Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Austrian nearly ties world record after falling back in love with the winter sport.
Gregor Schlierenzauer is only 28 years of age, however the Austrian has already built a ski jumping career to rival the very best winter sport athletes in history.
The Tyrol native, though, has not had it all his own way recently as mental doubts and physical problems threatened to bring his thrilling career to a halt.
Here is what he had to say in Hangar-7 at Sport und Talk:
You recently jumped 253.5 metres in Planica, Slovenia and would have tied the world record if the landing had been successful. What was the feeling like jumping that far?
It was enormous emotion during a very intimate moment. This flight was a huge kick for my soul and my heart. I will never forget that feeling.
Is the world record something on your radar for the rest of your career?
I have been in the World Cup now for 13 years and I’ve had better years of success. A world record is something unique and just happens. Everything has to fit together. It fills me with gratitude, because not every ski jumper can say that they have already jumped more than 250 metres. That’s why it’s very special for me and my ski jumping world.
Can you compare the thrill or sensation of nailing a brilliant jump to anything else?
You have to focus fully on the moment, so that you can complete the jump as well as possible. There are days when you are more excited and concentration becomes more difficult, but that is normal and human. It’s not just in sport, but life in general.
Does the jump in Slovenia give you confidence that some of your best years are still ahead of you?
Personally, I’ve never doubted that. Ski jumping is a sensitive sport where small things can be crucial and fatal. I injured myself at the start of the season but, fortunately, the injury was not that bad. That’s why I’m very thankful that I was allowed to compete this season. Now it is time to analyse this in peace, to bring clarity, to hone the technology and stay tuned for the future.
You talked recently about getting a better work/life balance. Have you rediscovered your love for the sport?
I am very grateful. This year has shaped me, and filled me with love and gratitude. It showed me how cool being a ski jumper really is, even if the success has not been as good as before. Just knowing that I can continue working is an enormous satisfaction and reliving the true joy and love of ski jumping is what remains for me this season.
How hard has it been going from the man everyone wanted to beat, to being the challenger?
That’s more different for everyone else. I always prepare the same. My goal is still to jump very well. It does not matter if you are the hunted or the hunter. If you have the goal to do the jump as well as possible, success is usually the result. It’s a different situation, of course, but I think you learn most from these challenging times.
Which other Austrian sportsmen and women do you enjoy watching and why?
Austria is very well placed in sports for such a small country. Many admire Marcel Hirscher or the footballers but I also admire my friend Simon Wallner, who was at the Paralympic Games. He had to endure hard times and, for me, he is the true hero. Being allowed to participate in the Winter Games is something that has always touched and motivated me.