Sophie and Hanna Weese: On the way to the Olympic Games
The freestylers Sophie and Hanna Weese (Wiesloch) fight for a ticket for the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. They want to qualify in the next four World Cup races.
Now perfection is required. A final check to see if everything is in place, the mouthguard is used. Two stomps in the ground and two smacks on the thighs. The blood circulation in the muscles has to be started quickly. Maximum concentration. What comes next can decide on the ticket for the Olympic Games.
” We have to work to the point.”
The start of this Freestyle Mogul Worldcup race is like many others. All processes are rehearsed. Hanna (20) and Sophie (22) Weese know exactly: “We have this one run and if we make a mistake, the judges let us feel it right away,” says Sophie. Three sections of a mogul slope, only divided by two huge ski jumps, lie ahead of the sisters from Heidelberg.
How is it rated?
Time is not necessarily the deciding factor in scoring. It counts – just like the execution of the jumps – only one fifth for the evaluation. The jumps are judged by two judges. Much more important, however, is the technology in the hills. At 60 percent, it is the largest factor in the decisive number of points. Five of the seven judges only pay attention to the technical execution. The rhythm has to be right, braking turns are undesirable. That’s why the sisters carefully inspected the course in the days leading up to the race – while sliding.
Sliding like they did when they were three years old with their two parents. Klaus and Gebriele Weese were at the Olympic Games before their children were born – also in freestyle. Of course the kids would follow in their footsteps. “The parents used to train teams in the Wiesloch ski club. We were always out and about with them,” Hanna recalls at the beginning of her career.
At the age of ten, the sisters got their first taste of competition. “You are born with the basis for such a career,” says coach Anja Bolbjerk. That’s why it’s not unusual to find siblings at this sporting level. Nicolas, the youngest, also drives freestyle in the European Cup.
Injuries are part of it
After the first part of the mogul slope comes the first jump. Here it is important to perform the trick cleanly in the air. Above all, it depends on a perfect landing. If this is not correct, the first turns in the hills cannot be placed as planned. Losing rhythm means losing points. In the uneven section that follows, the athletes have to remain extremely focused.
Sophie remembers her injury almost two years ago. A little carelessness in the hills knocked them out in Japan just before the start of the race. The bitter diagnosis: cruciate ligament rupture – on the day of the competition of all things. But she fought her way back within a year. Last year the sisters were each able to win a gold medal in the European Cup. Hanna is not afraid of injuries: “You learn how to fall somewhere.”
” We don’t want to know how things went with the other one. You never know what will happen.”
Between the races, the sisters train at the Olympic base in Rhein-Neckar. In the summer they practice on a ski jump by the water. Train permanently in the snow – the financial and time expenditure is too great for that. In addition, Hanna’s architecture studies in Munich and Sophie’s teacher training (sports and biology) in Tübingen take up a lot of time.
The intense time before the competition
The training workload is tough. Two units a day with five to six trips each. Stretch, run and regenerate in the ice-cold river water to get your muscles fit again for the next day. Finally, a video analysis, they fall into bed exhausted. “You sleep well there,” laughs Sophie. This rest is important. “It’s a very complex sport,” says coach Bolbjerg. “Everything has to be at the limit. Otherwise you won’t be among the top ten”.
The chance for the Olympics
Growing beyond your own limits is necessary for participating in the Olympics. Bolbjerg is in good spirits. “You have to drive the perfect run,” she says, adding with a smile: “Fortunately, they do that sometimes.” To take part in the Olympic Games in Beijing, the sisters are still missing two places in the top 15 or a place in the top 8. Both still have to improve in order to buy their ticket to Beijing.
In four races, the sisters still have the opportunity to score the required points. “That’s definitely our goal,” says Sophie. “We going to make that!” adds Hanna, “and if not this year, then in four years.”