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Anette Sagen trained in Szczyrk

From the very beginning, the modernized ski jumping venues of Szczyrk and Wisla have been enjoying great popularity among numerous teams. Thomas Morgernstern trained in Szczyrk and Wisla 2009 before the Olympic Games of Vancouver. The slovenian mens team also regularly holds training camps here.

The Flying Team Vikersund held a training camp in Szczyrk last week. A group of 30 or so jumpers from Norway visited Szczyrk for the second time in a row. The Norwegians seem to have liked Poland a lot. They have been coming to Zakopane for many years first, now they have moved over to Szczyrk. Among many young jumpers, we have also found a bronze medalist from the Liberec World Championships in 2009, one of the most experienced female ski jumpers, Anette Sagen.

FISskijumping.com talked to Sagen, who has not only shared her impressions from the training camp in Szczyrk, but also anticipated the first ever Olympic season for the ski jumping ladies.

"This is my second time in Szczyrk. We have been coming to Poland for training camps for a few years now, first to Zakopane, now to Szczyrk. Every year we like to gather the entire team, both the elite group and juniors, and it's also very nice to hang out with the younger guys. The sessions I havent jumped, I have been coaching, I have some training education, so its nice to use it sometimes too. I love it here in Szczyrk, its so close to the facilities, you can just walk back and forth to the hotel, its a nice small town. And I really like the hill here, its a very good training hill and very effective, you can have a lot of jumpers at the same time.

The Norwegian ladies ski jumping team has decided not to take part in any of this summer's competitions (except for the COC in Lillehammer and some Norwegian Cup events at home). When asked if they were working out a secret strategy for the Olympics, Sagen laughed that the whole team was training in hiding, but then added seriously, We stayed at home and jumped, not spending a lot of money to travel and compete. We have also been to Voss last week for a team building mini-camp, 2 days, we were in the wind tunnel, and rafting, and had a lot of fun. We have not started any special preparations for Sochi yet. My training this year was a little bit different than before, little less strength, more athletics, and I have not been jumping so much, but everything is as it should be. So I am looking forward to the snow coming.

When asked if she will join the team in training in Wisla on the big hill there, Sagen said, I dont have too many jumps. I am going to Oberstdorf and Trondheim also the next couple of weeks, so Ill get a chance to jump on a big hill. Right now I just want to jump and have fun, take a lot of speed and go far. Thats pretty much what I am doing right now.

Sagen has no regrets about not taking part in this summer's Grand Prix series, "I dont like ski jumping on plastic, I like the snow much better, so Im really looking forward to winter. I am not a big fan of summer. I am not too disappointed, I had no plan to compete anyway, even if the team were.

Still, the Norwegian does not deny that she followed her fellow jumpers results with interest, It looks like the level is high as ever. Were getting more and more athletes from more countries, and thats very good, its making the sport definitely more interesting. And it was also very nice to see the mixed event on the big hill (Courchevel, FRA), that looked really fun. We'll see, maybe thats our future as well, hopefully. We are not different from guys in this respect, most of us like the flying part the best and you can definitely fly longer on the big hill, so of course we would like to compete more on big hills, but I think we have competitions in big hills now in winter. So thats really good and we just take it step by step. I am really hopeful for the sports sake in the future, and I think its going to be really big.

The upcoming winter season is not only an Olympic season. For the ski jumping ladies it is going to be the very first Olympic Games in the history. There was no excuse to avoid asking Anette of her hopes and expectations for the Olympics. Of course I would love to be on the podium. The level is very high, so I have to work really hard, just do my best and will see afterwards. I really want to have good jumps in the competition. I really like the hill in Sochi. It worked well for me and I had a podium result there (World Cup event in December 2012), so I am ready. I have the same feeling about Olympics as I did before the first World Championships (Liberec 2009). All of us are winners even before the event, because were finally there. Its the first Olympics, we made it and were making history, so I think it will be super exciting just to walk into the opening ceremony, all of it is going to be exciting. I have watched too many Olympics on television, just hoping that one day I can be part of it as well, now we are, so thats fun.

We have also found out that there will be a new edition to the Norwegian team the upcoming season. Helena Olsson Smeby, who already competed in the World Championships in Liberec in 2009, is coming back after shes had a baby. We shall then see the first flying mummy in the hill.

The World Cup Season of 2013/14 will start for the ladies with competitions in Lillehammer (NOR). The mixed team event will be carried out on December, 6th, the individual event on the HS 100 hill will be held the next day.

Berkutschi.com, 08 October 2013

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