The winter of 2013/14 has started off with an exciting
Nordic Combined weekend in the wintry climes of
Kuusamo, Finland and it has certainly shown a couple
of "new" faces for this upcoming Olympic
season already. One of these faces is Russia's Evgeniy
Klimov. After a long period of bad results, the
Russian team seems to have surfaced again, just
in time for the home Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Klimov, who already created some buzz by entering
the top three in a jumping part of a Summer Gran
Prix competition this August, impressively set 139,5
metres - the winning jump of the Provisional Competition
Round last Friday. As the weather conditions were
- in true Kuusamo-style - difficult, the PCR had
to be used on Saturday which meant the first "pole
position" in a World Cup race for the 19-year-old
Russian talent. But fans who have watched the competitions
in summer also know Klimov's weakness already -
the cross-country part. But this weekend in Kuusamo,
he at least managed to hold onto a 30th rank in
the final result, salvaging his first World Cup
"My PCR jump wasn't really good. I didn't expect
it to count as the competition jump, so I didn't
put a telemark! But my goal for the weekend was
to get my first World Cup points in my first World
Cup start and I managed that", a happy newly
minted World Cup athlete said after the race. And
confidently added when asked if he was happy that
the PCR with his big lead on the other athletes
was actually taken: "No, next time, I will
even get more of a head start."
Evgeniy Klimov who lives in Perm, was sucked in
by the fascination that is Nordic Combined in September
2002 just after the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City,
being already eight years old. An age, where other
have already competed for several years but Klimov
didn't exactly come from a winter sports family.
Today, he is cheered on by his little sister and
his parents, a a driver and a kindergarten teacher
but his biggest supporter is probably his girlfriend.
Headcoach Dmitriy Dubrovsky knows what a diamond
in the rough he has in his team: "Evgeniy is
feeling quite confident with his ski jumping and
nothing is disturbing the system too much. He know's
the level he is on. The performance in the cross-country
part we saw from him is not what he can really do.
We had test races where he was just 20 seconds slower
than his teammember Panin."
The problem as of now rather exists in the young
athlete's head: "We explained to him that if
he could ski a minute faster, he would constantly
be in the Top 20. But something in his mind just
switches when the faster skiers overtake him. It
gets really hard for him mentally then. In training
camps he isn't actually that slow, so it's a psychological
thing. We try to give him confidence to just be
on his actual level. But he is only 19 and has all
the time in the world."