Carina Vogt: „Like a fairy tale“

The big events are her favourite ones: Germany´s Carina Vogt is not just the first female Ski Jumper to win an Olympic gold medal. With her victory in Lahti she also became the first one to defend her title at the World Championships successfully. With she is talking about mental difficulties in processing a great season. Hello Carina, how are you doing?
Carina Vogt: I am doing fine. I´ve just started training again and I am back at the University for my studies. There is a lot to do. What are you studying?
Vogt: Political Science. That sounds like quite a contrast programme compared to ski jumping.
Vogt: It actually is. And that´s what it´s supposed to be. I was looking for something other than sports. I´ve only started in October and I have to see how far I will get with it. But I am really enjoying it. How difficult is it for you to “switch off” from ski jumping, especially after an exciting season?
Vogt: In general I´m pretty good at processing such things. But after the season it usually takes a few weeks. I am analysing and thinking how to prepare for the next winter, what to do differently. What is easier: processing a really good season or forgetting about a not so good one?
Vogt: That´s a tough one. A year ago, after the 2015/16 season was really not good for me, I went to the States for 6 weeks to get a mental break and to gain new energy. It worked really good.
This year I had to process a lot of emotions. It took me a while to really come home and shake off the travelling. Also, there still came up many appointments and interviews which forced me to think it all over again and again. So in fact, it takes longer after a good season. Then here is one more reminder of your season: it seemed to be a perfect build up over the winter. Your results got better and better and in Lahti you were back on top. Was it planned this way?
Vogt: No, it was not. I´ve been in good shape in the summer with a podium finish and I was very positive I can achieve good results from the beginning of the winter. But then I´ve changed my jumping boots and the beginning of the World Cup was disappointing. It took me the first three World Cup stages to realize what the problem was. I couldn´t deal with the boots and had to change them again. After that it got much better. But I also knew I was on a very high physical level and felt confident towards the World Championships. How everything worked out in the end feels like a fairy tale. In the middle of the season you had a lot of results around places 4 to 7. Very close to the podium but still not on the podium. Was it difficult to stay confident back then?
Vogt: It very much depends on who is around you. My coaches always made me feel that I am on a good way. As an athlete you need to trust them and learn to be patient enough. I am pretty experienced meanwhile. That made it easier. Next stop where the World Championships. You are well known for your mental strength at those big occasions. Were you counting on your competitors being more nervous than you or only focusing on yourself?
Vogt: Up till the final round, I didn`t give it any thought. I was struggling a lot with myself and didn’t get along with the hill very well in the trainings. At the trial round I finally found the right setup of my equipment and timing. I was in a good position after the first round. And then it was good to know that I´m capable of keeping it together for the final. I knew I would make a good jump and will put pressure on my competitors. Are you working with mental coaches or is this kind of strength a natural ability?
Vogt: We are working with them. But I believe it´s mainly my experience. Especially at the Junior World Championships I´ve failed a few times and I´ve learned that I can`t force it anyway or have an impact on how the others are jumping. I have to focus on myself and I know I can achieve something if I am performing my best. Maybe proving this a few times in the past made it more difficult for the other ladies standing up there with me. You have already mentioned the 15/16 season, which was not only disappointing for you but for the whole German team. How does this come back from last winter feel?
Vogt: It´s great. The winter before was really tough. There was a lot of pressure, especially on me. Now seeing that there are so many girls able to finish on the podium is awesome. I´ve really enjoyed those moments. And of course the sweep in Ljubno was very special. I was extremely happy for Svenja Wuerth who had a really hard time after her injury. We are living together and I was kind of witnessing this whole process of hers. It was a very interesting season in general with new World Cup winners like Yuki Ito, Maren Lundby and of course Katharina Althaus. How do you see the development of your sport?
Vogt: I am very happy about it, it makes our sport much more interesting and will hopefully get us more attention. It is important to see that there is a development and more and more nations are taking part. I hope we will be able to challenge Sara Takanashi for the overall World Cup in the future (laughing). What would you wish for Ladies Ski Jumping for the next years?
Vogt: In general I am a little disappointed with the last years. We were hoping for more World Cups, mixed competitions and big hills. It feels like we took a few steps back instead of forward. Especially the big hills are very important. It is more spectacular. This is what we want. Let´s have a short look ahead: What is your schedule for the next months?
Vogt: I will be studying till July and of course do training. The Olympics are the goal. But right now they still seem pretty far away. Thank you for your time and all the best for the next months.