but I'm sure that there will be one or two jumpers who will be surprising us.
FIS Ski Jumping: What results would have to achieve that, if we would talk again in late March in Planica, you could say that this winter was a good one for you?
Damjan: It is always my goal to do better than I did last season. I still have a lot of room for improvement.
FIS Ski Jumping: Peter Prevc recently said that you have a good mix in the Slovenian team of older and younger guys and that you really push each other. How would you rate your team compared to the other big ski jumping nations?
Damjan: I have to agree with Peter. We have a lot of young jumpers knocking on the A-team's door. You can never say "I'm good enough", you always have to work hard or you will be sitting on the substitutes bench soon. I do not follow other teams that much, so I can not say how they are doing.
FIS Ski Jumping: You are one of the more experienced athletes on the team. What advice can you give to the younger jumpers like, for example, Matjaz Pungertar, Anze Lanisek or Cene Prevc?
Damjan: Never be satisfied with your jumps and always try to do better. But when you get better than me, then take a step back (laughs).
FIS Ski Jumping: Your first daughter Niki was born this summer. Is this some extra motivation for you or is it now even harder to leave home and spend so much time on the road?
Damjan: She is the best motivation I can have! Yes, it will be harder to leave, but it will also be so much nicer to come back.
FIS Ski Jumping: Thanks a lot and all the best for the winter!