Markus Eisenbichler and Stephan Leyhe in a double interview about their summer, surprise cakes and the rivalry between Germany and Austria.
Stephan, Markus: How was your summer prep?
Leyhe: On my side, it was an up and down. The German Championships were still fairly good, but after the team competition of Wisla things started to get a bit shaky. My feeling during the jump went out of line and afterwards I hit a little low. But things have been looking upwards again lately.
Eisenbichler: My summer was rather easy. I finished my education as a police officer and all the learning that came with that had me a bit stressed out. This is why I spent less time training with the team and had many individual sessions. But we have found a really good solution. Now I'm obviously happy I've finished the education now and I'm ready to give my jump the last bit of perfection.
So do we all have to worry that police officer Markus Eisenbichler stops us when crossing the speed maximum?
Leyhe: Only the team mates need to be worried (both are laughing)
Eisenbichler: Only at the border. Border patrol has always been my main topic of interest. I'm planning to do an internship in Freilassing. You could also bump into me at an airport. Of course, though, my main focus will still be training. But changing your environment every now and then, that is something I really enjoy.
You have for sure done that during your training camp in early fall: You flew on the ocean with a flyboard. Ever considered dropping the skis for that?
Eisenbichler: Certainly not (laughs). Stephan was really good at this, but I'm not so much of a snowboard person and on those flyboards you also have your two legs fixed. I was doing little more than swallowing water.
Stephan, the fans are always discussing how ski jumpers can't celebrate the New Year with all the Four Hills action going on. But in your case, your birthday on the 5th of January is also affected....
Leyhe: Not celebrating New Year's Eve, well. Let's put it this way: New Year's Eve does have 24 hours, just like any other day of the year. We usually have a nice dinner in Seefeld and watch the fire works before going to bed. And with my birthday, it's similar. I consider myself happy to celebrate among people I share the same interests with.
Do you usually get a birthday cake?
Leyhe: Yes, our physio therapist always comes up with something. Last year, during dinner, the lights suddenly faded and he entered the room with surprise cake. But actually I don't really like it when people make a fuss about me.
Is it an advantage for the Austrians that their home events close the Tournament?
Leyhe: I think, that depends on the character – if you like to start things off slowly or jump right in. But if you're level to another jumper at half time this home bonus can help, that for sure.
Markus, do you think the Tournament is even more special for you as someone coming from Traunstein? The rivalry between Bavaria and Austria is huge...
Eisenbichler: Hm, I don't know. As I live quite close to the border I often train in Austria. And after all, we're a big family in ski jumping. But of course, given the choise, I'd prefer a team mate winning over someone from another nation. In the past the Austrians have been stronger than us. But I believe we can turn things around now (grins).go back
The last competition before the start of the 67th Four Hill Tournament has passed, rewarding both Germany and Austria with a pleasant surprise.