Poland’s Szczepan Kupczak can look back on a nice season: no injuries for the 25-year-old who, like Norwegian star Jarl Riiber, had to battle a shoulder injury in the past, a first-ever participation in the Olympic Games and a career-best overall result. Still, he is not at the end of his ambitions. For TUESDAY TALK, he gave some insights about life after the season ended, his recent training program and the Summer Grand Prix to come.
As we can see on your facebook page, you have returned to the jumping hills for the summer. How were the first jumps?
Kupczak: For me it was a really nice moment. It was our plan to start with this kind of training a little bit later in order to get really hungry for ski jumping again… I have to say, for me, it totally worked. (laughs)
Can you tell us what has been on your holiday and training program since the season ended?
Kupczak: Directly when this season was over, I left for the few days of holidays in Spain. For me, this season was one of the best in my career, but for sure it was also the most difficult and long one. I had to refresh my mind.
Our training program was like usually after the season: at first it is all about regeneration and a little bit of movement. After that I tried to develop my technique in cross-country skiing, for that we were at the glacier in Ramsau am Dachstein. Early spring is also time for responsibilities and fun, this area contains study, sponsorship meetings, charity events and hobbies…. Huh! When I read this, I had a pretty tight schedule. (laughs)
You were the best Polish athlete in the World Cup last year and finished within the Top 50 overall. How satisfied are you with the past season?
Kupczak: I should be happy, at least I finally finished the season without injuries and with a personal best. But I know I can do better still and sometimes I make stupid mistakes during preparation and competitions. But I have a calm mind, I'm learning all the time and I can not wait for the next season. Anyway, I’m proud of my results.
You were also part of the first-ever Polish team starting at Olympic Games in Nordic Combined and PyeongChang were your first Olympics. First of all, how was the experience and second, what did you think about your results?
Kupczak: It was my (and I think I can say “our”, too) dream to be at the Olympics as a team but we certainly expected more from this start. But life wrote a different story. Either way, it was amazing to be able to experience it. From my individually, I'm happy with the performance on the hills, I managed to keep my nerves in check and it worked out well.
The cross-country race the first competition went completely wrong for me but for the next starts, I drew my conclusions and it turned out pretty well.
Going into a World Championship season: what are your goals for 2018/19?
Kupczak: This question, I will leave without answer. I have enough experience with this topic to know that something can very easily thwart your plans. So just like a year ago, I leave my plans in my head and see what will happen.
Will we see you taking part in the Summer Grand Prix this year? What do you think about sharing the Oberwiesenthal event with the Nordic Combined ladies for the first time?
Kupczak: We'll see, you'll find out soon on my fanpage! (laughs) As for the girls, it is a good idea, they will have the chance to gain experience for the future.