Interview: China's ski jumping coach pursues dream of Olympic medal step by step

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-19 22:45:41|Editor: Wang Yamei
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LES ROUSSES, France, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's ski jumping coach Heinz Kuttin expressed his dream of claiming a medal at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on home soil, while emphasizing a step-by-step approach is needed in fighting for the goal.

"We always have to believe in dreams. If you want to compete in the Olympics, every child, every athlete, every coach is dreaming of medals," the Austrian told Xinhua here on Sunday. "We have to work, concentrate on and do it."

Kuttin, 49, is a former ski jumper with three Olympic medals under his name. He also won two gold medals at the 1991 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

He coached 16-year-old Zhou Fangyu at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games. Zhou finished 10th in women's individual action on Sunday.

"It was very good today," Kuttin commented. "Zhou arrived two days ago. She had a little bit jet leg and was very tired. But until this competition she was improving very good step by step."

The duo had set a target of being among top 10 for Zhou in Winter YOG prior to the season.

"If she was more lucky especially in the second round, she could be better," he said, expressing his belief that Zhou's development and future will be good.

"For her future, she has to do very hard training on her body condition. She can jump very long. If she is doing the training, she will get more power and more self-confidence. It will be a good way for her."

For Kuttin, Zhou needs more practice and competitions in the future.

"We are traveling all over the world. We have only two training jumps, and the next jump will be competition. This is what we have to train," he pointed out.

Kuttin thought Zhou is not an athlete with the best body condition, but quite adept at jumping hill, also shedding light on Zhou's concentration.

"She is focused on right things. She is not thinking too much about what can happen. She is just doing. This is a very positive thing," he said.

Kuttin has been the coach since 1995. Taking charge of the Chinese team in 2018, he expected to witness team effort for step-by-step improvement.

"I have Li Xueyao and Zhou Fangyu, and some other girls injured now. I hope they will come back soon. We need a team. We need more athletes to train and fight together. Then we can improve step by step."

Austria is a powerhouse in ski jumping and should have experience to draw for other countries to develop the sport.

But for Kuttin, "It's very hard to compare everything." He called on belief in these young athletes who fight for their Olympic dreams.

"We have a very long tradition in ski jumping. In China, we also have some girls who have been jumping since eight or nine years old. Now the focus is on the Olympics. There is a lot of pressure on these girls as everybody is watching.

"We have to go on working day by day. We have to trust and believe in our girls. We also need rest. We need some days off not thinking about ski jumping and where the body can rejuvenate. Then you can go up step by step," he said.

Gaining experience is also vital for youngsters before stepping onto the Olympic hill.

"What we're doing now is competing in international competitions because we have to go to and fight to this level. We are on this way now," Kuttin noted.

"We are going to compete in these competitions and get different feelings everywhere. This is what we have to learn this season," he added.