Right before the beginning of the winter season, Ladies-Skijumping.com editor Stefan Diaz talked to Norway’s Anette Sagen about her expectations and on her difficult time in the summer.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: You were unable to compete at the last CoC of the summer in Liberec because of your injured knee. Is everything fine again?
Anette Sagen: Yes, my knee is actually a lot better now, than before the surgery I had on October 8th.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: That is good news. Were you able to do your normal training program, or did you miss any training units?
Anette Sagen: I missed about one month of power training. But instead of doing nothing in my house, I went to visit Lindsey (Van) in Park City. She took me camping, hiking and to yoga, so I have been moving all the time. But I did no specific training for jumping before the 8th of November.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: The last summer was very difficult for you. You were struggling to keep pace with the world’s elite. Was that just caused by your knee, or do you think there was also another reason?
Anette Sagen: When the competitions started this summer I had a really bad back pain. I’m sure, that my really bad jumps in Oberwiesenthal just killed my good feeling about myself and jumping. I just tried and tried in every competition jump and knew I was in bad shape because i couldn’t train the way I wanted to. And right after my back got fixed, I started to jump a little better. But of course then my knee didn’t want to work with anymore.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: But at the Norwegian Summer Championships you were able to win clearly. You beat Line Jahr, who was in the CoC always among the top 10, by seven points there. So was it foremost a psychological problem?
Anette Sagen: Yes. I think after the horrible result in the first CoC this summer I lost all faith in myself. In the Nationals I was able to pick myself up when I saw I had a chance to win, and also it helped after a while. I jumped a little better in Oslo, and on official training in Liberec. So in the end I’m happy with the effort and work I have put down. This was my first really huge downtime in skijumping. I think every athlete needs a few of those to perform and develop.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Now let’s take a look at the upcoming winter. What do you expect from the competitions in Rovaniemi, Notodden and Vikersund. Do you think you will be able to keep pace with the best ones there already, or do you need more time?
Anette Sagen: Since I haven’t jumped yet, it’s hard to say. But I will be happy with a top ten – or even better top six – result before the new year. Usually I like it better, much better, to jump on snow, so I’m pretty confident that I will perform better now than this summer.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: In February there will be the World Championships on Holmenkollen. Winning there is maybe the highest honour in Nordic Skiing. In addition the Norwegian skiing association has demanded a Norwegian medal in every competition. For the first time ever there will be prize money at World Championships- and not just a tiny amount. Also the IOC will watch that competition very careful for their decision, if Ladies skijumping will be Olympic. Isn’t that all a little too much pressure, all athletes will have at these two jumps? Men have four tries win a medal, ladies have only one.
Anette Sagen: I hope and believe, that everybody who is interested in skijumping and also the IOC will see that this is an outdoor sports and that we will also have a good jury that decides on our gate. So all each of us can do and will do, is to have our best jump at the World Championships. But of course it will be a lot of pressure. But I hope that I – after more than ten years in the sport – can handle it. It was pretty damn hard in Liberec also.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: How do you like the Midstubakken?
Anette Sagen: I like it a lot. It is a very normal hill. The only thing I don’t like is that the wind can change so much in such a short time. Luckily we will have the wind system in the Worlds, but still I hope the jury will pay close attention and that it will be a fair competition.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Are you optimistic, that you can hit into form right in time for the world championships?
Anette Sagen: Yes, I’m very optimistic and I will be until (if) I’m proven wrong.
Ladies-Skijumping.com: Did you set yourself any goal for this season? Also apart from the World Championships?
Anette Sagen: I did when we started the summer season. I intend to be on the podium in the Worlds and I would be really happy if I’m among top 3 in the overall standings after this season.
Ladies-Skijumping.com:Well, I keep my fingers crossed, that you will achieve this. Thanks a lot for the nice interview.
Anette Sagen: Værsegod