It has been almost eleven months since Franz-Josef Rehrl tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee at the home World Cup in Ramsau am Dachstein. After months of hard work, rehab and strength training, the three-time World Championship medalist returned to Innsbrucks infamous Bergisel last week.
In this weeks Tuesday Talk the Austrian talks about what it feels like to be back on the hill and his goals for the upcoming season.
Almost a year ago you injured yourself at the home World Cup in Ramsau, now you are celebrating your return on the hill. How does it feel to have jump skis on again?
Rehrl: It’s cool to be back! At the beginning I was a bit nervous about my first jumps, of course, but it seems to work and run smoothly. I'm glad I'm here and can enjoy Ski Jumping again.
In general, the way back was really exciting. At the very first jump I felt like a 12 year old jumping off a K90 for the first time, but the feeling and routine came back quickly.
Ski Jumping is like riding a bike, luckily you don't forget how to do it so quickly. Even though I haven't jumped for over ten months, when I was back in the air, it was really fun again.
How do you rate your current performance level?
Rehrl: That's a good question! (laughs) I honestly don't know. Basically, Ski Jumping doesn't feel bad, but I'll definitely need a few more training sessions before I can compete again. That’s out of the question. But I will continue to work step by step and then we'll see where we're headed.
With Johannes Lamparter and Lukas Greiderer you have two of the most successful athletes of the last season in your team: Are their performances an incentive or do their great successes put pressure on you?
Rehrl: It's cool that last season was so successful for them, but it doesn't affect my athletic activities. It's good that we’ll be together at the next training sessions on the hill, so that I can see where I am performance-wise. Nonetheless I have to focus on myself to get back to the top.
What are your sporting goals for the coming season?
Rehrl: For me there are no goals for placements in the coming winter. My goal is to catch up with Ski Jumping again and to start in competitions all over the world. I want to get involved in the front again and not mess around somewhere in the back of the field. It is my goal to show what I can do and give my best.
When will fans be able to see you live in the World Cup again?
Rehrl: There are several ideas, but nothing is fixed yet. In the next few weeks we will see how I develop and decide from day to day about my return.
Interview: Clemens Dengac / ÖSV