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Kristina Vogel: „It will be a very, very fast World Cup“

Kristina Vogel © Arne Mill / Frontalvision.de
Kristina Vogel © Arne Mill / Frontalvision.de

Kristina Vogel, 2019 was all about your „bucket list“, a wish list for special experiences. Among other things, you dared to take a parachute jump and experienced many other things for which you didn’t have the time being a competitive athlete. What do you remember in particular?
I cannot name just a single experience, it’s all of the experiences and encounters together that made the year 2019 so special for me. For a long time the racing calendar determined my daily business. It’s just great to have time for other projects. In June, for example, I was able to watch for hours how Maximilian Levy participated in his first Ironman triathlon in Frankfurt. Usually, I would have been riding the Grand Prix in Cottbus at this weekend.

In addition to your many obligations, for example the city politics in Erfurt, you have also been working as a trainer for the Federal Police for several weeks. Is the trainer Kristina Vogel just as impatient as the athlete Kristina Vogel?
I cannot answer that as I am currently finding myself in this job. I’m still figuring out my way. But not every good athlete is automatically a good coach.

In June 2020 your accident occured two years ago already. How closely do you follow track cycling currently?
Of course, I gained some distance. That’s the way tings are when you end your active carreer - that has nothing to do with my accident. Obviously, I follow the results and watch selected races online.

Next to your job as ambassadress for the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot in Berlin you will also be working for the ZDF as a TV expert. Have you done your “homework” and will you be as prepared on the microphone as you have always been as athlete?
My preparation is 18 years of competitive sports, so I think I have a say in it. The regulations didn’t change much, it’s similar to when I was still riding. Of course, there are new faces such as the Canadian sprinter Kelsey Mitchell. So I look on the internet to find out about facts or an anecdote from her youth.

In five months, the Olympic Games in Tokyo are an even bigger highlight for the athletes. What kind of World Championships to you expect in Berlin.
The World Championships just before the Olympic Games will be very hard and very fast. Nevertheless, it is a transit station. Some nations will experiment a little and other nations and athletes still have to qualify for Tokyo. Which is why, they are going to be very, very fast and high-class World Championships.

Which athletes should the spectators keep an eye on?
Each discipline has special highlights and great riders. The men’s quartet from Denmark showed very strong results during the World Cup season. From a German perspective the men’s and women’s quartets have also developed very well and are fun to watch. In Madison we have our two-time World Champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt, who are a lot of fun. Six-time World Champion Jason Kenny from Great Britain is back in men’s Sprint. You can tell: Olympia is coming, Olympia is getting closer. All nations prepare intensively for the World Championships and will ride brutally in Berlin.

How do you see the development in the women’s short-distance disciplines?
Emma Hinze and Lea Sophie Friedrich are on the verge of establishing themselves in the world elite. I am glad that both of them seem to have learned a lot from me. They try to follow my footprints and go beyond. But it won’t be easy in Berlin. There are new strong riders like Kelsey Mitchell. The Australian Stephanie Morthon and the Russian Anastasija Voinova returned to their former strength. I am really looking forward to the races - and whenever the girls need my advice, I am there for them.

Kristina Vogel (29) won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in 2012 (Team Sprint with Miriam Welte) and in 2016 (Sprint). In Rio she added the bronze medal in Team Sprint to the list. The women from Erfurt has been World Champion eleven times and is the most successful track athlete of all times. She has been paraplegic since a training accident in June 2018. Kristina Vogel is the ambassadress for the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot.