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“Optimism is most important! You always have to believe yourself”
© Volk/NordicFocus

This weeks Tuesday Talk features Mario Seidl, who was the second-best Austrian with a 10th place in the Overall World Cup ranking 2021/22.

The 29-year-old spoke about his exciting spring trips including a mountain cabin and a roadtrip as well as his never-ending optimism when it comes to racing. 
How optimism made him reach his 10th WC podium in Oslo (NOR) with a second place, for the first since February 2019 and why a good team spirit makes the Austrian team so strong. 

The season 2021/22 is over and you had some time to reload. How did you spent your well-deserved off time?
My off time was very nice! I made really good use of it and trained on snow until the end. Among other things, I flew to Norway with Johannes (Lamparter, editor’s note), where we took part in the Janteloppet cross-country ski race and were able to rack up a lot of kilometers again.
After that I took part in the Austrian cross-country championships over a 30km distance, which was also really fun.

Following this, I was allowed to spend a week alone in a mountain cabine in the Gastein valley. The snow groomer prepared the tracks especially for me and I could also explore the surrounding mountains on touring skis. In terms of training, this time has brought a lot for my upcoming season already

After that I put the skis away for two weeks and traveled to Iceland with my girlfriend. We did a road trip of almost 2000 km, during which I was able to recharge my batteries and collect new motivation before the normal training routine starts again.

Thinking back, how satisfied are you with your performance overall last winter?
I'm relatively happy with my 10th place overall in the World Cup after being 20th in my comeback season. Getting back in the top 10 was my big goal and I also proofed to myself that I'm capable of competing on podium-level again.
That was very motivating!
The only downer is that I didn't manage to reach my peak performance during the Olympic Winter Games and unfortunately wasn't in top form there.

You’ve been one of the best Ski Jumpers, finishing 4th in the Best Jumper ranking, but sometimes having difficulties on the track. Would you say that in Nordic Combined good skiers have an advantage over good jumpers in the end?
Ever since I've been practicing Nordic Combined, I've always been a better Ski Jumper than skier. For this reason, a good jump is always the basis for a good placement for me. There's a lot in it for me, if I manage to get a good starting position on the hill from which I can then start a tactically good race.

Of course, the decision is always made on the course, so I want to work on my performance over the last few kilometers and in the sprint to the finish line. 
Even good skiers, who have to invest a lot at the beginning of the race to catch up with me, can be beaten with good tactics and a strong finish from my side. 

Austria placed 3rd in the overall Nations Cup ranking. What makes your team so strong?
We have a good team with great athletes and a fantastic team spirit. Especially at major events you notice that we all work together.
I'm already looking forward to the next training course, since it's always fun.

We are all different, but in the end our team structure fits so well that we can win and lose together.
After Lukas Klapfer's career ended, I'm the "team oldie" already now at the age of 29 (laughs) and of course I want to be a role model.

Basically, our team is very young and motivated, so that in the future there is definitely more to come than just 3rd place in the Nations Cup.

The last day of the old season is always the first of the new one. With what kind of training will you start into the summer?
It starts with basic training, in the form of two strength training units per week, in addition to endurance units in the form of running and cycling.

The first big training course will take place in Mallorca (ESP), where we will certainly spend many hours on the bike. For me, the focus is then particularly on symmetry, so that the prophylaxis for my knee is also given and I can start again next winter just as well and safely as last time.

You’ve been incredibly successful in the last Grand Prix, finishing on the podium at almost all competitions. What do you like the most about competing in the summer? 
It has always been a lot of fun for me to compete in the heat, because the sun and high temperatures don't bother me at all.
In addition, in recent years I have managed to keep my ski jumping performance at a consistently high level, even in summer.

The biggest difference with roller skis is that we all start with the same model and there are no differences in waxing. It's also easier for me to bring my sharpness to the track on asphalt.
The goal is to bring my good performance on roller skis in summer also to the winter, whether on ice or soft snow.

You positive attitude makes you one of the fan favorites of Nordic Combined. Would you say this optimism is your biggest strength?
Optimism is most important! You always have to believe yourself. Of course, the fun must not be lost either, so I always try to add new stimuli during training and that we also get along well with each other as a team.
If the atmosphere is good, we can start the next season with optimism again.

Also, Nordic Combined is simply an incredibly great sport that I enjoy a lot and I want to show this off. When I hear from people that they enjoy watching our competitions because they are exciting and the athletes are likeable, that makes me happy. I definitely want to continue this mood!

 
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