„I’m really excited to finally
have a home competition!“
It’s the last days before the Summer Grand Prix
2014, high time to check in with one half of last
year’s winning duo: Akito Watabe from Japan. In
TUESDAY TALK, the 26-year-old gives you a glimpse
into his busy life after Olympic silver, why he
won’t be competing in Europe this summer and how
excited he is to finally welcome all his other fellow
athletes to his home country of Japan.
It was quite some time since we have checked in
with you and the Japanese team. What have you and
your teammates been up to since the season ended?
Akito Watabe: Everybody is doing fine. We have been
enjoying ourselves, taking time for relaxing and
training after the hard season ended. Taihei recovered
his elbow and shoulder and is getting in better
shape day by day. He can train as usual now. Also
my brother Yoshito joined the Kitano Ski Team. He
and I are training together now.
With an Olympic silver medal in your luggage, you
probably also had quite many commitments after the
season ended. How did you rest and recover after
your great winter?
Watabe: I had a quite busy time after I came out
of the exit of airport, for sure! I had many ceremonies,
interviews, PR events and so on until the end of
June. I made the trip between Nagano and Tokyo many
times. It felt a bit crazy at times but it was a
Soon after the season, Mikko Kokslien came to Japan
to visit me at the end of March to the beginning
of April. We went mountain skiing in Hakuba and
Mt. Asahidake, Hokkaido. It was very nice trip that
helped a lot with refreshing my mind.
We saw some pictures of you training at New Zealand
some days ago. How did that go?
Watabe: Yes, I went New Zealand some days ago. But
unfortunately, it was hopeless to be able to train
on snow when we were there. I expected good snow
condition as last summer. But there is not enough
snow and warm and strong winds. Finally we decided
to go back home. It was not a successful camp but
I'm satisfied that I was skiing on the snow a bit.
What kind of training camps have you done with the
team and will we see you at the SGP this year?
Watabe: We have done the usual three team training
camps at Hakuba. We had some jumping and roller
ski sessions and also some test competitions. I'm
sorry, you will not see me at the SGP this year.
But you will see Yoshito and Takehiro Watanabe there.
In the next winter, the NC World Cup will come back
to Japan after quite some years. Are you excited
to welcome your fellow athletes to your home country?
Watabe: I’m really excited to have a home competition
in Sapporo. We didn’t have home races after the
World Championships in 2007 anymore. I think more
than half of all World Cup athletes have not been
to Japan. I hope many athletes will come to my country
and enjoying the „strange“ culture! I will do my
best and try to count up my victories at the home