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When fighting spirit is stronger than setbacks

Phillip Sjoeen
Phillip Sjoeen - FIS

The exceptionally talented Norwegian Phillip Sjoeen talks about how he handles defeat and what distinguishes him from other athletes.

Phillip Sjoeen made his debut on the international stage in Notodden in southern Norway. In January 2012 he competed in the Continental Cup for the first time, but he couldn't score points during his first season. In the same year he closely missed the podium at the Junior World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey and finished fourth. He was then highly motivated for the team competition a few days later and won Gold together with his Norwegian teammates.

Following a few competitions in the summer Continental Cup, he made his debut in the Grand Prix on October 3rd, 2013 in the final event of the FIS Grand Prix in Klingenthal. Sjoeen scored his first points with a very good 26th place and convinced Norwegian head coach Alex Stoeckl.

This summer, the 18-year-old already participated in the opener of the FIS Grand Prix in Wisla, Poland. In training he amazed everyone with the longest jump of the day, but the weekend was unlucky for him. In the individual competition he was disqualified because his suit was not compliant to the rules and a day later he fell in the first round of the team competition. So the Norwegian team came in only fourth.

"I was very happy about being named on the team", the Norwegian youngster explained. "It was a big chance for me because the question was: Tom (Hilde) or me. Of course it would have been better not to fall in the first round, but this can happen!"

Motivation comes through fans

It's not easy to still believe in yourself after such a setback. But Phillip Sjoeen has a simple solution for a lack of motivation: "I made two mistakes, the other jumps were very good. I get my motivation from the fans, because it's a lot of fun to jump far in front of such a great crowd!"

In the upcoming competitions the Norwegian now wants to keep his performances on this good level and just make some minor technical changes. He doesn't want to tell what these changes are about, but he already has a clear goal for the winter. "My goal is to be on the team for the World Championships in Falun!" In addition he is hoping to compete in various World Cup events and show consistent performances on snow.

Sjoeen trinks no alcohol and doesn't go on vacation in summer, like other World Cup athletes. With his good performances recently he raises the pressure within the Norwegian team

"I'm focused on myself. I motivate myself with good performances and this always pushes me. Everything else is just a distraction." Despite some injuries and a break of a year, the young athlete never stopped believing in himself.

"I'm working a lot and hard. I spend hours in the gym and it's very motivating to see how fast the good results are coming", he tells and sums up the difference between him and others: "A lot of training!", and of course the focus on yourself. Phillip Sjoeen doesn't compare his performances with others, he tries to bring out the best in himself.

The young Norwegian is still new in the World Cup, but he has a bright future ahead of him. Sjoeen knows what he wants and is ready to make sacrifices in life. This motivation together with his talent makes him an exceptional athlete who can make his way to the top.

"I think I will train my telemark“

At the FIS Grand Prix in Einsiedeln Sjoeen once again proved his talent. With 111 m he was on a strong sixth place after the first round. In the final he then didn't have luck on his side again. After a jump on 115 m he lost balance and fell before the line. "My timing is wrong at every landing and then I fall. I think I'll train my telemark landing until next weekend", he said after his jump. But still the talent finished 19th with 374.4 points.

FIS-ski.com 10 August 2014

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