The Champion has the last word before the winter. In this last TUESDAY TALK before the action starts again, Eric Frenzel dishes on goals for the Olympic season, his shape and how he is looking forward to meet some of the discipline’s biggest names again.
How did you spend your time since we last saw you during the Summer Grand Prix in the summer?
Eric Frenzel: Well above all, I have trained a lot. We had a lot of training volume to go through, especially for the cross-country part and tried to push the level in that matter. On the other side, we also had many camps and jumping sessions. Especially when we trained as a group, the jumping part was a focus.
We had a camp in Garmisch, at the end now, we were in Oberstdorf, in between, we had the German nationals together with out “8 hills tournament”, in which we do a really intense week with many competitions. So a lot has happened. I’d say I’m in a good shape and I hope I can also show that on the upcoming weekend.
Also in your family, some things will probably have changed with the birth of your third child. Have you gotten into things well as a family of five by now?
Frenzel: Yes, I would say we have gotten used to it by now. Of course this was a very special situation as three kids do demand quite some attention, especially when you have two young ones. But our oldest son really supported my wife a lot when she was alone and I couldn’t be there.
So far, we have handled things quite well and everything is under control! (laughs) We had really nice and unforgettable moments together. I think we are quite well set up for the winter season and everybody is looking forward to it.
Last year you made history: the fifth consecutive overall World Cup victory, the fourth consecutive TRIPLE victory. You career is one told in superlatives and you’re almost out of historical goals still to achieve. What have you set as you goal for this year?
Frenzel: Yes, the last years were very successful, no doubt about it. But still, this season will be very special due to the Olympic Games. I was not out of motivation to prepare myself for this event and I will have no problem to continue to do so in the next couple of weeks and months.
So if it’s not happening in the end, if my body does not respond to the amount of training the same way as in the past, it will certainly will not be due to a lack of motivation! My sights are set on the Olympics and I hope that I can show good results there.
The German dominance of the past winter has been and still is a major topic in Nordic Combined. What do you expect of the competitors but also of your own teammates this winter?
Frenzel: What do I expect of the competition? Well, I would really like it to have more fights also with athletes from another countries and not only from my own team. I think I cannot have been easy for the others to accept the situation as it was in the past winter. We really dominated in a big way. But the Olympic Games will also have been a huge motivation for everybody else to up their game and give everything for that.
Within my own team I can say that the basic motivation was there and everybody worked really hard and well over the summer and we progressed. It will not be easy to beat the German team.
But yes, it is a new season, everybody starts at zero at everybody has the same chances. Or course we would like to be successful again and will do everything to make that happen.
The comebacks of the big legends Hannu Manninen and Jason Lamy Chappuis have also been talked about a lot. It was rumoured that the Norwegian Petter Tande has also returned to the jumping hill. Do you actually look especially forward to compete with these big names again?
Frenzel: It is a great thing for Nordic Combined if these big names try to come back and compete with us. They have already proven what they are made of and have been the face of the discipline for a long time. I think it’s positive to see them again.
Maybe one or the other can actually be really successful with the comeback. We all know that the Olympics have their own rules and sometimes unexpected things happen if somebody has a lucky day. I think it would actually be really nice for them, given that they decided to go through all of this again. I wish them very well and hope they can achieve what they are looking to achieve. Last but not least, I am also looking forward to just talking to them before and after the competitions.
As you mentioned, the competition is big also within your big team. At the German nationals, you had to concede defeat to your big rival of the last season, Johannes Rydzek. Which key takeaways did you take with you from these pre-season competitions?
Frenzel: Basically, these competitions do tell you something. I had some bigger difficulties in the ski jumping part. I had to restructure and change some things in which I was not on the level on which I like to be. Johannes was able to show his strength and ability and he is definitely not to be underestimated and has to be very high up on the list of favourites.
I took with me that I had to work on some issues before the season started and all the way until the Olympics, so I can perform on a better level there than what I showed at the German nationals. Therefore it was good for me to get this input, to see that I have to improve in this matter.