Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 3

Alpine skier Ieva Januškevičiutė: On Vanessa Mae, the positive power of music, conversations with her family, and relaxing before the race

From sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Ieva likes to be alone before the race.
Ieva likes to be alone before the race.

Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is the 19-year-old skiers third blog post, “The Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Hello! The Olympic games are getting closer. I will go to Sochi on Feb. 6. Until that time, I’ll be in Italy; I’ll travel back to Lithuania on Feb. 4 or 5. But before that, I still have a few races.

GIANT SLALOM

At a race in Slovenia I finally achieved Olympic giant slalom qualification. Therefore in Sochi I’ll be able to race in both the slalom and the giant slalom. The famous violinist Vanessa Mae also started the race in Slovenija. It wasn’t the first time that we’d met at a race. Personally, I don’t know her, but we’ve said hello to each other.

Continue reading “Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 3”

Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 2

Alpine skier Rokas Zaveckas: On catching the Olympic spirit two years ago, his secret fears, containing his excitement, and his friends

From sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Rokas meets friends from the FIS camp at a race in Germany.
Rokas meets friends from the FIS camp at a race in Germany.

Rokas Zaveckas will start the men’s Olympic alpine skiing events on Feb. 7. This is the 17-year-old’s second Olympic blog post, “the Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here.

After the holidays at home, my dad and I got back on the road. I started races in Austria and Germany.

Like always, on the eve of the competition, we discuss our expectations, and which tactics to use. Should I put all my effort into the first run, or would I get too tired, should I risk more on the second, and so forth.
Continue reading “Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 2”

Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 2

Alpine skier Ieva Januškevičiūtė writes her second Olympic blog post about the holiday at home, traveling to Italy with her alpine equipment and an impressive slackline workout (video)

From sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Ieva demonstrates the splits on the slackline.
Ieva demonstrates the splits on the slackline.

Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is her second blog post for “The Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here.

So I’m headed back to Italy. I got to spend about two weeks in Lithuania. I came back from Sweden on Christmas Eve. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family at my grandmother’s in Šilutė. The last thing I wanted to do was drive 300 kilometers to Šilutė after the long trip from Sweden, but I did really want to see my grandmother. It was fun to celebrate Christmas. I spent the rest of my vacation in Vilnius, it was good to meet up with old friends. But it was so sad to see Lithuania with almost no snow at Christmas. As a result, I wasn’t able to get any ski training in here.
Continue reading “Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog, part 2”

Road to Sochi: An Olympic blog

Alpine skier Rokas Zaveckas: On a great childhood, learning to dance, security in Sochi, his mother’s cooking, and reading on the road

From sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
 
Rokas's life is inseparable from the mountains.
Rokas’s life is inseparable from the mountains.

Rokas Zaveckas is the primary candidate to represent Lithuania in one month—Feb. 7—in the men’s Olympic alpine skiing events. This is the 17-year-old’s first entry in the “Road to Sochi” blog.

Sometimes they say, that serious athletes don’t have a real childhood or adolescence. It’s not true. My childhood was one of the best there can be. Without sport, I wouldn’t have had those experiences.

Of course, there wasn’t a lot of free time, but that was only in the winter, because after the trips I had to get serious about my studies. In the sumer, there was kite surfing, sailing, and wakeboarding. Everything was about sports. I can’t sit still.
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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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After a storm on the race course, a quiet Christmas

Eleven starts in 15 days. After such a race series in Sweden, Rokas Zaveckas set under the Christmas tree a spectacular Christmas gift—an Olympic qualification.

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info
Rokas training in Argentina
Rokas training in Argentina

For the past half year, 17-year-old Rokas Zaveckas has been like a guest in his own house. From a camp at the end of June on an Austrian glacier, the road to the Sochi Olympics took the skier from Vilnius to South America for two months. There he participated in an International Ski Federation (FIS)-sponsored training camp in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, and also started 11 races in Argentina and Chile.

Upon his return to Europe, the skier spent just a couple of weeks in his birthplace before leaving again. This time, a month of training in the Alps. In the three weeks before Christmas, Zaveckas was absorbed in a race marathon in Sweden, where he reached his most important career goal—Olympic slalom and giant slalom qualification standards.

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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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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.
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For the favorites, bad weather was not a problem

Tough winter conditions for the Lithuanian Alpine Ski Championship slalom meant that not all competitors made it to the finish line

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

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On course, Ieva Januškevičiūtė. More pics available on the original article’s site.

I came, I saw, I conquered. That’s how the Lithuanian Alpine Ski Championship slalom competition, which took place in the Italian resort of Kronplatz, can be titled for Ieva Januškevičiūtė. The 17-year-old arrived in Kronplatz only on the eve of the race, but no one could equal her in the overall results for the women and she ranked third among all championship participants. Only the men’s pre-race favorites, Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas, had a clear advantage over her.
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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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