The coach of the Russian women’s biathlon team, Wolfgang Pichler, says his current charges have more potential that those he trained while working with Sweden.
“Russian girls are more talented than the Swedish,” Pichler told the Russian Biathlon Union’s official website. “I am proud of my work with Sweden – we had little money, but we were able to achieve success through hard training. The Russian team is composed of very talented biathletes and the doors of this team are opened to all. I think that before Sochi [2014 Winter Games], we’ll be able to find two or three athletes who can be called super-talents. I am sure that such a large country just has to have super-athletes. We already have a very talented team, but it is not the limit.”
Pichler trained the Swedish six-time world champion, Magdalena Forsberg and, after she retired, the German took over both the Swedish men’s and women’s teams.
He joined Russia in May 2011, with RBU turning to a foreign trainer after a failure at the home World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk.
“I am stunned by how well we communicate within the Russian team. Of course, it is impossible to achieve an absolutely perfect relationship with each athlete over just four months, but I feel that all the girls trust me. And that’s the most important thing. We have a common attitude. I can’t say in advance how successful we’ll be, but do we have the true team spirit,” the specialist.
“The coach of male and female teams is two different professions. It’s not only work, but understanding what women need. They think differently than men, so it is necessary to change the approach to training and be able to motivate even in the most difficult moments. There are physiological differences too – the hormones, the menstrual cycle. Some days women are just crazy and, in order not to spoil anything, I simply run away from them at these moments,” he added.
And it’s not only talent and the ability to work hard that Pichler cherishes in his charges.
“The media has changed the sport – you need to not only win, but look good and be interesting. We have a very beautiful team and we need to present it properly. My friend pointed out that the Russian team has some very beautiful girls. The world needs to see the new Russia’s national team – opened to the world, beautiful and capable of winning,” the coach enthused.
The upcoming Russian summer biathlon championship, which kicks off in Ufa on September 22, will be the German’s first test with his new team.