Chiara Hölzl, professional ski jumper from St. Veit, was the deserved winner this year of the title “Sportswoman of the Year“.
She scored six victories in the winter of 2019/20, led the overall standings for some time and eventually finished second place in the overall World Cup. The St. Veit-Schwarzach Tourist Board congratulates Chiara Hölzl warmly on the outstanding performance last winter and is already keeping its fingers crossed for the next seasons.
In this interview, Chiara gives us insights into her day-to-day life and the whirlwind of emotions surrounding ski jumping. Chiara tells us how important home is to her and how much she appreciates her hometown.
The Tourist Board of St. Veit-Schwarzach in interview with ski jumper Chiara Hölzl
How do you feel about the decision to end the season prematurely due to COVID-19?
It was definitely the right decision. Those were very special circumstances and health is very, very important, and that is why you have to take these things very seriously.
The premature end was not a problem for me – it was my best season so far and it was a very nice one with a great team, my first World Cup win and many unique emotions.
Congratulations on second place in the overall standings! What was the secret to your success this season?
Thank you very much! I think there were several factors that came together. For one thing, I’d always worked hard and those recent seasons hadn’t been bad either.
In the summer I joined JumpandReach and Patrick Murnig became my new coach. With some pointers from Patrick, collected over the years together with Stefan Kraft and Michi Hayböck, I finally got the hang of it and was able to just jump. All these factors came together leading to the success I had this season.
Can you describe your feelings during your first home win?
Winning the double at home in front of all my friends, in front of my family, that was really incredible. It was very emotional for me and the best moment of the year. Also the whole atmosphere in general, there was so much going on and it was just a great environment for the whole team and us girls – that was just great fun.
What is your goal for next season? What are you going to work on to achieve this goal?
I’m already looking forward to getting back to it. I’m looking forward to my first jumps and preparing for the season. Personally, I just want to enjoy jumping and produce good, consistent jumps that I can be satisfied with.
For me, the most important thing is that I keep enjoying myself, and then we’ll see what comes from it. But, of course, the World Championships in Oberstdorf next winter is already in the back of my mind.
Is the pressure greater when you wear the yellow jersey? Do you put more pressure on yourself?
In my opinion, pressure is always something that you put on yourself. If I don’t put pressure on myself, then no one can put pressure on me from the outside. Obviously, your head comes into play when looking at maybe topping the overall World Cup at the end of the season, but I am in a good position with Patrick and the team on this matter and I can handle it.
Basically, it is more an honour for me to be able to jump in the yellow jersey, because it simply means that at this moment you are the best ski jumper in the world, and with that a bit more than just a childhood dream comes true.
What does the extended summer break look like for you?
As I said, I’m looking forward to getting on the hill again.
In the meantime, of course, I’m busy with ‘home workouts’ and trying to stay fit. I also enjoy walks around St. Veit and the beautiful places there with my boyfriend Philipp and my dog Carla. We have so many beautiful paths to walk and run in our immediate surroundings, I never get bored – on the contrary, I really enjoy the time outside back home.
You travel frequently. What do you most look forward to when you return home to St. Veit?
Of course my boyfriend Philipp and my dog Carla are at the top of the list. The feeling of coming home is one of the best there is.
I love our nature and our variety of ways to exercise outdoors. Be it ski mountaineering, Mountain biking, running, etc. , I can practice a lot of it not far from my apartment door, and that for me is a feeling of freedom and just “being at home”. Because I travel so much and see a lot, I appreciate my homeland all the more, and enjoy the time at home very much.
What do you draw your strength and energy from?
For me, spending time with friends, my family and my boyfriend is an important source of energy. Ski jumping is my passion and I put my heart and soul into it, but I am also very happy at home when it is not all about ski jumping.
As I said, walking and running around St. Veit also give me a lot of strength and energy. As well as activities at home, my fans and the many positive responses from people at home give me a lot of strength and a really great feeling. It feels great when people are behind you, and I’m grateful for everyone who has kept their fingers crossed this year.
What is the private Chiara Hölzl like?
I would describe myself as very natural, down-to-earth, ambitious and warm. I love being in the mountains and I love the silence there.
I think I’m also a very open and funny person.
How did you come to ski jumping? When did you discover your passion?
I came to ski jumping when I was about seven years old through my father and brother. My father was a ski jumper himself in his youth and my brother was already a ski jumper at that time. My brother would ‘send’ me to try the jumps first and if it worked well, he would try it himself.
That’s how I got into ski jumping before starting my career at SV Schwarzach.
Chiara, what was your personal highlight of the season?
My personal highlight was definitely the double in Hinzenbach.
That this happened in front of my friends, my family and many great supporters was really overwhelming and very emotional. A moment I will never forget.
Add to that, of course, the six World Cup victories I was able to celebrate this season. Every single one of them is, of course, special and a wonderful feeling.