What's up: Charged with positive energy and emotion
Marton Kekesi’s dream will come true next month. The Hungarian student will compete at Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang. The Alpine skier, a sports science student, is looking forward to race together with the stars of his sport. The 22-years old athlete speaks about his expectations and about his way to combine his sport and study.
You’ll be a member of Hungarian Olympic team during the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What did you think after your nomination?
It was overwhelmed with intense feelings. Happiness, excitements, satisfaction, gratitude. I have never felt this way. I am proud to be able to represent my home country, Hungary. As I am such a Hungarian racer, who learnt the sport basically here in Hungary, in Bankut, with a Hungarian coach, my father, I think people should also recognize that I am trying to prove that there is no impossible, if one works hard for what he/she wants to achieve.
How do you prepare yourself for the Olympic competitions in February?
It starts long before. I have spent many days training and racing on snow, even during the Summer. However, I have a very keen conditional training program as well, including virtually every day. My technical and physical preparation is directed by the highly recognized experts. They have prepared Olympic and World champions before. Also, as I study sports science at the University of Physical Education in Budapest, I am also contributing with my relevant knowledge and conscience to the professionally designed preparation program.
What are you looking for to experience in Pyeongchang?
I have taken part in world championships and also in a youth Olympic games and in an Olympic festival, so I am no stranger to this high level sporting event. Being together, and even competing with the top racers, the world stars of alpine skiing is a tremendous chance. I can get charged with a lot of positive energy and emotion. It reinforces my motivation. Also, it is a great chance to see the best racers in action next to me. It is the best way to improve techniques.
In Pyeongchang you’ll compete with the fastest and most successful athletes in your sport. Who is your role model? What makes him outstanding?
My role model used to be Bode Miller of the US Ski Team. However, he has now retired. I love his excellence in difficult situation, and his special skiing technique. I was also impressed with his calmness and strict concentration at the start. I do not particularly like his personal manners, but I am trying to act like him on the course. I used to be called “BodeMarci” when I was a young racer, which however did not impress the great super star, when I had the chance to talk to him at a world championship venue…
In 2012 you competed in Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Therefore you made your first Olympic experiences some years ago. How do you look back at these races and how were they different to “normal” races?
The Olympic games are a really different category. It is not just racing, it is more representing the country. All the racers feel it and in this feeling they are forming a virtual big sporting family. I love to be one in this community. I also enjoy the special attention this event generates.
You lived some years in Japan and started to ski there. What are the differences between Hungarian and Japanese skiing?
I lived in Japan when I was only of the kindergarten age. So for me it was just the beginning. That time I was not a racer yet, but my father tried to treat me as a real would be racer. We were skiing there every week end on the most difficult courses too, in big snow as well. There were some really good skiers around us always, so my father could consult all the technical details with the, Japanese sportsmen are more conscientious about the sport. They are trying to improve everything and always to perfection. This is what we also like to do.
Your father was an Alpine skier, too. How did he support you on your way to Pyeongchang?
My father was my only coach from 1998 - when I started skiing seriously (in Japan) - until 2010, when I started to participate at the regular international training and racing camp program for junior racers supported by the International Ski Federation (FIS). My father created the Bankut Ski Racing Team and coached some other kids of my age. He made serious sporting fun for us. We used to train a lot in Bankut, at home and in Slovakia. I grew up at the Slovak Cup races. During the FIS Camp years, other coaches from Italy were working with me, but my father continued to be my personal coach until the end of my U18 age in 2013. So, I learned basically everything from my father, who is a passionate ski expert and a university professor. That is why he used to analyse all my turns with the skis. During the last four years, however - by participating in a special program organized by the Hungarian Ski Federation - I am guided by internationally recognized professional coaches. They are building on the heritage from my father and improving my skills further. My father is still always available for me to discuss matters and analyse technique over the internet or over the phone, or occasionally when we have the chance to ski together.
You study, too. How do you connect high performance sports and your work at university?
Yes, I study at the University of Physical Education in Budapest. This is very important for me and I enjoy being a regular student at a serious study program. Actually, my active sporting and my studies are linked. These two fields are in synergy. I also use what I have learned now for my own sporting. The University understands my sports obligations, but requires that I fulfil also my academic duties. So far it was possible. I have all the credits required according to the normal study program.
What are your goals for the future? What do you want to achieve in sports and at university?
I love sports science too. This is part of my life. Anyway, I am studying to become a PE teacher, but I want to continue studying and racing to become a professional ski coach too. I would also like to pass my knowledge and experience on to others. I am keen on all sports. I also love extreme windsurfing and tennis. Occasionally I enjoy snowboarding too. Although I have limited time to do anything else but training and racing or studying for the university.
The author Márton Kékesi studies sports science at the University of Physical Education in Budapest (HUN).
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