"Is he in or is he out" was probably one of the
most-asked question of the last winter about
Russian newcomer Evgeniy Klimov who came to the
World Cup to almost instantly hit it off as one
of the best jumpers on the tour. But Klimov had
a major problem on the cross-country track, sometimes
being overtaken by the whole field after starting
out of the first positions. So rumours went flying
that the 20-year-old would not be a Nordic Combined
athlete for long, especially after coming back from
the Junior World Championships in Val di Fiemme
with a bronze medal - from special jumping. In this
edition of TUESDAY TALK, Klimov dishes on his final
decision concerning disciplines and his highlights
of the past season.
During the last season, there was a lot
of talk that you were maybe changing over to the
special ski jumpers. What did you end up deciding?
Evgeniy Klimov: Yes, there was
a lot of talk about that. But I’ve decided
to stay with Nordic Combined. I’ve been doing
it for 12 years, and I definitely see myself in
this sport. Nordic Combined looks like a more interesting,
diverse and reliable sport to me.
You were one of the new faces of the last
winter season, surprising everybody by suddenly
being among the top jumpers of the field. What were
your goals going into your first World Cup season?
Klimov: My goals for my first season
in the World Cup were being among the leaders after
the jumping part and getting into World Cup points
after the race.
In the cross-country part, it did usually
not go so well so you. How tough is it - also psychologically
- to be overtaken by a lot of athletes during the
race and still find the motivation to go on?
Klimov: Yes, unfortunately I still
have some psychological problems concerning this.
But I’m getting closer and closer to overcoming
them. After the Olympic Games I improved my results
during the race and stopped losing so much. Speaking
of motivation, for me the most important thing is
to get to the finish line having been overtaken
by the smallest possible number of athletes.
When you came to the Junior World Champions
in Val di Fiemme, did you think you had a chance
to win medals in two disciplines?
Klimov: Not at all!! Though I counted
on the individual sprint in Nordic Combined. But
unfortunately I couldn’t jump the way I wanted
to. And regarding ski jumping, I just wanted to
try this discipline out. And it felt great.
You mentioned the Nordic Combined 5-km Sprint
event: During this competition we saw you deliver
an outstanding cross-country race, staying with
the top group and even winning a finish line sprint
and ultimately claiming rank four. What was
different compared to the World Cup events where
you haven't been able to perform that well on the
Klimov: For me, the level of performance
at the Junior World Championship seems much lower
than in the World Cup competitions. There is also
less pressure from fans and other athletes. So I
felt more confident, more free when I’ve been
preparing myself for what was ahead. Even before
the start I knew it was going to end this way. There
was a really good feeling in the air. (laughs)
Another big moment of the last winter were
the Olympics at Sochi. How did it feel to perform
at the Olympics in front of this big home crowd,
especially in the jump event when you were standing
in the leader board for most of the competition?
Klimov: During the jumping part
of the competitions at the Olympic Games I’ve
tried not to be nervous, to be calm and confident.
And I managed to do that. The support of the spectators
was really huge! I’ve tried not to pay attention
to it when I was on the top of the hill so I won’t
lose focus but standing at the leader board at my
home Olympic Games was so fantastic!
Last question: How is the summer preparation
going? What are you doing right now?
Klimov: My summer training is going in
due course, and we’ve already had a training
camp. Right now I’m at home, training by myself.