A ticket to Sochi is an incentive to work even harder

“I’ve reached an intermediate goal,” said Ieva Januškevičiūtė, the first female alpine skier in Lithuania’s history to participate in the Olympic Games.

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info; Translated by Jennifer Virškus for The Lithuania Tribune
 
Ieva last winter at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria.
Ieva last winter at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria.
 

The Lithuanian delegation to the Sochi Olympics will reach a new record—on Feb. 7, at least nine athletes will represent Lithuania in the Winter Olympics, although only a month ago only five had a guaranteed ticket.

Now it’s clear that the honor of Lithuania will be defended at the 2014 Winter Olympics by two cross country skiers, two biathletes, two alpine skiers, ice dancers Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniūnas, and speed skating and short-track skater Agnė Sereikaitė.

One of the most recent to jump on the Olympic train was Ieva Januškevičiūtė. The 19-year-old from Vilnius secured her ticket to Sochi on Nov. 30 at a competition in Italy. The Lithuanian champion has so far only qualified for the slalom race, but she expects to qualify for the giant slalom as well.

The Lithuanian alpine skiers place on the Olympic team was secured when she scored her fifth International Ski Federation (FIS) result under 140 points. The points are calculated by time behind the race leader—the smaller the difference, the lower the points.

Januškevičiūtė’s fifth result under 140 was at an Italian national junior slalom race on Nov. 30 where she scored 118.95 points. The next day she improved on that result with a 116.28. In addition, at a race in Sweden last week, she took 39th place with a score of 103.77 points.

“The feeling to become an Olympian—it’s perfect. I’m very happy, but I have not achieved a high emotional breakthrough, only an intermediate goal. There is no need to think about it too much because there are a lot of things going on. I need to focus on the next race, training, and not to forget that it’s the process that is the most interesting, not just achieving goals,” said Januškevičiūtė, who said that before Christmas she will participate in several more competitions in Sweden to try and meet the giant slalom Olympic qualifying criteria.

“My slalom is getting better, because I train that discipline a lot more—because I can even in Lithuania. But in giant slalom I feel a lot more confident this year than I did before,” said the future Olympian.

This year Januškevičiūtė has been able to spend a lot of time training in the Italian resort of Kronplatz with an international team, as well as participate in an FIS-sponsored camp. She will be at home for Christmas and the New Year, returning immediately after the holiday to Italy.

“I’m physically stronger, and improving my skiing technique. This year I’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains. And up until Sochi I’ll have a lot of training and races,” said the first female Lithuanian alpine skier to participate in the Olympic games.

Last season, the Vilnius resident made her debut on the elite level at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Austria. In the giant slalom she was 73rd from 139 registered participants.

The alpine skier to represent Lithuania on the men’s side will be decided in mid-January. The two skiers in line for the ticket are Rokas Zaveckas and Aivaras Tumas.