Kilian Peier was one of the discoveries of last summer. Third place in the Grand Prix in Hinterzarten, second place in Hinzenbach (AUT) and sixth place in the overall standings of the FIS Grand Prix 2018. Peier jumped on a level that the likable Swiss is now a contender for top results in the coming winter. We talked to the man from the French-speaking area of Switzerland.
FIS Ski Jumping: Kilian, you were one of last summer's up-and-comers, please introduce yourself briefly.
Kilian Peier: "I am 23 years old and have lived in Einsiedeln for 7 years. Originally I am from near Lausanne. During the summer I love to train on my racing bike or my mountain bike. I also like to be outdoors or in the mountains. Simon Amman has been my role model ever since I started ski jumping".
FIS Ski Jumping: You have been competing in the World Cup since 2014/2015. Your results have been rather mixed so far. Your best result in the World Cup was the 17th place, at your World Cup premiere in November 2014 in Klingenthal. Then came summer 2018 and all of a sudden your jumps improved technically, you were close to and on the podium. What happened after last winter? What triggered this performance boost?
Kilian Peier: "The mental aspect plays an important role in Ski Jumping. In the past few winters I've had a bit of a struggle with it. I was often a bit insecure and my self-confidence suffered during the competition days. As a result, my performance was rather inconsistent. The problem was exacerbated by the non-selection for the Olympic Games. After the season, I personally questioned a lot and knew that things had to improve."
"I realized that top performances are only possible by leaving the comfort zone."
FIS Ski Jumping: What exactly did you change: Technique, equipment, training?
Kilian Peier: "Technically I didn't change very much except one detail that affects my arms. For 2 years I have been working with a private coach. I wanted to achieve more and he understood that very well. Together we have found a way that meets both expectations and makes a good cooperation possible. The results of the summer competitions confirmed this and show that I am on the right track. In addition, I have adapted and optimized my lifestyle a bit. Now I can train more consciously and purposefully. I have accepted that sporting excellence is only possible by leaving the comfort zone".
FIS Ski Jumping: Were there any changes regarding the coaching staff?
Kilian Peier: "Apart from the return of technician Gerhard Hofer, the rest has remained unchanged. I have confidence in my team and I'm looking forward to the start in Wisla."
FIS Ski Jumping: What are your expectations for the coming winter? Top 10 / Top 5 places are realistic after this summer, aren't they?
Kilian Peier: "My goal is to show the same quality jumps than in summer also in winter. I think the Top 20 are realistic - and everything that's better is a bonus. "
FIS Ski Jumping: Ski jumping in Switzerland will always be closely associated with the name Simon Ammann. Since this summer you have been the crown prince for Ski Jumping in Switzerland. Many people, including Simon himself, have been waiting for this for a long time. Is that now a burden or does it spur you on?
Kilian Peier: "Crown Prince... (laughs). Of course, being at the top is a great feeling. I think the results this summer give me a lot of energy and self-confidence. Whether I can take on the role of team leader will be seen in winter. I will focus on the jumps and try to get the best out of every situation. "
FIS Ski Jumping: How important is it for you to have Simon Ammann in your team next winter?
Kilian Peier: "Very important. He is part of the team and has a lot of experience. I'll be able to react more quickly in some situations.