Nora Scheel from Bächli Bergsport met the Swiss athlete Andrea Kümin and talked to her about the 2020 Summer Olympics, her goals and life besides climbing.

A contribution by Nora Scheel - Bächli mountain sports

The International Olympic Committee has decided to temporarily include climbing at the Summer Games 2020 in Tokyo as a discipline. The provisional admission, however, means that only one medal set is available. Climbing consists of the three very different disciplines Lead (climbing on the rope), bouldering (climbing at jump height) and speed (climbing on time). In order not to favor any of the disciplines, it has been decided that each athlete must start in all three disciplines. The final ranking is calculated by multiplying the three ranks.

Andrea Kümin is one of the contenders for a Swiss grid at Olympia. The 20-year-old from Zurich has been part of the Swiss national team since 2011 and was nominated by 2017 for the "Olympic Pool". An interview about her Olympic dreams, her athletic goals and her normal everyday life.

Andrea, you have won 2016 the Youth European Championships in the combined ranking. 2017 was launched for the first time in the category Elite and also achieved good results. What are your goals for 2018?
With regard to the Olympics, 2018 is more of a training year, as the selection competitions will take place at 2019. I probably will not compete in the same number of competitions this year as 2017. Season highlight will be the World Championships in Innsbruck in September. But I have to qualify, except for bouldering.

As an ordinary athlete you can hardly imagine the training of a top athlete. What does your training routine look like?
This is different every week. Usually, I train between 20 and 25 hours a week. Since I no longer go to school, I do split trainings, which means I train in the morning and in the evening. Mostly I train for two to three days in a row and then take a day off. On this day I go jogging, stretching and doing regenerative exercises. I never really do anything (laughs).

Where do you prefer to work out?
I prefer to train in the new SAC performance center in Biel as well as in the Boulderhalle Minimum in Zurich. In addition, I often train at home and in the sports center Hirslen in Bülach. There I could set up small training walls.

Andrea training in Zurich

You are mainly trained by your father. Does that work well?
After primary school, I opted for the ordinary canton school in Bülach, instead of visiting the sports gymnasium Rämibühl. Since my colleagues from the Gymnasium had already been training in the afternoon, I could not train with the Regiokader. Since then my dad has trained me. Since he is a sports teacher, he understands a lot about training anyway. He wrote my training plans, trained with me and secured me. Without him, I would never have come as far as I am now. We have a very good relationship.

So is not he the father who drives his daughter to excellence?
(Laughs) No, not at all. On the contrary: My dad always had to slow me down.

In addition to competitive sports you study psychology in distance learning. Do you get that well under one hat?
The career advice from Swiss Olympic drew my attention to the offer of the FernUni. The programs are structured in accordance with the Bologna guidelines and the degree is recognized. We have joint events only five days a semester, everything else is online. The study is nevertheless very well structured. Every week we receive a weekly schedule and do not have to work everything out in self-discipline. But it gives me the opportunity to divide my time freely. I think besides the top sport it is a very good solution. The only downside is that I hardly see my fellow students. However, that would be the same if I went to an ordinary university. Apart from climbing there is not much time left.

Climbing is not the right sport to get rich. What is your financial support from sponsors, foundations and associations?
I receive the greatest support from Swiss Sporthilfe. This is a foundation that supports athletes of associations affiliated to Swiss Olympic. Since climbing is olympic, the subsidies of Sporthilfe have increased enormously and now amount to up to 36'000 francs. This made me relatively independent last year. However, you have to provide the corresponding services every year: At least top 8 at the World Cup, respectively top 6 at the European Championships in the combined ranking (ie lead, bouldering and speed together). In addition to this financial support, Mammoth provide me with Bächli mountain sports, FrictionLabs, Scarpa and NeproSport with the necessary material for my training.

2020 will be attending rock climbing in Tokyo at the Summer Olympics. Were you happy when the decision became known?
Olympia is probably the dream of all athletes. As a kid, I've always watched the Olympics. I would never have dreamed that my sport would be an Olympic one and that I might even be able to participate in it. That's why I was really looking forward to the decision. But the selection is sure to be tough. There are only 20 launch sites, seven of which are already reserved for the other continents. So there are still 13 possible places for Europe. So it is very good if you can start at all.

Olympia polarized. Some expect stronger financial support for professional climbers, others fear a commercialization of the sport. What are you thinking about that?
Climbing has become much more popular in recent years. When I was in primary school, people hardly knew what climbing was about. When I talked about my hobby, they asked me if I climbed trees (laughs). It's different today. There are more and more climbing gyms and training opportunities. I think that's cool. The additional financial support from Olympia is a very big relief for me personally.

The SAC has nominated six athletes and three athletes for the so-called "Olympic Pool". What support do you receive from the association?
We receive so much support as never before. In Biel, a club-based performance center was recently opened, where we have the opportunity to train competition-specific. Our Olympic team coaches Kevin Hemund and Pirmin Scheuber are very motivated. This gives us a great team spirit.

At the Olympics every athlete has to compete in all three disciplines. The reactions were sometimes very negative. Some said that was like summarizing sprint, hurdles and marathons. What do you think about that?
The criticism is certainly justified. On the other hand, I understand the decision too. There is only one medal set and it would have been unfair to favor a discipline. Personally, I have decided to accept the situation as it is and make the best out of it. In any case, all three disciplines are fun for me.

Is it possible to train all three disciplines at the same time?
I can only speak for myself personally. All three disciplines bring me on. From bouldering you get the dynamic and the coordinative, the lead the endurance and the speed the explosive. In addition, it is of course important to write the training plans so that the various stimuli do not bite: At the beginning of a training block, I train each strength and momentum, before the day of rest, however, perseverance. At the moment I do not train speed systematically - I usually do short sessions once or twice a week before training.

In the upcoming competition season you do not expect a disadvantage compared to athletes who can concentrate on one discipline?
No, I do not think so. The bouldering and lead competitions take place in time anyway. This makes it possible to first focus on bouldering and only in spring, when the bouldering competitions are slowly finished, to start the lead training.

About Bächli mountain sports

Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. At currently 11 locations in Switzerland, Bächli Bergsport offers its customers expert advice and high-quality service. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports at regular intervals exciting contributions to the topics of climbing and bouldering.

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