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Half-time at the 4-Hills - Will Schmitt retire?

Taking stock after the first half of the 4-Hills
Taking stock after the first half of the 4-Hills - FIS

Simon Ammann is travelling to Innsbruck with a positive feeling: "What's important for me is, that I can also achieve a good result like this third place if the performance was not so good. I moved up also in the overall World Cup. Of course you always want to show two great jumps and win the New Year's competition. But I can deal with that. I'm glad that I'm consistent now and I'm very happy about my second jump. I still have hope. You have to do your job well and do many things right, you need a good rhythm and be remain calm. There are two others who are also jumping very consistent. It's all about the ski jumping and everything goes well." Ammann also thought about Formula 1 record Champion Michael Schumacher: "I hope that he'll make it and that everything is going to be alright. I go skiing myself. I guess you never think about that something like this can happen. On the other hand I'm happy that there are people who can help you in such situations. I send many positive thoughts to him and his family. Experiencing something like that is tougher than every 4-Hills-Tournament."

Thomas Morgenstern is optimistic: "It's important that you always believe in yourself. Of course the dream to fight for the overall title has always been there. I was in a great shape before my fall. I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital, despite the splint everything is going well. Now I'm looking forward to going to Austria. Innsbruck and Bischofshofen are both cool hills and I like them. You can always hope and everything can happen. I like this situation. It's realistic for me to compete for the win. You also need some luck concerning the conditions or what the others will do." Also the Carinthian thinks about Michael Schumacher: "What happened is sad. It shows how precious health is. He is a fighter and I'm sure he'll get better. I hope that everything is going to be alright again and my heart is with him and his family."

Severin Freund is not in such a good mood: "It's difficult to see something positive in this competition. I tried to make the best out of it, but unfortunately it didn't work. I'll try to improve my technique again and every jump is important for that." With a view towards the 4-Hills final in Bischofshofen: "What's special about it is, that it's probably the longest and flatest inrun in the World Cup. My home is not too far from there so I guess that the fans like me a bit."

His teammate Andreas Wank could show some consistent performances recently: "I will definitely remember the atmosphere and the fans in Garmisch. For me it was positive, also concerning the equipment. Whoever is surprised by the results had the wrong favorites. After the first day in Engelberg it was said that we can't win anything at the 4-Hills, after the second day we were among the favorites again. There can always be lots of speculations, but what counts are the four competitions here."

Also another German was in the center of attention in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but won't be in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen: Martin Schmitt. Despite his 27th place, the 35-year-old didn't get a spot on the team of head coach Werner Schuster for the final two competitions of the 4-Hills. The coaches counts on those seven athletes who already met the criteria for the Olympic team: Severin Freund, Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Michael Neumayer and Karl Geiger. This means that Schmitt will probably not get another chance to qualify for his fifth Olympic Games. He will probably not compete in the World Cup again and it seems likely that the four-time World Champion will announce his retirement soon. Schmitt already said on Wednesday: "I would understand if the coach counts on the younger guys. The already showed some good performances this season. I'll return home and think about whether I will retire of maybe want make a few more jumps."

FIS-ski.com 02 January 2014

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