- After the disastrous performance of Poles in the inaugural competition of the 70th Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf, there were two meetings within our team
- At night from Wednesday to Thursday, and later in the day, they all told each other what they thought, because they had come to a point where it was very bad
- The initiator of the meeting was the coach Michal Doležal, from whom many people expected to mark the position of the group leader. The first effect was good, in qualifying for the competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Poles jumped better than last time, and finally, energy was visible in them
- More such stories can be found on the main page of Onet.pl
– What happened cut my wings. I couldn’t concentrate on my second jump, I missed it. When you look at it in general, … the situation shocked me – said Dawid Kubacki at the hill in Oberstdorf on Wednesday evening. He added that he was “shocked”. In the second series, he was the only Pole, the rest was lost earlier.
After the first jump, Kamil Stoch said that the more he thinks about his attempts, the less he understands anything and does not know what to work on. The others didn’t talk. The president of the Polish Ski Association, Apoloniusz Tajner, argued that there were also signs of improvement and he was actually right, but few people reached it.
The players themselves, especially the team leaders, were overwhelmed. The rest of the trade union activists wanted to know what to do next and what was the plan of Michal Doležal, who had to deal with the crisis after two good seasons.
He is not the type of authoritarian leader that Stefan Horngacher, for example, was. In the backstage it was said that after such a competition in the times of the Austrian, the locker room would shake. The Czech Republic prefers more democratic methods, which – what is worth emphasizing – have brought the team great successes in previous seasons. But there came a time when things got very nervous.
Only memories remain
Last season, the team finished second in the Nations Cup, the jumpers won eighteen podium places, the line-up was the world champion, the team with bronze medals of the world championships and world championships in skirmish, and the winner of the Four Hills Tournament, and eleven players scored points. Now these are only memories, because after Oberstdorf (although it is worth remembering that there are still many competitions left), Poles scored twenty times … usually for places in the third ten. Stoch reached the podium once and that’s it, the end of achievements.
– When there is no reaction, and all the time I hear: “Easy, easy”, I cannot sleep well. I can see that something is wrong. We can all see – said the director of PZN Adam Małysz firmly in an interview with “Przegląd Sportowy” and added: – Our task, as a union, is also to know what the coaches have a plan, because what is happening continues from the beginning season.
Don’t act in emotions
Soon rumors emerged that the squad could be withdrawn from the tournament, although no one took such a possibility seriously, especially before the competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Later, if it was still bad, most probably Stoch and Kubacki could be sent for quiet training.
Paweł Wąsek and Jakub Wolny are jumping on the level expected of them at the moment, Piotr Żyła was able to win the trial series and, although later lost, he gave some hope. Doležal told activists that he did not want to make decisions in emotions, and that there would be time for the interview the next day. Ultimately, however, the staff gathered the same evening.
– In Oberstdorf we had to talk to each other together and to tell what conclusions we had. It had to be analyzed. It’s not like someone got pissed off and yelled, because that’s not the point. We sat down quietly, we discussed various conclusions. What is there to bind? We are not going to shout at each other. Anyway, before we sat down, some time had passed since we came back from the hill, so everyone had time to laugh. We were able to sit still. On the second day, we gathered in an even larger group. We have made a plan for the future. It’s not that one thing was about the shorter jumps. This is a more complex matter and consists of many different elements that disturbed us and spoiled our jumps. We know that it is impossible to learn to jump overnight, but with time the attempts were worse and worse, until it got to the point where it was very bad – Kubacki told us directly.
You can take a deeper breath
It helped, at least one could hope for it. The qualifications were not, of course, any spectacular success of the team, but the fifth place in Żyła should be treated as a success. And the bigger one is that you can see the energy in the players again. Today, no one will risk saying that the crisis has been overcome and now the staff is only going to march up, but there is hope again. This was also admitted by Doležal. – After Friday, we can take a deep breath because it looked much better. Oberstdorf behind us, we are moving towards ourselves. We are after the talks in the team, and now we are trying to do our job – he told us at the hill in Ga-Pa.
Was there a turning point after the first tournament? – Yes, it was known that only Dawid entered the thirties, and this is not our way. We do not look back – says the Czech. Only that Oberstdorf was important and may turn out to be crucial for the fate of the season. – The tournament is starting, there is more stress. After the first competition, the tournament is over for us, but we have another competition, the Games are coming soon. I was also nervous, it was not happy, it bothered me, but also others. But we still have something to fight for and we have to do something to find solutions – added the Czech and admitted that the idea with two brainstorms was his. – I felt something had to be done. It was very necessary, he says now.
– It’s true, the talks helped us – said Stoch, but he did not want to compare it to the situation from the beginning of the 2012/13 season, when the team led by Łukasz Kruczek met in Ruce, and later emerged from the crisis, which brought, among others, gold and bronze teams during the world championship in Val di Fiemme. – It was different because every year is different. Now it was about some things beyond our control, but I’m glad that we have the best training staff. They can help us and we are able to get out of this hole. Let it be like that – said Kamil. – Such brainstorming always helps – Żyła added. The question is how much and for how long. There is just over a month left until the Beijing Olympics, which is really very little time to overcome the crisis.