|Left off Germany's 2008 Olympic team as a disciplinary measure, 2004 Olympian Matthias Fahrig is more determined than ever to prove himself.
Left off Germany's 2008 Olympic team as a disciplinary measure, 2004 Olympian and 2009 world championships two-event finalist Matthias Fahrig is more determined than ever to prove himself.
Born Dec. 12, 1985, in Wittenberg, Fahrig was the second-youngest member of Germany's eighth-place team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Solid international results following Athens made him a likely candidate for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, as well. He won gold medals on floor exercise and vault at the 2006 Glasgow Grand Prix, a World Cup meet. He placed third on floor exercise and fourth on vault at the 2007 European Championships in Amsterdam. At the 2008 German Championships, Fahrig was seventh all-around, but was not nominated for the Olympic team.
Based on Fahrig's performances following Beijing, his motivation appears to be stronger than before. Last spring he won two medals (silver on floor exercise, bronze on vault) at the European Championships in Milan. He made two finals at the World Championships in London in October, where he placed sixth on floor exercise and fourth on vault. Fahrig finished his season by winning the silver medal on vault at the DTB Cup, a World Cup meet in Stuttgart in November, where he also placed sixth on floor exercise.
In this IG Online interview, Fahrig discusses his new focus, his role on the German team and his plans to return to the Olympics two years from now in London.
IG: What were the high- and low points of your 2009 season?
MF: In 2009 I participated in a lot of competitions. That is why I have to tell you that it is very difficult for me to tell you what was the highest and the lowest point, but I will try to explain. One of the lowest parts in the year was the same as every year. It's always the preparation for a competition, because the preparation for a great competition like Europeans and worlds is always very, very long and hard. But we all know "No training, no success and no hard training, no great success."
Concerning the highlights of the year, I can tell you that every final on my favorite apparatus is a very high and special moment for me, because I like the triumphs on floor and on vault. It's also a confirmation for my preparations. This triumph is gratification for all the hard work.
IG: You came close to winning medals on two events at the world championships in London in October. What do you think you need to add to your performances so you can challenge for medals at the next worlds (Oct. 17-24, 2010, in Rotterdam)?
MF: I don't think I need a higher Start Value on floor. I think that I only need better presentation in my exercise, and I have to work for a better landing on all tumbling lines. On vault I think it's always like Russian roulette! Because, on vault, the winner will be the one who doesn't make a mistake on the landing.
IG: Why exactly were you not named to the German Olympic team in 2008?
MF: I was not included on the team because I was not able to make gymnastics a top priority. Therefore, it was the right decision of the federation to give me a break. I had the chance to reconsider everything, and I can tell you that I feel better than before.
IG: What key changes have you made in your training, to be a better all-arounder?
MF: I have worked on a lot of basic skills, and have tried to be a gymnast who is able to participate on all six apparatus. You can see that I have big problems on rings and on pommel horse, and that is why I worked on these two problem area more than ever. Now I think it will help me to find my way onto the German team for 2012. I think that I will be a part of the 2012 team if I solve these two "problems."
IG: How and where did you celebrate the holidays?
MF: [I rang] in the year with my family and friends in Wittenberg. Wittenberg is the place where I learned gymnastics, and we had a nice, small party.
IG: How would you describe your relationship with 2007 world high bar champion Fabian Hambüchen? And how are you coping with the extra responsibility you have to the team, since Fabian has been injured lately?
MF: I think Fabian is an awesome gymnast, and I think that he participated in a lot of competitions, so I think that he can't be the best in every competition. I also think that a lot of people want him to win every competition. But we all have to consider that he is only human. So I can tell you that I see my role on the team as not more important than before. Fabian and I are a very great "team" inside the competition and outside the gym, so I'm waiting for him to compete (with me) as a team. I think we could achieve a lot of finals this year and for the rest of our gymnastics careers.
IG: What are your goals for 2010, in and out of the gym?
MF: For 2010 I will try to be a nice gymnast, and, of course, I would like to improve my performance on floor and vault. I would also like to work on my landings and my presentation. For my "other" life, outside the gym, I would like to finish my education.