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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Slovakia FIS races & LT champ 2011

On Monday morning, January 3rd I left to Slovakia and Italy for two weeks . I was thrilled to come in Slovakia for 2xGS and 2xSL FIS races in Liptovska Teplicka.

That  week in Slovakia I, Ieva J., Laura, Marcele, Kasparas and Aivaras lived somewhere in slovakian forests separated from civilization. At least we expected to meet there lithuanians, and it happend. Just we reached our destination, our eyes caught a car with LT number . Here exactly fits this sentence : ”It happens when you least expect it”.

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White Circus

Well, a lot of time passed, when I wrote… It’s kind of busy time for me now ;D  For such a long time I been rushing so much to get everywhere on time.. and I did , but only thing that I’m quite tired! Anyway, I’m enjoying this lifestyle and I could use to it if in future I get a chance to travel so much!!!!!! In those past months I been to Liptovska Teplicka (Slovakia), Civetta(Italy), Karlov pod Pradedem(CZE) and finally to Lysa Gora (Poland)!!!

Read more…. .

Results from Kaprun are in!

As always (and as it should be!) Kalnu Ereliai skiers are on top of the Lithuanian podium!

Kasparas Pajaraskas, 16, and Aivaras Tumas, 15, proved to be strong competition for the men in the season opener in Austria, taking overall podium positions in both the SL and GS races, along with teammate Algimantas Milašius, 18.  This is a great start to the season for Tumas, who makes his FIS (International Ski Federation) competition debut this year.

On the women’s side, KE skiers Marcele Kuliešiutė, 16, Ieva Januškevičiutė, 16, Ieva Urbonavičiutė, 17, and Laura Pamerneckytė,15, show the depth of talent of the KE women’s team. They took the top 4 positions in SL, and the top 3 in GS, their times separated by less than one second.  Pamerneckytė who will also make her FIS debut this year, did not finish the GS, but showed her talent in the SL finishing 5th in the overall rankings (women and men).

While most of the participants in Kaprun return to Lithuania this week, the Lithuanian national team stacked with Kalnu Ereliai skiers heads to Schladming, Austria for a two week camp sponsored by the newly formed ESF (European Ski Federation). Pajarskas, Tumas, Januškevičiutė, Urbonavičiutė, Kuliešiutė and Pamerneckytė will be joined by Karolis Janulionis, 18, along with Lithuanian National Team Coach Audrius Santackas, and KE Club Director Miroslavas Urbonavičius. These three weeks will be the longest time KE skiers have spent in Austria, and despite having to keep up with their school work long-distance, the kids are enjoying the experience. Trainings include SL and GS gate work and freeskiing with Austrian national team coaches on the World Cup slope, physical conditioning and video analysis.

The team will return to Lithuania at the end of November, and have a few weeks at home before leaving again in mid-December for a camp sponsored by the FIS in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, ahead of the 2011 FIS World Ski Championships.

Check out all the results from the LKSF taurė/sezono atidarymas, in Kaprun, Austria here!!