Slovenia’s Rok Jelen made a name for himself on the international stage of Nordic Combined with an amazingly close finish line sprint for the bronze medal of the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Oberwiesenthal (GER) last winter. Even though Jelen ended up losing the medal to France’s Gael Blondeau by a couple of centimetres, the 20-year-old from Velenje keeps on improving. Get to know him better with the following questions.
How did you start with skiing / Nordic Combined?
I tried a lot of different sports in my childhood but in the end I decided to do Ski Jumping and Cross Country-Skiing. At the beginning I was doing it just for fun but every year , I became more and more serious. Now is Nordic Combined a big part of my life.
Why did you pick Nordic Combined as your sport, what fascinates you most about it?
My father was Nordic Combined athlete. Soon after I was born, he finished his career and became a coach. I went to a few training sessions with him and I loved it. I think that in our sport you have to be good at everything. We have two totally different sports and sometimes it is really hard. But at the end of the race, we are all friends and like one big family.
What do you have to work harder on, the ski jumping or the cross-country skiing?
In the past couple of years I worked harder on ski jumping. However this season I will work hard on the cross-country part too.
Do you have a sports idol/role model (inside or outside of Nordic Combined)?
My role model is (Slovenian ski jumper-cum-cyclist) Primož Roglič. But in my childhood, I was always cheering for Gregor Schlierenzauer and Eric Frenzel.
What was your greatest/best/most exciting moment in Nordic Combined so far?
Probably one of my first international competitions in Oberstdorf. We went there for the FIS Youth Cup in 2012. I was 3rd but the best moment was watching the big guys. It was something really special to stand there on the podium with them.
What are your goals for the next season?
The next season is going to be really important for me. I want to break through from Continental Cup to the World Cup, which will be hard but I think that my training is going well. However, I would like to improve my jumping and skiing performance and get closer to the big guys.
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