So far, the team Olympic champion has mostly gotten into shape over the course of the season. Since the major events are not on the agenda until February and March, his record of success with three gold medals and a further nine World Cup medals has hardly been affected. But this year, Kraft wanted to be ready from the start.
“So far I’ve only really gotten in shape at the end of the season, so I wanted to train a little differently physically this year,” said the 29-year-old to the APA – Austria Press Agency. He switched earlier in the summer and got ready for the winter. “That’s why it suits me very well that it starts earlier this year.” In mid-October he left the entire domestic elite behind at the national championships on the normal hill, and Kraft also took a podium place from the Summer Grand Prix.
“I was very satisfied with my Grand Prix performance. There were a few very good jumps,” said the current normal hill world champion. The consistency was still missing there, they worked on it. “I don’t think I need to hide. In the past few weeks it’s been about “tearing out the subtleties. You have to be full of energy at that early stage. I’m happy that the preparation went so well, also in the gym, the physical. So that you can last four, five, six months.”
It’s been a very long winter, Kraft noted. In fact, not only does it start earlier, but the season also ends at the beginning of April in the upcoming World Cup location Planica. As well as the 2014/15 Tournament winner prepared for this extension of the competition phase, mat events in the World Cup should remain the exception for him. Kraft: “I would like the World Cup to take place in winter and everything to be on snow. But this year it’s a great alternative, given that we get TV time and have another competition. It definitely fits.”
The World Championships in Planica in February/March, including the most successful possible defense of the title, is at the top of Kraft’s agenda, but the Four Hills Tournament is also particularly important to him this time. In the last edition, the tour winner from 2014/15 had to put in an extra unit in Seefeld due to a slump in form and ultimately only finished 20th overall. “I had a big problem there, this year I want to be cooler again,” said Kraft in an interview with the Tiroler Tageszeitung. “I would be happy if I could finally get a place on the podium again at Bergisel.”
Of course, his best personal moment of happiness during the preparation time was not a sporting one, but the wedding with his Marisa. “It was a wonderful day,” the 29-year-old recalled on August 21.