WARSAW – Polish biathlon star Thomas Secora said the country’s men’s team needs an injection of youth to have a real chance of stardom at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“Polish athletes may compete for a medal in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but it is time for the men’s team to focus on youth,” Sikora Xinhua said in an exclusive interview.
Sykora won a medal three times at the World Cup, but his greatest achievement was winning the silver in the group start of the 2006 Turin Olympics – the last Polish Olympic medal in biathlon.
“Snow jumpers will lead our delegation in Beijing. Athletes in math can also compete for medals, but they have to be well prepared. It’s hard to say why we have been waiting so long for the next Olympic medal in biathlon,” said Sikora.
“There seems to be a huge shift in focus for the men’s team. We have had the same athletes for years and they are not making any progress. We are happy when someone scores points in the World Cup, but it’s not enough.”
“It’s time to invest in young athletes. We did it in ski jumping and cross-country jumping and now it’s paying off.”
The 47-year-old recalled how he had to beat illness before starting a collegiate in Turin to win a silver medal behind German Michael Grace.
“I thought maybe I should withdraw for health reasons,” said Secura.
I had a sinus problem, was sore every day, and I slept three or four hours a night. I was so tired. She also failed in all competitions before the mass event. Then, surprisingly, I won a silver medal.
Secura added that being able to cope under pressure is an important skill for Olympians.
“One of the most important things to succeed in games is experience,” he said. “Sometimes it is difficult to focus solely on the competition, so an athlete has to find the right balance to be at his best.”
I changed tactics into a mass event. I wanted to be fast when shooting because I tried not to waste seconds on opponents, but the results weren’t good. Then I decided to focus on the accuracy of shooting and it was a good choice.
“It’s hard to stand the pressure when you know you have a good chance of winning an Olympic medal. I remember shaking my legs at a decisive moment. I can fight for gold or defend my focus in second place.”
“I chose the second option. After crossing the finish line, I started crying. It was the best moment of my career.”