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.
Continue reading “A ticket to Sochi is an incentive to work even harder”

Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog

Ieva Januškevičiūtė: On her start down a small hill in Lazdijai, a taste for traveling places that don’t include warm beaches, her studies, the Christmas spirit, and the darkness of Sweden.

—From sportas.info

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Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is the 19-year-old athlete’s blog entry, “The Road to Sochi.”

Everything started like this… When I was six or seven years old, my dad started to teach me how to ski on the hill behind the Lazdijai swimming pool. Later we went several times per year to ski in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Of course, we also skied at Liepkalnis.

Continue reading “Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog”

A Mountain Eagle from Liepkalnis forgoes university for the Olympics

Isabella Tobias shed tears of joy this week in Lithuania, but she is not the only winter sports athlete to fulfill her Olympic dream. Alpine skier Ieva Januškevičiutė for a long time didn’t believe that one day she would become an Olympian. However, when the opportunity presented itself, the 19-year-old decided to put aside her university studies, and grab the bull by the horns.

Mindaugas Augustaitis for delfi.lt.
 
Januškevičiutė on course in Latvia
Januškevičiutė on course in Latvia
 

The early story

“When I was little, I dreamt about the Olympics, but only very superficially. It seemed that it simply wasn’t realistic. But now I am very happy to think that my childhood dream will become a reality,” said Januškevičiūtė. Hers is the latest name to be added to the Lithuanian Olympic team list to travel to Sochi next year. She has been working toward an Olympic birth for two seasons. In order to qualify, Januškevičiūtė had to score five results under 140 FIS (International Ski Federation) points. Penalty points are applied according to the difference in time from the race leader.

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Januškevičiutė (right) with teammate Laura Pamerneckytė at an early Kalnu Ereliai training camp in Austria

The Lithuanian has already earned the right to start the slalom competition in Sochi, but she does not intend to be satisfied with that. Until the end of the Olympic selection period for alpine skiing January 20, Januškevičiutė will take part in competitions held in Sweden, Italy, and Slovakia in order to qualify for the Olympic giant slalom event.

According to the Lithuanian skier, earning the right to test her skills against alpine skiing stars like Lindsey Vonn, Tina Maze, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch, will be a double victory because so far no female Lithuanian skier has managed to qualify for the Olympic games. And even more so, because the Vilnius resident spent her childhood not on the slopes of the Alps, but making turns on Liepkalnis ski hill, where it only takes a few seconds to ski from the top to the bottom.

Continue reading “A Mountain Eagle from Liepkalnis forgoes university for the Olympics”

New challenges after Lithuanian championships

On the second day of competition at the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships in Italy, participants had to contend not only with their competitors, but also with the dangers of the course

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info. Translation by Jenn Virškus for kalnuereliai.com

After the awards all the medal winners gathered for a picture
After the awards all the medal winners gathered for a picture

 

The same leaders

The giant slalom competition of the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships were held at the Italian resort of Kronplatz on Thursday where 17-year-old Aivaras Tumas confessed that to win the overall gold medal took not only his skill on the course, but also a lot of luck.

After the first run, Tumas was behind Karolis Janulionis, the 21-year-old winner of the slalom the day before, by .35 seconds. But in the second run, Janulionis skied out of the course—although he did finish—and lost the win.

“I had hoped to be first. Of course, my success was due to Karolis’s crash and I skied both runs calmly,” said Tumas. It is his first Lithuanian overall championship title.
Continue reading “New challenges after Lithuanian championships”

A young alpine skier dreams of the Olympics

Training at International Ski Federation (FIS) camps has helped Ieva Januškevičiūtė to achieve a career-best result

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.infoTranslation by Jenn Virškus for kalnuereliai.com

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Ieva Januškevičiūtė was in a good mood during the winter holidays. The 18-year-old recently achieved the best FIS result of any female Lithuanian alpine skier at competitions in Italy. During FIS races held at the mountain resort of Speikboden, the Lithuanian took 19th place in the Slalom, with a result of 104.7 FIS points—points are calculated by time lost to the winning skier, the smaller the difference, the lower the score. No female Lithuanian alpine skier has ever achieved such a low result.

Up until that race, Januškevičiūtė’s best FIS result was 134.03. It was achieved in Slalom races last February held in the Czech republic.

