No resentments within the Tepes family
It was a difficult weekend in Nizhny Tagil. Especially in the second competition on Sunday some of the top athletes drew a blank in the wind lottery.
One of them was Jurij Tepes The Slovene is considered one of the wildest daredevils in ski jumping. Everyone still remembers when he suffered a bad crash during a ski flying event in Harrachov, jumped up and threw his arms in the air celebrating. The 26-year-old showed a record jump, the crash didn't bother him. What bothered Tepes was his second jump in Sunday's competition in Nizhny Tagil. Shortly after the take off he was caught by a gust of wind, the ski flying expert could narrowly avoid a fall. The chance to achieve a good result was over. "This is not ski jumping, it's a freak show", the emotional athlete burst out afterwards.
"I was disappointed"
A day later Jurij Tepes has calmed down again. "I was disappointed because I was jumping well, but once again I had no chance due to the conditions. I hope that I'll have more luck in the future." Especially annoying for last season's Planica-winner: "My second jump was actually even better than the first one. But I had side wind, this makes it impossible to jump far."
Dad Miran operates the light
What makes this situation special is the fact that Jurij's father, Miran Tepes, is the assistant of FIS Race Director Walter Hofer and responsible for operating the start lights. This means: Tepes senior can give the "green light" for an athlete to start within a predetermined wind corridor. The 54-year-old, a former world class ski jumper himself and silver medalist in the team competition of the 1988 Olympic Games, understands the anger of the athletes. "Of course every jumper wants to start under the best possible conditions in order to show his best performance. The conditions in Nizhny Tagil were not easy. For the most part we didn't have problems with the wind, during some phases it was dangerous, during some phases the conditions were not really fair for all the jumpers. I'm sorry for the athletes, who had bad luck this time. But ski jumping is an outdoor sport and that's why such things happen."
Obviously Miran Tepes also saw the jump of his son: "There were some moments with strong side wind. But they were totally unpredictable. If I would have known this before, I wouldn't have set the light to green. For no athlete."
"An athlete like everybody else"
Of course there's no special treatment for Jurij: "In a competition he is an athlete like everybody else." The son admits: "Sometimes this is a difficult situation. I would prefer if somebody else would be standing up there who I can be mad at."
Discussions within the family are inevitable. Miran Tepes: "Sometimes Jurij comes to me after the competitions and states his opinion. He can be very emotional and wants to tell me how I could have done it better. I have to live with it that athletes, who weren't lucky with the wind, blame me. When some time has passed and the jumpers have discussed it with their coaches, they usually calm down. At the end the luck evens out. Maybe the wind will help next time."
It's definitely clear what the junior wishes for: "It would be nice if the conditions would be easier for the next competitions. And if I would have a bit of luck with the wind again." His Dad Miran would definitely agree with that.