DThe gold has already been injected to Carolin Schäfer. At least that’s how it felt for the 29-year-old heptathlete from Eintracht Frankfurt when she received the first vaccination against the corona virus at Easter. She was very grateful for having been given preferential treatment as a member of the sports promotion group of the Hessian state police, said the world championship runner-up from 2017 at an online press conference on Wednesday. After the second dose in a week and a half, she could travel to the Tokyo Olympics in July with a much greater sense of security.
There are still 99 days before the fire is to be lit in the Japanese capital. Schäfer assumes that the major event will take place despite the pandemic. As an athlete, she only concentrates on what she can influence herself. In addition to their performance, this includes trying, which has been going on for months, to come into contact with as few people as possible in order to keep the risk of infection as low as possible. A two-week quarantine alone would be the “worst case” and would “ruin seven to eight months of training”.
“I want to show the world what I can”
In autumn 2018, the Hessian had left her coach Jürgen Sammert after eight years of working together to prepare for what will probably be their last games with Michael and Stefanie Kaul, the parents of decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul, and with him in Mainz. “I want to show the world and prove to myself what I can do,” announced the third place in the European Championship in Berlin in 2018. An Olympic medal is still missing from their collection. The end of the career of the fifth in Rio 2016 should not yet represent the appearance in Asia; She doesn’t want to miss the European Championships 2022 in Munich and the World Championships in Eugene in the same year. But according to the current status, she no longer sees herself at the start in Paris in 2024.
Even in winter in Germany, Schäfer worked “tough”, focused on speed and changed numerous techniques. Now is “the excitement to finally get into the competition season”. With a competition of their own club on the first weekend in May, the time has come, followed by a four-way fight at the dike meeting two weeks later in Neuwied. The traditional meeting of the international elite on May 29th / 30th in Götzis should be the most important indicator before the season’s highlight. But it is not yet clear whether the classic can be held in Austria.
Plans geared towards games
That would be less of a problem for shepherds than for others. As the only all-rounder of the German Athletics Association, the athlete has already secured the Olympic ticket with the best performance of 6836 points. All plans are focused solely on the games. But competitions are important in order to let the processes become routine. At the German championships in August, the new training team, which Harry Letzelter complements as a sprint specialist, was able to test for the first time what a joint heptathlon feels like. One of the conclusions drawn from this was a return to alternating pace in the shot put. “We noticed that I could cope better with it” than with the planing, which I preferred when I won in Vaterstetten. The junior world champion from 2008 does not want to take any more risks in this discipline since she did not get a valid attempt three years ago in Götzis and her participation in the European Championship was in jeopardy.
The motivation to flay every day is unbroken. Although the games will be very peculiar. A comprehensive manual informs the participants about the conditions and restrictions they are subject to on site. They may enter the athletes’ village five days before their competition at the earliest and must have left it again 48 hours afterwards. “Those in Tokyo won’t have much to do with the ideal value of the games,” says Schäfer. But you have to accept that. The athletes who have prepared for “four years plus one” are primarily concerned with the competition. “Of course we’re hot for it.”