Some athletes fell from your team. Did everyone stay injury-free?
Loch: Yes, everything is fine and no one was injured.
How often do people ride the track before the Olympics?
Loch: We have exactly six training runs. On the three days before the races, each athlete has two runs. That’s not a lot, but everyone has the same qualifications. I have complete confidence in my team. It is possible.
How satisfied are you with the team at this early stage of the season?
Loch: I am not at all satisfied with the preparation. We did about 40 percent fewer runs than in previous years.
What was that?
Loch: We started the season on July 17th, but were no longer able to use the train at Königssee due to the accident. Training in Oberhof was also not possible. We went to Lillehammer for the first time at the end of September / beginning of October, where it was warmer than ever and the ice wasn’t ideal. After that we were twice in Winterberg and once in Altenberg. It didn’t go as we imagined it would. As a result, we miss a lot of material tests.
You are now in Russia, where the next World Cup points will be on the agenda in Sochi at the weekend. Did the journey from China to Russia go smoothly?
Loch: It was an odyssey for all of us. It took us 24 hours and we were finally in Sochi at two o’clock in the morning. It was very difficult to leave China, even though we had a charter flight and all nations flew together. Nevertheless, there were problems with the transport of our material. So we only got off hours later. It was my greatest pleasure to finally take off, especially with Tobi Arlt on board.
Now it’s all about points in Sochi for the next two weeks. With what expectations?
Loch: The track suits us, but I think the Russians will do a great job. You have trained a lot on the track and will be great competitors.
You will only return to Germany on December 6th and have been on the road for more than four weeks. Many of your athletes have children at home. How do the athletes cope with this?
Loch: I am aware that this is an additional psychological burden. I keep an eye on that and everyone deals with it differently. But I think they are all professionals enough to cope with this situation.
What is your goal for the season?
Loch: We want to put in a good performance throughout the World Cup, but the Olympics are paramount. We know that the environment will be more difficult than in any other country in the world, but I still hope that we will be successful and that means win medals.
Some athletes have been in business for a long time and are very experienced. Could the resignation bells ring at the end of the season? For many, the Olympics are often an occasion to end their careers.
Loch: Well, we have the home World Cup in Oberhof in 2023. I could at least imagine that this could be a special highlight for Dajana Eitberger and Johannes Ludwig.
The interview was conducted by Sanny Stephan
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