Going into what looks like his last World Cup season, the sole remaining Swiss Nordic Combined athlete Tim Hug had to go new ways yet again. Problems but also advantages as the 31-year-old explained.
Tim, you are in the middle of your summer training at the moment. Is everything going according to plan for the winter?
Tim Hug: I feel yes. I was able to train intensively and well in June and July. At the moment, I have an exam phase in my study program “Renewable energies and environment technology” and so I had to reduce my training volumes a bit. I started in one of the Summer Grand Prix events in Oberstdorf to see where I currently stand.
You have been the only remaining elite-level Swiss Nordic Combined athletes for years. So you have had to do a lot of the preparations alone, this season even without a coach.
Hug: We have cooperated with the Norwegian team in the last two years already. It started in the equipment and service sector. Last year, we also started to do common training camps but back then, I always had my own coach and service man. Going into this season, it was not possible anymore to form my own team for financial reasons. This is why we “bought into” the Norwegian team. You could say I am a full-fledged Norwegian team member by now.
Does this also bring advantages, as Norway is one of the leading nations in Nordic Combined?
Hug: Yes, it also is a new chance. We were forced to find an alternative and so an emergency situation turned into a good solution in the end. After many years, I am finally part of a team again. I can profit from new input and new ideas for training. You have to try new things to develop. The Norwegians accepted me into their team from the first training camp onwards, everybody was really open towards me.
Due to financial reasons and my studies, I cannot be in Norway all the time. So far, I spent three weeks there. But we have regular calls and video exchange. When I am at home, I have to organise many things by myself now, which means some more restraints but also more freedom. It is my goal to spend more time with the team from the end of September onwards and do training camps in Seefeld in October and afterwards on the glacier in the Schnalstal together with them.
What are you focussing on in your season preparation this time?
Hug: I put a lot of focus on cross-country technique this time. There was nobody to help me with that in the last couple of years because I did not have a cross-country coach in the last five to six years. There is still a lot of potential on this side and there is a cross-country specialist with the Norwegian team. On the purely physical side, I have worked quite well in the past few years, I am not far away from the best Norwegians.
On the jumping hill, I have to find my old trust and self-confidence again. We have analysed everything quite well in spring and I’ve had interesting input from the new coaches. I have the feeling it’s getting better and better.
The World Championships in Seefeld are the highlight of the upcoming season. Will this be the final goal of your Nordic Combined career or is there a possibility that you will continue past this winter?
Hug: Basically, I have made the decision that this will be my last season. It would fit very well with my studies to end my career after the season as the work load is getting bigger and bigger and many assignments are bigger projects that need to be tackled. If I continue past the upcoming season, I would have to do another entire Olympic cycle. That’s not in my plans for now.”
Courtesy of SwissSki