After Leonding comes the Olympics: ÖSV athlete Lukas Klapfer takes off
- Created by PhDr. Andreas Wanda
When Nordic Combined athlete Lukas Klapfer sets up his equipment in a seminar room at the Upper Austrian location of Austria's only TÜV, every ski, jumping boot or helmet equals a station in the life of the Styrian top athlete: "I used to be an extreme jitterbug," says the now 35-year-old from Eisenerz, looking back on his school days as well as the start of his ÖSV career in 2005, since when he has developed into a "mental beast," in his own words: "Nervousness doesn't help. When we went to Sochi in 2014, everyone was nervous, only I thought to myself, it's the same competitions, the same athletes, now it just says "Olympics"." With this calm, Lukas Klapfer won bronze in the team event with Austria's Nordic combined athletes. In 2018, bronze again followed in the team event in Pyeongchang, but it was above all, the bronze medal in the individual event where the passionate hobby model maker showed excelled especially: "I look at the competitions neutrally, it comes what comes, I call off my performance."
It was the performance of fellow Eisenerz athlete Mario Stecher that should put Lukas Klapfer on his trajectory to the Olympics. In just his second World Cup race, Stecher took the first of a total of twelve World Cup victories at Holmenkollen in 1994. Inspired at that time Klapfer decides to go to ski school, today the Eisenerz alone completes 14 hours of pure strength training per week, daily the Nordic combined 4,000 calories: "But on the Lord's Day is rested with an hour of running" jokes the Styrian, visibly in his element as a lecturer at the TÜV AUSTRIA site in Leonding but modest: "Basically I do what I usually do."
Lukas Klapfer vividly describes the individual phases of the jump to the Upper Austrian employees of TÜV AUSTRIA, the quick run-up with as little resistance as possible, the take-off followed by a short climbing phase: "Then you lie down on the air and keep the lift as high as possible."
Lukas Klapfer gets a boost during his preparations from the cooperation in the Ski Austria: "At the ÖSV we participate from the experiences of the individual disciplines, for example from the alpine and their special grinds for the surface," Lukas Klapfer outlines the technical work behind the scenes of the Nordic combined, which itself is constantly developing: "In the past, the athletes who were strong in running were given preference, with Jarl Magnus Riiber this has changed, ski jumping in the Nordic combined is like qualifying in Formula 1. "
In three months, the 2021/22 Nordic World Cup will start in Ruka, Finland, not a trace of excitement in Lukas Klapfer during his visit to TÜV AUSTRIA in Leonding, Upper Austria: "I'm glad I chose a varied, beautiful profession that takes me out into nature every day," explains the athlete from Eisenerz, who is happy to be recognized in public "a few times a year" as the Olympian he has made himself.
On the horizon today is the Olympics - just as it was at the beginning of his career, when Lukas Klapfer was still anxiously digging his fingers into the take-off board on the 40m ski jumping hill: "Hold on tight!" instructed Klapfer's coach, and shortly afterwards a surprising blow loosens the hands of the athlete from Eisenerz on his way to an Olympic career that Lukas Klapfer is determined to pursue: "If I see the Olympic rings today, then I don't need any more motivation".