Right before the Summer Grand Prix 2018 gets underway, who better to talk to than the winner of last year’s edition, Kristjan Ilves from Estonia. For TUESDAY TALK, he revisits some of the past season’s up and downs, looks towards Seefeld 2018 and his home World Cup in Otepää.
Kristjan, you won the Summer Grand Prix 2017. With what kind of feeling do you go into this year’s edition?
Kristjan Ilves: Definitely I’d like to be in a good position this year as well and am actually really looking forward to competing again! For sure the most important point is to be in the best shape in winter, so the Summer Grand Prix will be a good place to check the current condition.
Do you plan to attend all four stops of this Summer Grand Prix again?
Ilves: At the moment we are planning to take part only in the first period of SGP.
You proceeded to have a good winter with your first podium results in Japan and the first Estonian podium in 26 years. What did this result mean to you?
Ilves: It was great I was able to show probably the best jumps of my life in Hakuba . Furthermore, it was very memorable moment to share the podium with two Nordic combined legends like Jan Schmid and Akito Watabe. However, to conclude the whole season, I had many ups and downs. Also the Olympics weren’t quite what I was hoping for. Despite of that it was definitely my best season and it gave me a confidence that we are moving in the right direction.
Tell us a little bit about your summer training so far.
Ilves: The summer has been great. Most of June, we were in Otepää and from the beginning of July, we were training in Innsbruck for two weeks. At the moment, we are back on the home tracks in Otepää. Anyway, lot of hard work has been done and there are still many training months to come so I am looking forward to it.
With the World Championships in Seefeld, the big highlight of the next season is clear. Which goals have you set for the upcoming winter?
Ilves: For sure, I want to be in the top shape in Seefeld and I have set high goals for the World Championships. I had a good weekend in 2018 edition of the TRIPLE, so it gives me good confidence to face the most important event of the year. In generally I’d like to be more stable during the season and show more good performances on the jumping hill.
Your home World Cup of Otepää unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the warm temperatures in January last year. How much are you looking forward to this winter’s edition?
Ilves: It was really very sad that we had to cancel the event that I was looking forward to so much but I hope next season the weather will be on our side and the Estonians will be able see the best Nordic combined athletes in action in Otepää. For me it’s a surely one of the season highlights and I want to show my best performances in front of my home crowd.