June 14, 2024

Marco Odermatt in an interview about the hype surrounding him and Hirscher’s return

Skier Marco Odermatt also has a lot to do in the summer.Image: www.imago-images.de


Summer has almost become harsher than winter, says Marco Odermatt. The 26-year-old skating star still took time to give an interview. On Engelberg, Odermatt talks about his latest project, working with the new coach, the hype surrounding him – and the return of series winner Marcel Hirscher.

June 10, 2024, 5:25 am10 June 2024, at 06:46

Claudio Zanini / Media

It’s lunchtime in Engelberg. Marco Odermatt eats in a simple pub near the train station. The atmosphere is comfortable. In addition to Odermatt and his manager, there are people from the e-bike company Milo in Geneva. Milo is one of Odermatt’s sponsors. The startup has dedicated a new bike to ski star Nidwalden, called the “Adventure Beast.” After the shoot, Odermatt tells us what’s keeping him busy this summer.

How involved were you in the development of this e-bike?
Marco Odermatt
: The idea for the bike came from Milo, of course. It should be a gravel bike that allows you to go fast on road and gravel. A bicycle can replace your car sometimes. I thought the idea was great. If I were to buy a bike specifically, it would be like this.

Can you also incorporate this bike into your training?
In theory yes. Whether I’m riding a 70km race bike or 110km on an e-bike, it’s probably about the same in terms of physical effort. But this e-bike is actually not intended for training, but rather for covering longer distances.

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin, right, and Swiss ski racer Marco Odermatt talk before an international friendly football match between Switzerland and Estonia at the Swisspurarena in Lucerne.

Marco Odermatt visits the national team – here with national coach Murat Yakin. Photo: Keystone

Miloo is one of 19 premium partners. How many sponsors can they still afford?
I think we have reached the upper limit. Milo joined us last year, otherwise we’ve had the same partners for years. But the capacity is probably full.

“Summer has become harsher for me than winter. But this is also a logical consequence of my successes.

Sponsors expect something in return. For example, you present a bicycle like today. How do you balance that with summer training?
Summer has become harsher for me than winter. But this is also a logical consequence of my successes. When you’re very successful, you’re probably the busiest. And not only about racing in winter, but also in summer, because there are a lot of inquiries and sponsor appointments.

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Is summer harsher than winter? truly?
I think so, yes. Winter is completely different. In winter, the only priority is skiing, and I focus exclusively on that. In the summer, there are intensive training sessions, usually two sessions a day and a lot of sponsor commitments. Look: Actually, I only have three or four months in the summer to do everything in private. The dentist, tax returns and things like that, I have to do that too. Others have spread it out throughout the year, I have to do it in the summer because I’m away most of the time in August or September.

But do you have enough time to train in the summer?
I’m very consistent about that. I would even say more consistently than almost anyone. It’s just long days and little free time. Today I’m on the race bike at 7am for three hours, then I come here for this appointment which lasts until about 6 or 7pm, and then I do another hour or so of training.

And recovery?
I just recover very quickly. If I take half a day off, I will recharge my batteries immediately.

“For example, if I want to improve my endurance, I lose my vitality. And of course we are still trying to improve.”

Alejo Hervás, your new sports coach, seems to have a very charismatic personality. How did you start working with him?
He is a “wonderful patient.” I’ve gotten off to a very good start with him and I’m very happy with the change. It was the right moment. We’re not doing everything from scratch and we have similar goals as before, but it’s definitely a different path than before, which is good.

Can you even get better physically, or is it a matter of not losing anything?
You can still get something out of it. But it is true that we have reached a point from which we cannot get anything out unless we make concessions in another area. For example, if I want to improve my stamina, I lose my vitality. And of course we are still trying to improve.

Do you speak to Alejo Hervas in English?
Yes exactly. It is also an opportunity for me to improve my English. But we don’t have any communication problems, the language of training is actually universal.

In terms of quality, Hervas is perhaps on a similar level to his predecessor Kurt Kothbauer. Was this castling just a change of scenery?
Maybe I should explain it this way: I trained for seven years in a pattern that clearly worked great. When the coach showed something, I already knew what to do. This is different now. New exercises are coming, I have to look carefully before doing them. These new stimuli are extremely important for the head and nervous system. I’ve shocked my body several times over the past six weeks that we’ve been training with Alejo. This is what it takes.

Someone recently told me that you filled up your car in Beckenried. Why is a mere visit to a gas station worth telling a story about?
It’s just hype. I can post something on social media, like a regular video on my bike – and it will be recorded by “Blick”. I deleted Instagram in April, you’re wasting a lot of time there if you’re honest with yourself.

Do you also withdraw from real life?
Not that, no. I also go to the village festival, things like that make you stay normal in a way. But if I could change anything, it would be famous. If I could snap my fingers and no one knew me right away, that would be something.

Marco Odermatt of Switzerland poses with his crystal balls on giant slalom, super-G, downhill and, in general, after the men's downhill race at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in Saalbach-H...

Odermatt with the crystal balls he won last season.Photo: Keystone

Perhaps only eminent people can understand such things. Do you talk to other celebrities about this topic?
I actually spoke briefly with Roger Federer about this, but he’s in a different category. It is difficult to compare your situation with someone else’s. There are not many people in Switzerland who can understand that.

“Last year the story of the day was: Will Odermatt win or not? There are a lot of good stories now.”

Interest in skiing is unlikely to decline next season. Just think about the return of Marcel Hirscher or Lukas Bräthen.
I think the ratings will double at the start of the World Cup in Sölden. There are many highlights in the upcoming season. Last year the story of the day was: Will Odermatt win or not? Now there are a lot of good stories. Marco Schwartz, Alexis Pinturault and Alexander Kjeld return from injuries. Marcel Hirscher and Lucas Clutches are back. In the giant slalom I’ll go with number 1, then maybe Pinturault with number 6, Kildee with number 15, Braathen with number 30 – and Hirscher with number 45. So it stays exciting for the whole first run.

Marcel Hirscher is now 35 years old. Do you think he can ride in the front?
He is the same age as Thomas Tomler. Tommy says he feels better than ever. In this era he witnessed the peak of his career.

But Thomas Tummler has trained hard in recent years.
Yes, what do you think about what Hirscher has done in the last few years? This is a crazy person, in a good way.

Did Hirscher really train that much?
I would argue that over the past two winters he has had more days of training for giant slalom than I have. Of course, this is also due to the ski tests he conducts for his ski brand Van Deer. I have no doubt about the fitness. Herscher machine. He climbs every mountain. His biggest advantage is that he knows how to do it.

What do you think he can do next season?
He is a real racing dog. He knows what it takes to be better than others. He certainly hadn’t forgotten his tactical skills. I think he will quickly get a base number in the top 15. I think he will be on the podium sometime next winter. But I’m not saying he will win every race and be my toughest competitor in the World Cup Finals.

(Arjawar newspaper)