Richard Freitag: "It was a very important season"
In our series "FIS Ski Jumping-Talk" we present interviews with ski jumping athletes and officials. Today: Richard Freitag.
The 23-year-old native of Saxony in Germany, son of former world class ski jumper Holger Freitag, is competing in the World Cup since 2009 and has established himself on the team of head coach Werner Schuster. The reigning German Champion took five wins in the World Cup so far and won gold with the mixed team at the World Championships in Falun.
FIS Ski Jumping: Hello Richard, how did you spend the time without ski jumping?
Richard Freitag: Of course, first I took it a little slower, but there wasn't too much time to relax. I'm also training to be a physical therapist in Chemnitz. Actually I wanted to study medicine, but this is simply not possible besides the sport. That's why I decided to take this course instead. Right now it's still a lot of theory, but I started only in September.
FIS Ski Jumping: So you always take your books with you when you traveling in the World Cup?
Freitag: Exactly. It's some sort of a distance learning course.
FIS Ski Jumping: How's the training right now?
Freitag: Early July we will start jumping again, and we will also have some athletic training camps.
FIS Ski Jumping: The camps in summer are a lot about physical and motoric training. Are there things that are not that much fun and during which you are looking forward to when the training camp is over again?
Freitag: No, actually not. There is a lot of variety, also besides the training sessions. It's not getting monotonous.
FIS Ski Jumping: Let's look back on last season. How would you sum it up?
Freitag: All in all it was okay. Of course it was not extremely positive, but we made progress as a team, especially Severin stood out. But all in all we also grew together. It was a very important season and we can get a lot out of it.
FIS Ski Jumping: How important is winning the Nation's Cup for you?
Freitag: It is very important. Being a part of this won't happen every year. Of course it's the goal to win it again. This title shows, that not only an individual athlete shows strong performances, but there's a whole team behind it. It's nice that there is this ranking.
FIS Ski Jumping: You mentioned Severin Freund, who was obviously in the focus last winter as World Champion and overall World Cup winner. Is it good for you that there is this one athlete, who attracts all the attention and takes some pressure off the team with his success? Or is it more of an additional motivation?
Freitag: It's both. It's extremely important to have somebody who is among the best. We not only have Severin, but his consistency was impressive. And that spurs the ambition. You know that you are on the right track, but you also know that there are still things to improve in order to get closer to the top.
FIS Ski Jumping: Only Severin Freund and yourself were named to the A-team for next season. Does this make you proud or is it more of a formality?
Freitag: That's nice, but you don't do it yourself, the coaches do that. What's more important is how you evaluate your own performance. I was satisfied with last season because I achieved top results, but everything wasn't that great. I didn't know about this nomination yet. At the end we won't be traveling alone, there will be others as well. That's why you don't have to think about that a lot.
FIS Ski Jumping: There won't be Nordic World Championhips or Olympics next year. What are your goals?
Freitag: We have the 4-Hills-Tournament again. There it's about time that we have a better start in Oberstdorf. And of course there's the Ski Flying World Championships. But it's also a chance to focus on the 4-Hills-Tournament next season and get especially prepared for it. I want to try that. In Innsbruck I showed that it can work, but it has to work already a week earlier in order to have a really good start.
FIS Ski Jumping: Is this win in Innsbruck something that's still present for you or do you move on quickly after such a success?
Freitag: It is something that I like to remember. Not only because it was a win, there's also a family aspect. My dad had a serious crash in Innbruck and suffered a shoulder fracture. This was also the main reason why he had to retire. After my win he wrote me a text message saying that it's now 1:1 in the duel Bergisel vs. the Freitag Family.
FIS Ski Jumping: Thanks a lot for the interview and all the best for the preparation for the new season!