Looking at the result lists from the first Continental Cup weekend in Steamboat Springs, USA, one name jumped out: triple winner of the weekend was Norway’s Mikko Kokslien, a veteran with 152 World Cup starts, 7 individual victories and five World Championship medals to his name. In TUESDAY TALK, he speaks about reasons for his U.S. trip, his struggle to get into the season 2017/18 and his Christmas plans.
Mikko, the beginning of the season 2017/18 was not the best one for you. After some time spent analysing the situation, were you able to identify points that you need to improve?
Mikko Kokslien: I have felt pretty strong in the last months. Jumping and also physically, I have been stronger than in the last years. But when starting in Ruka, I came out on the wrong side a bit. I started to stress with the jumping, and I struggled to keep my mind clear in competition situations. So that’s the key takeaway for me: improve the competition performance.
You started in the Continental Cup in Steamboat Springs on the past weekend. What was the reasoning behind this decision?
Kokslien: That was also the reason why I travelled to the U.S. To enjoy a little more relaxed atmosphere and try and get the self confidence back. I really enjoyed the whole time spent there, including the race days.
With three victories in as many races, you certainly made the most out of your trip to the USA. How important was it for you to have these positive experiences while competing?
Kokslien: The competitions gave me a lot. Both on the hill as well as in the CC races. It was tight battles and really fun to be fighting for the victory. A lot of adrenaline every day (smiles). So it was spot on what I wanted to get out of going there. Now I feel I can relax more in the competitions again and I will use the boost I got there, fighting for top spots in World Cup again.
The last time, you were on start in the Continental Cup, it was still called World Cup B in 2008. What would you say has changed most since back then?
Kokslien: The Continental Cup is way more professional now then back when I was in B-World Cup. It’s more similar to the World Cup now. Also the organisers in Steamboat have made the weekend into a very nice and competitive experience. I can tell that FIS with Continental Cup Coordinator Toni Guggemoos has the clear goal to make the COC more attractive and compelling.
Do you already know when fans will be able to see you back in World Cup?
Kokslien: I hope I can start already in Otepää, but I don't know yet.
What are your plans for the Christmas break now?
Kokslien: For Christmas I will go to my girlfriends home place, Røldal, on the west coast of Norway. I will stay there for some days and then go back to Lillehammer for training/jumping before I hopefully go to the World Cup in Otepää.