Daniela Iraschko totally dominated the preceding winter season and was able to win 13 out of 18 competitions. Ladies-Skijumping.com editor Stefan Diaz talked to her about the season, the summer, football and the future.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: First of all congratulations for this outstanding season. It was your first overall win ever, after you have been on the second overall rank many times. What was different in this season?
Daniela Iraschko: In this season, as well as in the last season, I had a lot of fun jumping. I benefit a lot from the break I’m taking in summer. I can live other dreams of my life in summer and focus totally on jumping in winter. I think that is the big advantage I did not have before. And another point is, that I worked out hard for two years to stabilize my inrun position. I am just less error-prone and can adapt to any hill a lot easier.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Your major summer activity is playing football. Is it a double load of work to train both sports, or do these training sessions complement each other?
Daniela Iraschko: Of course it is not the perfect preparation, that coaches often ask an athlete for, but personally I think that they do complement each other very well. I was free of injuries for almost 2 years. It is some kind of mental strength you just recognize, you are more enduring and you have a free mind. Football is my biggest passion next to ski jumping and in Innsbruck my girls are like a family for me. That is just fun. And it is also fun to do a team sports, where everyone fights for each other. That is a big difference to skijumping, where motivation of course depends also on the atmosphere in the team, but where you are responsible only for yourself. But of course you also need a team in ski jumping, it would be boring without one.
The football training is a good addition also to the ski jumping, as I get a lot of coordination, endurance for the long, hard winter and of course swiftness and muscles – a great alternative to hard weight training.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: But isn’t it a little bit problematic, that you do not compete at ski jumping summer competitions? You cannot compare your performance with the other athletes.
Daniela Iraschko: It is not problematic at all, because at the onset of winter everything is reset to zero and you can hit form quite fast and lose form also very quickly. That is not a matter of training. Of course I do some 100 jumps less then my opponents, but for sure I do my training sessions… quietly and secretly on my favourite jumping hill in Stams. Maybe I will participate in some competitions this summer, but that will be depending on the hillsize. Actually I think, that it is an advantage for me not to start in summer, as I was jumping very well in the last two winters and had a lot of fun doing so.
And of course it is impossible in Austria to survive and finance yourself as a female jumper. Without the support of my parents, my sponsor and my job I would not have a chance to survive.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Lets take a look back to this winters’ season. You were able to celebrate 13 victories. Was there any personal highlight for yourself?
Daniela Iraschko: Yes, there were many. My first highlight was Vikersund, as I hit form there and it lasted the whole season. But the most important thing was my stable inrun position, because I had big problems on hills with a great radius in former times and it was hard to adapt my style to them. But that worked out fine this year. The best thing were maybe the two wins in Ljubno with a hill record – on a hill I would normally love to blow up every day. The season final was just wonderful, enjoyable and with perfect weather.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: You won some competitions being more than 30 points ahead, while others had very close results and only a difference of a half point. Which kind of victory is more enjoyable for you? Close or hands-down?
Daniela Iraschko: That depends on how I performed. For instance in Vikersund I won hands-down despite always having one weaker jump. Villach was very close but I jumped very well. I am just happy about my jumps, the result just happens. Of course it is motivating when you win by a great margin, but when it is a close duel, there is much more tension and the atmosphere is just heated. That is just thrilling then, and I think that makes me happy.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Lets take a look into the future. Next year there will be the World Championships in Oslo. Is a medal there your big goal, because you missed one in Liberec?
Daniela Iraschko: Yes. It was already my big goal in Liberec. And it was a defeat for me. I wanted to take revenge this year and that was successful. Next year I’m going to unpack my secret weapons. But I won’t tell you, what they are… No, all jokes aside! I want to have that medal so badly. I already started to plan my summer and winter, also the training sessions. Everything will be geared towards Oslo. As I love hills in Norway, it looks good. It is my big goal. But now I will take a break from ski jumping for some weeks and I hope I can help winning a different championship in that time.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Probably in football then. Did you already think about the time after Oslo? I think I have heard somewhere, that you are not sure, if you will continue until 2014, when we will hopefully be able to celebrate the Olympic premiere.
Daniela Iraschko: No, I’m not thinking about the Olympics. Maybe I will make a comeback then. But of course I fight for the discipline to become an Olympic sports, even if I won’t participate, it would be a success for me to know that I helped making it Olympic. I know that the discipline really deserves it. One day ladies’ ski jumping will be the most popular sports in the world. Because we all have a really great figure and we jump as nicely and as far and are as brave as the guys. I think that’s a point a lot of people are scared of. There are 1000 important people supporting us, but 1000 others try secretly to slow down the development. But the 21st century will be the century of grand women, so I am not really worrying about it.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Is there anything you want to tell our readers, before we finish?
Daniela Iraschko: I want to thank the fans for their support. I also want to thank you for your great news coverage and the pictures. That is not just taken for granted and can’t be praised enough.
I hope that more and more people take notice of our great sports and will be able to enjoy our competitions as an event and a show. Because there is nothing worse then jumping without spectators, and nothing nicer then sharing joy, motivation and success.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Thanks a lot. Now I am really happy.
Thank you for this nice conversation. I keep my fingers crossed for the upcoming football matches and I wish you a successful training for the next jumping season.