Markus Eisenbichler: "I want to reach my optimum performance"
Markus Eisenbichler, ski jumper, 26, Bavarian, likable guy, always in a good mood, and from a German point of view the surprise of the last Ski Jumping winter season. Eighth in the overall World Cup, seventh in the 4-Hills-Tournament, three podium finishes in the World Cup, mixed team World Champion and bronze medalist in the individual event on the normal hill in Lahti. Together with Andreas Wellinger, Eisenbichler made it a very successful season for the German team, despite the injury of Severin Freund.
FIS Ski Jumping: Can you please introduce yourself, not everyone knows you that well already.
Markus Eisenbichler: I'm now 26 years old and I'm from the beautiful Chiemgau region, near the lake Chiemsee. I started Ski Jumping when I was six and a half years old at a special children's training where various sports could be tried. When I was alpine or cross-country skiing I always enjoyed jumping over the hills and after this trial training it just went on from there.
FIS Ski Jumping: How did your summer go so far? Did you have enough free time or have you been training a lot?
Eisenbichler: I think the summer went quite well. At the beginning I had to attend training at the federal police again, then I participated in the competition in Hinterzarten and, according to my opinion, it was okay. After that, I went on vacation for the first time in two and a half years. It was very relaxing and actually, I could have that every year, and for an even longer period of time. I'm satisfied with how things are going right now. After the vacation, I increased the intensity of the training and I'm jumping a lot again now.
FIS Ski Jumping: Last winter was outstanding for you. You were on the podium three times and at the World Championships in Lahti, you won bronze in the individual event on the normal hill and gold with the mixed team. After such great results, the expectations are always higher for the next winter. Is this a problem for you?
Eisenbichler: Of course the media is expecting that it continues like that or that it gets even better. I look at it differently. I expect from myself that I try to constantly improve my jumping and that I get close to my optimum performance. That's what I'm working on right now. I can't yet say what the winter will bring. I feel quite well, but I don't have any specific goals. Obviously, I want to go to PyeongChang and I have to qualify for the Olympics in our strong team. Another highlight for me are the Ski Flying World Championships in Oberstdorf. I want to compete there as well.
FIS Ski Jumping: If you had the chance to choose: 4-Hills-Tournament, overall World Cup, Olympic gold or the Ski Flying World Championship title. What would you like to win next winter?
Eisenbichler: For me personally the order would be: Overall World Cup, then the Ski Flying World Championships and then an Olympic medal. But as everyone knows: Life is not so simple and you can't always get what you want.
FIS Ski Jumping: Who do you think will come out on top in the upcoming winter?
Eisenbichler: Definitely Stefan Kraft, who proved in the COC recently that he is on the right track. The Poles are also very strong. Kamil Stoch shall never be underestimated. He is very experienced and knows exactly what he has to do and when he has to do it. Then there are the usual suspects of the Norwegians: Tande, Forfang, Gangnes are also back again. I got my impressions only from watching TV and looking at the result lists. You never know what happens in winter. It was often the case that certain athletes were good in summer, but then they couldn't perform on the same level in winter. The Poles, the Austrians and the Slovenes have to be reckoned with. The usual suspects will come out on top again.
FIS Ski Jumping: Your teammate Pius Paschke is currently on a roll in the COC (three wins in the last four competitions), almost like you last summer. Can we now expect him being about as strong next winter as you were last season?
Eisenbichler: If you win a few competitions in a row in the COC it shows extreme consistency. Pius has already been jumping well in the past, but I think this year he is in an even better shape and - as the results show - he is more consistent. In Klingenthal I'll see how good he is right now. I know him for a long time and, like him, I also had many ups and downs. That's why I'm even more happy that it's going so well for him right now.
Markus Eisenbichler will have his next competitions in Klingenthal: First the COC on September 30th and October 1st and then the Grand Prix final on October 3rd.