Kenneth Gangnes: "The team makes me proud"
In our series "FIS Ski Jumping-Talk" we present interviews with ski jumping athletes and officials. Today: Kenneth Gangnes (26).
Kenneth Gangnes, once praised as a once-in-a-century talent in Norwegian ski jumping, made his debut in the World Cup already in March 2008. After he was set back by severe ACL injuries twice, he finally made his breakthrough this winter. With his first World Cup win in his home town Lillehammer and five more podium finishes he even stands out of the great Norwegian team in the 2015/16 winter season.
FIS Ski Jumping: Kenneth, you are now in the middle of a Norwegian week with competitions in Oslo, Trondheim and Vikersund. How special are these home events for you?
Kenneth Gangnes: Of course they are very special. For myself and the entire team this is a highlight of the season. I hope that this will show in the results as well.
FIS Ski Jumping: You already had a real highlight with your win in Lillehammer. How confident are you that yet another home win can now follow?
Gangnes: I'm hoping for it, but it will be very difficult. There are others, who are jumping extremely well at the moment so you also need a little bit of luck to come out on top.
FIS Ski Jumping: A few weeks ago you had some bad luck at the Ski Flying World Championships when the final round was canceled. You got really close to Peter Prevc before that, would it have been possible to beat him there?
Gangnes: This is hard to say, but I was in a very good shape. All my flights where on a very high level, maybe I could have made it. But at the end Peter was the best after the three competition rounds and so he deserved the title.
FIS Ski Jumping: How much are you looking forward the revanche at the ski flying events in Vikersund on the upcoming weekend?
Gangnes: I'm already looking forward to Vikersund since after the World Championships. Ski flying is something very special, almost like its own sport. I like it a lot.
FIS Ski Jumping: Last year Anders Fannemel set a new world record in Vikersund. Is there a chance that this might happen again or will the 251.5 m remain the record for now?
Gangnes: Difficult to say. It might be possible to jump even farther, but everything has to work out perfectly for that. I just hope for spectacular flights so that the spectators get their money's worth.
FIS Ski Jumping: This is your by far best season. Did you expect to be this successful?
Gangnes: I didn't think about it a lot. My goal was the be in the Top 20 constantly. With the exception of Sapporo this worked well so far. I hope it will continue like that.
FIS Ski Jumping: With severe injuries you also experienced the downsides of the sport. Does this make you enjoy the success even more now?
Gangens: Definitely. I always just wanted to jump. Now I try to enjoy every moment, every jump, every competition. The fact that I'm able to jump now at all is great. I'm well aware of that.
FIS Ski Jumping: You probably heard this question before: Is there any secret for the success of the Norwegian team this season?
Gangnes: I don't know if it's a secret (laughs). We just get along great within the team. For me it feels like I'm traveling from competition to competition with five or six brothers. We have a great spirit in our team and we stick together. This team makes me really proud.
FIS Ski Jumping: After Anders Bardal and Anders Jacobsen retired, some were skeptical concerning the prospects of your team. Was this an additional motivation, especially for the younger athletes?
Gangnes: It sure was. These were two big names. We knew that we have to get even closer together in order to make up for that. This forged a bond between us and it's definitely one of the reasons why things are going so well.
FIS Ski Jumping: Last year you came in second in the Nation's Cup, closely behind Germany. Currently you are having a clear lead in this ranking. How important would this title be for you?
Gangnes: It would be a great success. We are all fighting hard to achieve good results and to defend the gap to Germany. I hope that we can be on top at the end in Planica.
FIS Ski Jumping: You are third in the overall World Cup. It will probably be hard to take the title away from Peter Prevc, but do you think you can get closer to Severin Freund?
Gangnes: I'm not so sure about that. Severin is very strong. I will try to have as many good moments as possible and to achieve good results. Then we will see where I stand at the end.
FIS Ski Jumping: All the best for the rest of the season!