Berlin – Eric Frenzel has to smile. On the one hand, everything is like it was 15 years ago. On the other hand, it’s just completely different. The most successful Nordic combined athlete in history, who annoyed the competition as a teenager in the prime of her athletic years, now wants to do that again. Just from the other direction, as a mid-thirties.
“Of course you want to smear the boy on the bread again that you have been good and are good,” says Frenzel, who is starting his 15th World Cup season on Friday in the Finnish winter sports resort of Ruka: “I don’t want to just clear the field. “And if everything goes according to plan, this season in Beijing will again give him the perfect opportunity for a late performance demonstration at his“ most likely last Winter Olympics ”.
Whereby: the little Saxon, who has been 33 years old since Sunday and has long been the father of three children, doesn’t need any more proof. “I have the advantage that I don’t have to win a lot anymore,” says Frenzel, referring to three Olympic victories, seven world championship titles, 23 medals at major events, five triumphs in the overall World Cup and 39 World Cup victories.
“I can pick out what I feel like doing,” says Frenzel – and by that he means above all his fourth Olympic Games: “Motivation doesn’t fail because the challenge is still there. I notice that I’m still doing well in terms of performance. “
The trend speaks against Olympic champion Frenzel
But is that enough to keep up with the young high-flyers who have dominated the scene since the German Olympic Gala 2018 in Pyeongchang (three wins in three races, five out of seven possible medals)? Norway’s top star Jarl Magnus Riiber (24, 35 World Cup victories in the past three seasons) or Austria’s world champion Johannes Lamparter (20)?
The trend speaks against Frenzel at least: since March 2018 he has been waiting for a World Cup success – the longest dry spell of his career. But this is not a sign of old age, because in terms of running the veteran is still one of the very best. Furthermore, jumping is his weak point.
“Eric has to work very hard to make decisive progress,” says Hermann Weinbuch. Under the national coach, who has been in office since 1996, Frenzel celebrated all the successes. And it looks like Weinbuch, whose departure was planned for 2014, will still survive his model student in terms of sport.
Hermann Weinbuch extends year after year as national coach
“I can only say that my contract is expiring and I will sit down with the ski association in the spring,” says Weinbuch. Like every year. And so far that has always ended in the contract extension. Why stop too? The proven team with Vinzenz Geiger, the only German World Cup winner of the past two years, as well as the veterans Johannes Rydzek, Fabian Rießle and Frenzel will probably stay together until 2023.
However, at least “King Eric” is now thinking more specifically about the end of his career. “Of course, after the season I can say: I’ve achieved everything. Or I haven’t achieved what I wanted at all – actually it’s reason enough to stop now, ”says Frenzel. But: “If it’s in between, then I think it will take a little longer.”