He’s the veteran on the German team but in the past season, Björn Kircheisen really stepped up his game again. In the current edition of TUESDAY TALK, the 34-year-old looks back on closing the chapter of his gold medal hunt, reveals his new goals and gives some inside view on the latest German training camp in Spain.
You can look back on an amazing winter. If somebody told you before, you’d come out of the season with a 17th World Cup victory, two other podium positions, the long longed for World Championship gold medal and another individual medal from Lahti, what would you reaction have been?
Björn Kircheisen: Well, I am sure nobody expected this to happen and to be honest, neither did I. I have always believed in myself and I am more than happy about the whole situation, about how everything went. To be a part of such a strong team and to really win these medals in Lahti just proves the good work and steady development we’ve put in.
How good did it feel to finally win this long overdue gold medal that you were missing?
Kircheisen: I really really worked long and hard for this goal and many people were expecting it from me or really wanted me to finally get it. It makes me incredibly proud to have this gold medal in my collection now. It also helps with my current training: everything’s easy, my level of motivation is high. I am already looking forward to the winter and it would be absolutely the biggest thing for me to be able to compete at the Olympics one more time. I will do everything to make this possible.
So what’s next after a fantastic season like the past one? Which goals did you set for the next winter?
Kircheisen: First of all, there’s the qualification for the Olympic Games. With a team this strong, it will be no sure-fire success. I will have to give and invest everything to achieve that but I am looking forward to the challenge. The last winter gave me a lot of confidence to attack my new goals.
Other than that, we have gotten a really strong opponent back in the form of Jason Lamy Chappuis, which will make it even harder to fight for the best results. But I am happy that also he is back, I’m sure it’s going to be a really nice winter. I also have a home World Cup in Klingenthal at the end of the season now, which makes it even nicer. I am really looking forward to that!
You are turning 34 this year. Do you actually have an end date set for your career or do you decide season after season?
Kircheisen: It’s right that I am already turning 34 but as long as I feel good and deliver results, I have the plan to stay with it. I love this sport and live it with absolute professionalism each day. I just love to ski, to jump, to do power training and to be with this amazing team during the year. I hope I will be able to enjoy this for a little while longer. The young ones do put up some pressure and I really have to push back but I will give my all to stay on the required level of performance.
But for sure, we don’t have to beat around the bush here, my career end will become a topic in the next one or two years.
You’ve just finished a training camp with the German team in Majorca, Spain. Can you tell us a little bit what the main areas were that you worked on?
Kircheisen: We had an amazing training camp on the island of Majorca. We were accompanied by a cycling professional, Marcus Burghardt, who is preparing for the Tour de France right now. We rode together with him for some days and he showed us some amazing tours. It was great, we were able to do many long, calm units of training in fantastic weather. So it was mainly about basic endurance training. But the team spirit was fantastic again and we could stick exactly to our training plan, so a very good start into the training season.
Another topic you have probably been asked about frequently in the past winter is the amazing dominance of the German team. As a very experienced athlete, how do you view this topic? Can/will this trend continue?
Kircheisen: I think there will not be another season like the past one. It was a unique thing. But we really grew from and because of this high level of performances. Everybody wanted to give the absolute maximum and we really pushed each other. I believe this was the key to our success.
I don’t think it will continue like this, though. The Norwegians and the Austrians will heavily invest, especially with the Olympics coming and so I think it will be really difficult to repeat a season like the past one. We will of course try everything to be in contention for the top results and also top the nations cup list in the end.