Juliane Seyfarth is a German ski jumper, who, after having won the title of World Junior Champion and winning five Ladies Continental Cup competitions and being only 16 years old, became completely lost. She has now slowly began to regain ground and promises to fight for the highest goals.
Skijumping.pl: Two years ago you reached for the title of World Junior Champion, you were in great form then. You also dominated during the Summer Continental Cup 2006. After that, your high form seems to have disappeared…
Juliane Seyfarth: After this summer, when I practically won all the competitions, a lot of aspects of my jumping went wrong. We started training very late on the hill because all Europe was lacking snow. When the first winter competitions finally approached, it was hard to resist the pressure of good results. Everyone expected me to perform as well as I had in summer, but that wouldn’t be the case. After the first unsuccessful competitions the pressure grew even bigger, because I wanted badly to go back to jumping on a high level again, more so since I was the leader of general classification of the cycle all the time. As a result, it got worse and worse with each and every competition.
Skijumping.pl: Did your coaches, parents put such great pressure on you?
Juliane Seyfarth: No, I mostly simply required too much of myself. The coaches wouldn’t tell me I had to win. It was a problem of my own, I took a bad approach, I wanted to be as good as in the previous season.
Skijumping.pl: You are the youngest competitor in your discipline to be so well titled. Was it hard for you when you stopped winning?
Juliane Seyfarth: When I knew I jumped poorly, I got even more nervous then when I was in good form. Everything was hard for me. All the time, however, I held in mind a higher goal: World Championships in Liberec. So I thought to myself, I can’t keep winning all the time, and simply focused on hard work again.
Skijumping.pl: Do you have some idols among ski jumpers? Perhaps you identify with someone in particular?
Juliane Seyfarth: I like to watch male ski jumping, but don’t have any idols among them. I don’t know them well enough to identify with them. I may have some things in common with Gregor Schlierenzauer, since he also started winning at a very young age and also won the World Junior Champion title on the same year as I did. Then he started jumping in senior competitions, without any pressure, obligations, just for the mere joy of practicing the sport, just as was the case with me. I think, though, that he handled the pressure much better than I did last winter.
Skijumping.pl: Do you have problems with quick body growth and growing up?
Juliane Seyfarth: Yes, this also had some share in my form decline. Still though, most of the problems were rooted in my head.
Skijumping.pl: What is the current situation of ladies ski jumping in Germany?
Juliane Seyfarth: I think we get good support, we have our own national team. Currently, there are only financial problems with DSV. RTL didn’t want to support ski jumping so we didn’t have enough money for trainings and equipment. We had to cover the costs on our own. Generally I think ladies ski jumping is heading in the right direction. There are more and more countries putting their ski jumpers in competitions. For instance, we have already a Finland representative, I also heard girls from Rumania have started to perform.
Skijumping.pl: Do the medias and public take great interest in ladies ski jumping?
Juliane Seyfarth: A year ago I was in the Four Hills Tournament in Ga-Pa where I was giving an interview for tv. I think, however, it is necessary for our competitions to be aired on tv as well. There are after all people saying: Ladies ski jumping? What is it, I’ve never seen it on tv, so I don’t know what in the blazes it is.
Skijumping.pl: So do sou think it is possibile for ladies ski jumping competitions to be coverd on TV?
Juliane Seyfarth: I think yes. Even this summer, in the Bohemian Liberec, a competition is to take place, which will be a good test before World Championships 2009. Both women as well as men will participate.
Skijumping.pl: Is it hard to connect ski jumping with school and personal life?
Juliane Seyfarth: I attend a sports school in Oberhof and since this summer I have had my own apartment where I live together with my boyfriend. I am somewhat less occupied during the week there but learning takes a year longer than usual. So it is much easier to balance between school and trainings.
Skijumping.pl: So you live without parents?
Juliane Seyfarth: Yes, but it’s not like I ran from home. Whenever I have a free weekend I come home to visit my parents and my little brothers.
Skijumping.pl: And what do you do besides ski jumping?
Juliane Seyfarth: I really like siing, snowboarding, but in winter I don’t have much time. I also like shopping. My dream is to go somewhere sunny on vacation where I could swim in the sea and bask on the beach.
Skijumping.pl: Lots of people say ski jumping isn’t a sport for women because have a detrimental influence on their looks. However, looking at you, few could guess you practice this sport, do you agree?
Juliane Seyfarth: I think it isn’t true. This isn’t a sport where an extreme muscle build is required, where women lose their femaleness. When people find out I am a ski jumper, people are very suprised.
Skijumping.pl: Have you changed anything in your jumping technique since your first successes?
Juliane Seyfarth: Yes, especially the power of take-off is becoming more and more emphasisesd. I am very good at flying but I lacked the strength. So I had to train physically a lot and also need a different inrun position.
Skijumping.pl: Are you friends with competitors from other teams?
Juliane Seyfarth: In ladies ski jumping there is a very neat atmosphere, all the teams are friendly with each other and we have good times together.
Skijumping.pl: And isn’t it tiresome to spend so much time with the same people, all the traveling?
Juliane Seyfarth: We don’t spend so much time together. Mostly during the competitions and groupings but in the yearly scale, it’s not that much. We don’t get fed up with each other. Traveling I like very much, its cool to visit foreign countries.
Skijumping.pl: Is organizing uniform competitions for both men and women a good idea?
Juliane Seyfarth: I thing it’s nicer. Thanks to this, more people will start coming to the hill, we will attract more attention.
Skijumping.pl: What are your main goals for this season?
Juliane Seyfarth: Most of all the World Junior Championships in Sczyrk, I want to perform well there. I would also like to get good results in the Continental Cup.
Skijumping.pl: And your dreams for the future?
Juliane Seyfarth: I want to participate in Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver and present myself as well as I only can.
Tadeusz Mieczyński, 13.12.2007