This 20-year old sprinter is currently ranked first in her age group and second overall in Germany, and she will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
1. How long have you been athlete? What got you started?
I’ve done sports now for over 10 years. As a child I trained for the multi-event, but I was a bad thrower. After two years of injury, my coach and I decided that, at an age of 16, I should try the 400m sprint. The reason was because I was always fast in the 100 and 200 event, but I was also a good 800m runner. In 2013 I immediately qualified for the U20 (under 20) European Championships in Italy, where we won the bronze medal in the relay. In 2014 I was fourth in the individual event and again we won the bronze medal with the relay at the U20 World Championships in Oregon, USA. In 2015 I changed my coach and now I train with Ullrich Knapp. I feel so blessed to learn from this man and that I finally found a coach who shares the same training philosophy as I. In the 10 years from being a child who has fun participating in track events to a professional track athlete, I learned to always listen to your heart and do what you love.
2. How much time do you spend training per day?
I train every day for two to four hours.
3. What does your typical training routine look like?
Our year has different training periods. The training changes every day, but the weeks are kind of equal. For example, Mondays I have short sprints with block sessions. Tuesdays and Thursdays we do weight lifting and stability work. Wednesdays I have low intense runs – for example 12 times 200m with short recesses. Fridays are the hard sessions where I run for example 3 times 300m, full speed with long recesses. On the weekends I do my endurance run and stretching session compared with stability work.
4. In which competitions do you partake?
I participate in two seasons: the indoor season and the outdoor season. The major season is of course the outdoor season which starts in May. One of the first highlights are the German Championships, the last chance to qualify for the European Championships in Amsterdam. And then comes the Olympics.
5. How can you qualify to go to the Olympics?
To qualify for the Olympics (and also Amsterdam) you have to run a specific time. I had to run the 400 in 52.20 seconds. If more than three athletes run that time, the fastest three are allowed to start at the Olympics. With the relay it’s kind of the same. The fastest five athletes are allowed to be part of the relay. We are ranked nationally in Germany – this indoor season I was ranked first.
6. What are you looking forward to most for the Olympics?
I am really looking forward to gain experience at these Olympics. It is a dream to run against the best athletes in the world. The Olympics is the biggest sports event in the world, and I am really looking forward to compete and learn a lot from other athletes.
7. What is your favorite part about being a sprinter?
I love being a sprinter because I love the feeling of running fast, those 52 seconds when you just think nothing. I love the process. Getting better day by day. Knowing that hard work and patience will always be the right way to get where you want to be. And of course I love the feeling after you got through a hard training.
8. What is the most challenging part about being an athlete?
Managing your life. Last semester was really hard for me. At university you do not get much help. It’s hard when you just gave your best in training and you are tired, but you know you have to attend lectures and of course take exams. The most important thing is to manage your time right.
9. Where do you travel for your sport and why?
Traveling is a part that I love about being an athlete. For competitions in 2013 I traveled to Rieti, Italy. In 2014 I went to Eugene and Salem, Oregon. In 2015 I was in Tallinn, Estonia, and Cape Town, South Africa. I also travel to all the training camps in places like Mallorca, Spain; Lanzarote and Fuerte Ventura, Canaries; and Belek, Turkey. I take part in many training camps, because in warmer areas you can train better. You can focus completely on training and train even more intensely.
10. How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as convertible. I wear what makes me feel like the best version of myself. It is important to me that I feel confident. Sometimes I like a casual look, but I also like to be feminine and classic.
11. What are currently your favorite clothes and accessories for exercising?
I think it is important to feel good and to look good also in training. I love to match the colors together, and I love to wear hairbands in all colors. I also love doing something with my hair. For example for the German Championships I braided my hair. I have many running shoes that I love in many different colors, so I choose them to match my outfit. Currently I love loud orange and purple in training.
12. Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest role model in sports is Alleyson Felix. For me Allyson has an aura. She is an inspiration, and I like her calm nature. She is just really authentic, and I love her style of running.
13. What is your mantra?
In an interview Sanya Richards (four-time Olympic Champion) was asked what she would recommend to a 19-year-old Sanya from her point of view now. She said, “Be patient and stay focused. Good things come to those who wait.” This sentence touched my heart, and I knew I was on the right way.