Januškevičiūtė’s two runs in Speikboden had a combined time of 1:31.00. The winning time of 20-year-old Austrian Valentina Fankauser was 1:20.39. Forty-nine skiers started the race, only 23 finished.

Continue reading “A young alpine skier dreams of the Olympics”

Pre-race training marathon

Lithuanian alpine skiers are training intensively in the Alps for the season’s most important competitions—Lithuanian and World Championships, and other international races.

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.infoTranslation by Jenn Virškus for kalnuereliai.com

Lithuanian alpine skiers in Austria

 

A week in the Alps, a few days at home, and back to the mountains. That’s the kind of rhythm Lithuania’s alpine skiers are living this year, moving between training camps.

Lithuanian national team members Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas were training in Kaprun, Austria, with coach Audrius Santackas and other Ski Club Snow Bees members Oct. 27 – Nov. 5. At the same time, in Hintertux, another Austrian glacier, Anžela and Vytautas Aleksandravičius were working with the young members of their club, Alpiu Aidas—it was the club’s second camp in Austria this fall. On Friday, Lithuanian team members will be on their way back to Kaprun to participate in the European Ski Federation’s fall camp.

The most important races this season for Lithuania’s skiers will be the country’s national championships in Italy Jan. 12 – 19, the European Youth Olympic Festival in Romania in February, and the World Alpine Ski Championships in Solden, Austria, held also at the beginning of February. There will also be several junior/senior and children’s International Ski Federation (FIS) races.

Continue reading “Pre-race training marathon”

From Innsbruck—with experience and excitement

After the Youth Olympic Games, Rokas Zaveckas will continue to compete in international ski races, while Laura Pamerneckyte will return to Lithuania and have to forget about sport until the summer.

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info; Translation by Jenn Virškus for kalnuereliai.com

 

L. Pamerneckytė and R. Zaveckas with Yoggl, the Youth Olympics Games' mascot.
Remembering more than just the race

Lithuanian alpine skiers brought back not only their experience and many gifts, but a lot of excitement from the first Youth Winter Olympic Games held in Innsbruck, Austria.

“I’ve never participated in such an event, and probably never will again. I was most impressed by the fact that it was not only about sports, there was also a cultural aspect. It was unexpected, and most memorable,” said 16-year-old Laura Pamerneckytė.

That was echoed by 15-year-old Rokas Zaveckas, “I spent two very interesting weeks in Innsbruck. I liked both the competition and the cultural program. Continue reading “From Innsbruck—with experience and excitement”

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Laura Pamerneckytė from Innsbruck 2012!

Rokas Zaveckas and Laura Pamerneckytė at the opening ceremonies of Innsbruck 2012

Kalnų Ereliai veteran and member of the Lithuanian National Ski Team Laura Pamerneckytė of Vilnius is in Austria this week for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games. The 16-year-old is one of just six athletes on the Lithuanian team (two alpine skiers, two cross-country skiers, and two biathletes). In Innsbruck, she will compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom competitions. On the eve of her first race, she took a few minutes to catch up with kalnuereliai.com and provide some insight into her experiences at the YOG for our English-speaking fans.

Kalnų Ereliai: What does the experience of participating in YOG mean to you?
Laura Pamerneckytė: It means a lot to me, because I was sent here to represent my country. I think all the Lithuanians here are nice and friendly, so other athletes have a good opinion about us. It just feels so great to be a part of YOG.

KE: What is your first impression of the race hill, and what is your plan for the GS/SL races?
LP: The hill is really good. Hopefully the snow and weather will be fine too. My plan is simply to finish. I’ll try as hard as I can, but there are a lot of strong girls I just can’t compete with. The most important thing is to participate not to win.

KE: What has been the best part of YOG so far?
LP: The best part was opening ceremony! It was a bright and colorful show. It was really interesting despite how cold it was outside. Also in YOG, I have met some really interesting people and made many new friends.

KE: And lastly, what is Yogger? We’ve been hearing a lot about it.
LP: Hmm … Yogger is like a flash drive but with some special functions. Whatever activities you participate in—drumming, listening to a lesson about how to prepare for competition, or how to be a chef—you collect points. When you have enough points you can get prizes like sunglasses or a water-bottle. Rokas [Zaveckas] and I both already got [a water-bottle], and we need only one or two more points to get awesome headphones!

Aciu Laura! Sounds like you’re having a great time. Good luck to you, Rokas, and the rest of the Lithuanian team!