Many things have changed for Norway's sprint specialist Øystein Pettersen. In the spring he became the father, in training he has changed his technique coach and has spent most of the time training in Norway. FIS Cross-Country News talked to Øystein about the coming winter and the World Championships in Val di Fiemme.
Q: You have been in very good summer shape. You won Toppidrettsveka, races in Blink festival. Is it a good sign for the winter? How important is it to have a good feeling in the summer?
Øystein Pettersen: I some way or the other I am always strong during summer. It is of course a good sign to be in good shape, but I think I have to wait until the winter to find out how strong I am. I really want to be able to do good results during wintertime, and that is what I am training for. Good races during summer is just fun, the wintertime counts! This summer and autumn I will try to do more skiing in ski tunnels to get better ski feeling and to improve med performance!
Q: You spent more time training at home. How has been your training summer so far?
Ø.P.: I became a father in March, so I decided to be home during summer with my little family. I live in Oslo, which happens to be the best place in the world to do cross country training. So I have nothing to complain about. I moved to a new house, and have the forest right outside med front door. Training has been good, and life is great!
Q: Once you've said that you have been very well physically prepared but could not transfer it to results in the winter. Have you analysed the reasons?
Ø.P.: I feel, as many athletes I guess, that I don't always get maximum out of every race. Why I don't know, but I do know that during summer I have the physical level that is required for a sprinter. If I put too much pressure on myself in a race, it often ends with a bad result. So hopefully this winter I can manage to have fun and just ski. No more, no less. Its sounds easy, but it is easier said than done.
Q: You've changed your technique coach recently. Why did you decide to make such a move? What kind of inputs do you expect of him?
Ø.P.: After 10 years with the same technique coach it was time to change. I changed because I wanted a fresh start and a new direction. If I succeed in this will only time show. But I am in good fait and are focused on every training.
Q: After the home World Champs in Oslo, which did not go as you planned, you said you'd start right away getting ready for Val di Fiemme. What is the biggest difference between Øystein in 2010 and 2012?
Ø.P.: The biggest difference is, without doubt, that I cut my hair and became a father. But as a skier I hope that I am more relaxed while I am out there doing my thing, and that I am still a happy camper on tour! I am training everyday to get faster and stronger, my only problem is that so is everybody else. After 2012/2013 I hope that i can look back on a season filled with good experiences and with lots of fun!
Q: Will it be difficult to win a spot in the Norwegian sprint squad for Fiemme 2013?
Ø.P.:Yes, like always in Norway. But I do know the head coach very well, and have been giving him money every training camp since may, so I have no worries…. Kidding. The best athletes will race in Val di Fiemme, and it is just up to me to show that I am one of them!
Q: You have your own clothing brand Feelgood. How and why did you come up with this project?
Ø.P.: It is not easy to do both skiing and to sell a brand. So at the moment feel good is having a vacation, and will come back into the arena when I retire:)
Q: In August you and Odd-Bjoern Hjelemeset are taking part in a TV show and compete against Lasse Kjus and Kjetil Andre Aamodt. Can you say more about the project?
Ø.P.: This is just a show in Norway. It is Kjus and Aamot vs other "famous" people in Norway. It is many different competitions and the goal is to collect as many points as possible. Me and Oddbjørn will of course set a new record and really beat the …. out of the two others… (i hope…)
Q: Have you made your World Cup plan already? Do you know which races you will take part in?
Ø.P.: I need to qualify for the races I participate in. So I don't know exactly. But I want to win a medal in Val di Fiemme, and in order to do so I need to ski every classic sprint before the world champs. So you can figure out yourself which races I am doing:) I wish everybody a happy training season. Remember, a kite rises against the wind rather than with it!