Monday, June 27, 2016

Jan Šedivý: "We are like magicians from Harry Potter"

Bronze medal in the last European Championships with the Czech Republic's Relay, Jan Šedivý is our guest today. His 13th place in the IOF World Ranking calls the attentions on him, now that the World Orienteering Championships are getting closer. Let us know a little better the athlete and understand his goals for Strömstad.

The first question is always the easiest. Who is Jan Šedivý?

Jan Šedivý (J. S.) - I was born in Prague in 1984 into an orienteering family. My father was co-founder of the orienteering club attached to the University of Economics in Prague. He also met there my mother, a 400 meters runner in that time. I have one brother; he used to be a great track and field runner, but he decide to do something else than sports and he's a surgeon. I played basketball in a good level, but I was too small. In 2011 I finished my studies in the University of Economics and started to work as a freelancer in digital marketing. Now, I have a small family. With my spouse (no time for wedding so far :-) we bring up a one and a half year boy. Orienteering, family and work, that’s all I have now, but I love it.

How did you meet Orienteering? Was it love at first sight?

J. S. - I recall orienteering in my childhood as a nightmare. I was scared even on marked course for children. One weekend my father decided not to go to some local o-competition, because of really bad weather. After that I "prayed" each Friday for bad weather. :-) Of course, everything has changed after I grew up a bit. I started to love orienteering. I did ski-o a lot. I was in the Czech team till I was twenty and it really helped me. I met many great sportsmen like Ondrej Vodrazka and they inspired me.

What do you see in Orienteering that makes it so special?

J. S. - I think that orienteering is more than just a sport. It's a big family and we are like magicians from Harry Potter (laughs). Orienteers love nature, live actively and have positive mind and that's why I always feel myself alone when I'm leaving an orienteering competition.

I can see that you missed the World Orienteering Championships in Olomouc and you have to wait eight long years for running a major IOF event in your home country. How did you feel about that?

J. S. - I had long term injuries, both spring 2007 and 2008. I was also not passionate enough for orienteering that time. It hurts much more if you give it all and fail than if you just try. I was really focused on World Cup in Liberec in 2011, but I twisted my ankle two weeks before it. So I expected some injury again :-) And, of course, I was nervous and excited when it all begun.

How do you rate your performances in the individual races?

J. S. - The Middle Distance was perfect, both my performance and the result. Of course, I could have run faster (without few mistakes), but why couldn’t I? I was hoping for a better result in the Long Distance but I didn’t feel very well physically and also my orienteering was behind my expectations.

You could ending the European Championships with the bronze in the relay, which reminds my a sentence from Jan Kocbach: “Winning a Gold medal is always a great achievement – but sometimes winning a Bronze medal can be an even bigger achievement – based on what your starting point was”. Is there any connection between Jeseník's European bronze and Lausanne's amazing World gold?

J. S. - Gold medal in Lausanne was something special. It exceeded by far all my “big" moments in orienteering. I didn’t even dream that we could achieve it. It was such an unexpected euphoria, I’ll never forget. Bronze medal in Jesenik was totally different. We weren't favorites, but the expectations from Czech fans were high and we also defended the silver medal from EOC in Portugal. Even knowing that it would be extremely difficult, a medal was something like a duty for us. I’m really proud that we kept the bronze at home.

How do you rate the European Orienteering Championships EOC 2016 overall?

J. S. - Very well. No big glitches, nice terrains and good weather. Maybe some runners expected more fans, but you have to take into account that EOc is not WOC. Holiday time is much better for public races and also this part of Czech Republic is a bit abandoned (at least by orienteers).

If I asked you to choose the European Orienteering Championships' Achievement, what would it be?

J. S. - Definitely, the relay finish of Merja Rantanen.

The World Orienteering Championships will be the next big challenge. Can you feel already some good vibrations about Strömstad's days?

J. S. - WOC in Sweden is, for most of orienteers, something unique. Special atmosphere, lots of fans, great terrains, that’s simply why we do it. I will probably run all forest disciplines and I’m aiming for one individual race in TOP15 and TOP6 in the relay. It would be superb.

Who will be your main adversaries?

J. S. - I never consider the other athletes as adversaries. My enemy is just my physical condition, orienteering technique and mind. I have two months to enhance everything, to get enough power in my legs (because surface in Swedish forest is totally different compared to the Czech Republic) and to work on more precise orienteering technique. If I’ll be able to improve both, also my mind will be self-confident enough to succeed.

Joaquim Margarido

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