S. Horngacher: Back to the top
Stefan Horngacher, Assistant coach German A-Team, former world class ski jumper
Lives in Titisee-Neustadt (GER) with his wife and two children
Career as a ski jumping: Jumped in the World Cup from 1990/91 to 2001/02; was in the Top 10 of the overall World Cup five times. Two time World Champion with the Austrian team.
"We want to win the Nation's Cup in two years", Horngacher has ambitious goals with the German team.
FISskijumping: What was the biggest success in your career as a ski jumper?
Horngacher: "Winning the ski flying event at the Kulm 1991 was the coolest for me. The Kulm was always something very special and winning there was a really emotional moment in my career.
Also winning two bronze medals with the team at Olympic Games was great. The two World Championships titles with the team 1991 (Predazzo) and 2001 (Lahti), exactly ten years later. In retrospect this was very exciting for me because so much happened during these ten years. There were many changes over these years. The change from the classic to the V-style, extreme changes of the equipment, and so on. Somehow it always worked well for me despite these changes."
FISskijumping: What has changed the most in ski jumping over the last ten years?
Horngacher: "The professionalism changed significantly. There used to be alternative training methods. Now you simply have to train highly professional and, for example, there are a lot more coaches. When I was an athlete we sometimes didn't even have a technician, we did it all ourselves. Today we are discussing if one technician is enough. This is a very good, a very positive change. That applies for all different fields, there's a lot more working on the details. Also the possibilities for the analysis are much better, and so on. A lot happened."
Stefan Horngacher: Coaching career
Right after his career end as a ski jumper in 2002 Horngacher started coaching with the Austrian Ski Association. "That was a very good time", Horngacher says looking back. "I had the luck to work with Hannu Lepistoe and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned a lot in these two years with Hannu."
Kamil Stoch and Pjotr Zyla
2004 he started working in Poland together with Heinz Kuttin. Kuttin as head coach, Horngacher as his assistant. He stayed in Poland for two years, from 2004 to 2006 and was responsible for working with the B-team with athletes like Kamil Stoch and Piotr Zyla, both are now among the best in the world.
Bodmer's huge potential was obvious
2006 Rudi Tusch hired him to work with the German Ski Association. Horngacher became head coach at the ski jumping center in Hinterzarten and was also responsible for the athletes of the winter sports school in Furtwangen. Among the athletes in Hinterzarten are Martin Schmitt and Christian Ulmer. When he started his job, there was a new student in the school in Furtwangen: Pascal Bodmer. "His huge potential was obvious right away", Horngacher tells today.
"Pascal Bodmer's potential can be compared to Severin Freund or Richard Freitag", Horngacher says about Bodmer, who is still fighting to come back after a serious fall in Planica 2011. "Pascal will compete again in Courchevel and I'm sure that he will be able to close the gap again. We worked hard together for a long time."
In 2008 Horngacher became assistant coach of the B-team, in the same year he was named head coach.
Since last winter Horngacher is assistant coach of Werner Schuster and on location at many of the World Cup competitions. He is also still responsible for the training center in Hinterzarten. The most famous athletes there are now Martin Schmitt, Andreas Wank, Pascal Bodmer and Maximilian Mechler.
FISskijumping: With Severin Freund and Richard Freitag you have two athletes on the team who can win in the World Cup. It took a while until that happened.
Horngacher - The system starts to pay off
"This is the consequence of a system that developed over the past years. The system works not only for Severin and Richard. For example Andreas Wank is the same age as Severin and he grew in and with this system like the other two. Now the system of the past years starts to pay off. There are not only two anymore who can win, there are others coming up as well and that's the most important point. With Andreas Wank, Pascal Bodmer and some young athletes we are starting to get the strong team that we were working to get for years. Now there's also the chance again that a very young jumpers can come to the top from the C-team, from zero to hero".
FISskijumping: Just like Richard Freitag last winter?
Horngacher - Freitag lost a whole winter
"The success of Richard Freitag last winter was great. What hardly anybody knows: That could have actually happened one winter earlier. Richard was already in such a good shape then. In the 2010/11 winter he suffered from a severe inflammation of the middle ear and so he basically lost the whole winter."
FISskijumping: What about the junior athletes in Hinterzarten? Are there some good talents? Is there someone who can make it to the World Cup?
Horngacher - There are young talents
"Absolutely, Tobias Loeffler, born in 1994 is a big talent and Niklas Wangler of Breitnau, just to mention two names. Both have the necessary level and I would like to see them on our team in the future."
FISskijumping: Didn't the German Association lose a few years after the outstanding times of Hannawald and Schmitt? It looks better for Poland. There it seems that after the retirement of Adam Malysz, with Kamil Stoch and now a lot of young jumpers, this gap didn't really exist.
Horngacher - Situation in Poland and Germany can be compared
"Concerning Germany I can only talk about the time after 2006. But it's clear that in was a similar process in Poland, but it started two to three years earlier than in Germany. In principle, what happened in Poland and approach in Germany can be compared. Stoch, Zyla and other were in my training group back then so I can tell."
FISskijumping: What about Martin Schmitt? He had some problems this summer so far and finished between 11th and 34th in the COC events in Stams, Kranj and Sochi. Will we see Martin in the World Cup again next winter or will it be hard for him?
Horngacher - It's tough for Martin Schmitt
"It's pretty tough for Martin right now. He is lacking consistency. And there also pressure from the young guys. Right now he is not doing as well as we would wish. I hope that he can be in the Top 10 in Kuopio (COC next weekend, LIVE on fisskijumping.com). But it will be difficult because the COC is a competitive series, you have to fight. Martin didn't know these rules so far, that makes it even harder for him."
FISskijumping: What's the secret of the Austrians? They are jumping extremely strong for years and it seems it has always been that way, and will remain like that. The Austrians won the Nation's Cup eight years in a row, and they did that clearly. Results Austria »
Horngacher - I compare Andi Kofler to Severin Freund
"Years ago there similar problems in Austria than - a few years later - in Germany. During my time as an athlete there were no young guys on the team for years. That was a real problem and so the structures were developed that bring this enormous success until today.
The Austrians did a great job for many years and developed these first-class structures. The result of this work now shows in the result lists. If you want, these structures are similar to those with which we are now having more and more success in Germany. The system was just established in Austria ten or twelve years earlier. In addition to that, they have two outstanding athletes like Thomas Morgenstern and Gregor Schlierenzauer. Both won their first World Cup competitions at age 16, that shows the huge potential they have.
Andreas Kofler, also an exceptional athlete, had to work a lot harder for his success. He is not as talented as Morgenstern or Schlierenzauer, but he still is able to win. That speaks for the system. I compare Andi Kofler to Severin Freund. Severin is also working extremely hard. His is a tinkerer and worker. An absolut role model when it comes to professionalism, Severin is very important for our team and he was very important for Richard Freitag last winter. Freund showed him how it goes and how hard you have to work in order to be successful. So one thing leads to another and the team starts to work and you are becoming successful."
FISskijumping: Is there realistic chance for the German athletes to jump on the same level with the Austrians in the near future? Or will another team be able to beat Austria in the Nation's Cup sooner?
Horngacher - We want to win the Nation's Cup 2013/2014
"There's absolutely a chance and it's our goal. Actually we already wanted the second place in the Nation's Cup last winter but the Norwegians were better then. They also did a great job in Norway. (Results Norway >>) Next winter we want to get closer to the Austrians and in the Olympic winter 2013/14 we want to win the Nation's Cup, this is our goal." Results Germany »
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Season 2012/1308.06.13 08:34