Overall winner of the Ski Orienteering World Cup last season and current leader of the IOF World Ranking, Erik Rost is our invited today. Here he talks about a successful season and looks forward to the next one, with the WSOC gold on the horizon.
Congratulations on your season and your World Cup winning overall. Did you expect it?
Erik Rost (E. R.) - Thanks a lot. I knew I had a big chance to win but you have to perform well for the whole season to win. Even if you know that you are strong it’s not just to ski the race to win. You must be focused, offensive and willing to push yourself hard every race to have a good result.
Was 2015/2016 your best season so far?
E. R. - It was a great season and I was better trained then before but also 2008 I won the overall World Cup. The best along the season was of course the overall World Cup title. It was my big goal. The worst was the Long Distance of ESOC. I simple made all mistakes in one race but the race after I got revenge. We won the relay after many years!
What one or two things you did in your training that were keys to your success?
E. R. - Continuity.
We can see that the fight for top positions is, nowadays, quite hard and names like Lamov, Belomazhev, Khrennikov, Moholdt or Nordberg made the start field during the last season one of the strongest ever. What things do you believe differentiates you from your closest opponents?
E. R. - Last year I had the highest lowest level even if Moholdt was very close.
A new season is about to start and the natural question is: Are you ready?
E. R. - I have prepared well and done what me and my coach think is good. I combined my sport with half time work so mostly of the time I spend at home in Falun training with Dalarna Sports Academy, but one week every month I go for a training camp.
What is your biggest challenge currently and what are you doing to manage this challenge?
E. R. - My biggest challenge is to get enough specific ski-o training. I plan to go many ski-o races to get good orienteering training and also go for some training camps with specific ski-o training.
What are your goals for the 2016/2017 season? Are we going to see you, finally, getting the gold in the World SkiO Championships?
E. R. - My goal is to perform on top at WSOC and if you look at the results from last years I should be able to fight for the gold.
Widening the scope of our talk, how do you see the Ski Orientering's present moment? Are we going in the right way?
E. R. - I think IOF is doing a good work and I know it's many people working hard to develop ski-o. Winters lack of snow it’s not good for the sport but it’s a wonderful sport and if we just can get more people to try it we will be more practitioners because it’s impossible to not like ski-o a great winter day. I’m not absolutely satisfied about the new programme for WSOC. Especially the idea to develop and introduce new distances for the championship only to make it more interesting for the spectators. We must think about the base of the sport also and try and evaluate new disciplines before introducing them in championship’s. I think todays programme is very good.
And what about the effort to become the sport more media-friendly? Do you think it's the key for the Olympics?
E. R. - Maybe. It’s difficult to say how we should do to join the Olympics. Another questions is if we want to join? Money destroys the sport. So far we have only a few known cases with doping or cheating and it’s because not so many people have money to earn from good results. It means for mostly of the athletes in ski-o it’s genuine love for the sport is the impulsion. Of course I sometimes dreaming of live (earn money) of the sport and it’s easier to develop the sport if we have big sponsors etc. but will it be better?
In the beginning of a new season, I would ask you to make a wish to all orienteers and, in particular, to those addicted to SkiO.
E. R. - Enjoy the winter. Now it’s the best time for orienteering ;)
[Photo: Donatas Lazauskas / facebook.com/orienteering.lt]