|A Conversation with Katerina Neumannova|
Czech cross country star Katerina Neumannova has been on the international scene since 1991, when she won silver at the World Junior Championships. She went on to win gold at the 1992 and 1993 World Junior Championships and has Olympic medals as well as World Cup wins to her credit. Neumannova was narrowly beaten in a sprint by Beckie Scott for the pursuit bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics, but her fourth place will possibly be upgraded to a silver medal with the likely disqualification of Russian skiers Ogla Danilova and Larissa Lazutina.
Wintersport.as caught up with Neumannova for this interview:
Q: How many hours do you train per season?
KN: Something around 8,000 to 8,500 kilometers, consisting of running, roller skiing and biking. Whereas biking kilometres are divided by three.
Q: Specific training principles?
KN: We will continue with high-altitude training and henceforth use high-altitude house. The high-altitude training has proven good for us. We prepare no special news in training system.
Q: What are your 4 best races ever?
KN: It is not so easy to tell just my four best races...
Salt Lake City 2002 - 3rd place, 15km free mass start
Nagano 1998 - 2nd place, 5km classic
World Championship Trondheim 1997 - 3rd place, 15km free
World Cup race in Ramsau 1992 - 1st place, 5km classic (my first victory in World Cup)
(Editor’s note: Neumannova will iikely improve to silver in the 15k skate and bronze in the pursuit at the 2002 Olympics due to the December doping infraction of Lazutina.)
Q: Should all events count in the overall world cup?
KN: No, I think there are too many sprint events. In my opinion it is a question if only two or three best sprints may count for the World Cup. And so, I would like to be in a position to cancel one or two worst race results. For example, I will be sick and then I definitely can't race about one or two races.
Q: What event, if any, would you remove from the calendar?
KN: Skiduathlon - I don´t like this race too much. And also I think that the sprints in classic technique are not too good.
Q: What new event are you most pleased with?
KN: I am very pleased with relay sprint race. In my opinion, it is very attractive for spectators and also interesting for the athletes. I also enjoy mass starts during the right weather conditions.
Q: Should sprint events count in the overall world cup?
KN: I think only two or three should count for the World Cup.
Q: What format of pursuit would you prefer?
KN: I quite like the old format of pursuit, it means two races in two days. On the whole I like the new format with two races in one day with about two hours pause. As I said the last format called ski-duathlon I don't like.
Q: Spain has proposed to remove the height limit on 1800 meters, what's your opinion?
KN: Definitely if snow conditions are bad everybody likes the races in any high altitude. I think, 1800 meters is optimal high altitude. It will be unnecessarily to go higher.
Q: Do you trust doping tests and testing procedures?
KN: Yes, I do. I think that during Olympic games doping tests very frequent and intensive. In my opinion, above all the doping test would make in major quantity during the training season, not only at races. I think the doping tests and procedures have done a big step ahead.
Q: Summer training plans, high altitude, summer competitions?
KN: Perhaps some roller ski races or mountain bike races but only to complement for my general training.
Q: How much focus on high altitude next season, what do you think about high altitude houses?
KN: As I said, we have made some high-altitude training systems in the last two years. We will continue with high-altitude training and henceforth use high-altitude houses.
I think, high altitude houses are not doping. High altitude house is only technical device for training that surely can use everybody because it is very expensive device.
Training and sleeping in high altitude house is not so comfortable as you think. I think, using high altitude houses is the same as training in high mountains.
Q: 2003 goals?
KN: First of all to win the world championship in Val di Fiemme and then overall World Cup standing.
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