Image: GEPA pictures
The Austrians Louisa Altenhuber / Valentina Cavallar made an emotional debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday. On Altenhuber's 26th birthday, the two did not get past fifth place among six boats in the run-up to the lightweight rowing double, but will now do everything they can in the hope race on Sunday (3.30 a.m. CEST), one of the six open semifinals -Spaces to reach.
The dream goal is a top ten position, i.e. at least fourth place in the B final. “I can analyze it rationally or emotionally. Rationally, I think we started very well, we showed a good first 500. Then maybe I wanted a little too much, I got technically unclean. Then we might have a bit of each other lost. And if you have lost touch, it will be difficult at the back, “analyzed Altenhuber.
But it was still a good start, you know what to do better. The conditions were difficult. “The wind changes, at the start it comes in from the side. Under the bridge it suddenly changes to a headwind. We are clearly at a disadvantage because the other combinations have been together for five years. We have been for six months. Us there is no racing experience. ” You have to find solutions how you can stay together, as a team, over the two kilometers in one racing stroke number.
One was very nervous, it was all incredibly exciting, Altenhuber explained. “Valentina is twenty. Hats off to how she does it. At the start I thought for a moment, maybe she'll jump out of my boat, but no, she's been boozy.” Cavallar confirmed the nervousness that not everything went as smoothly as in the days before during the warm-up. “But by and large we managed this first dress rehearsal here very well. There is still a lot to be improved.”
It is super cool to be able to compete with the top nations. “We knew that we could beat the Argentines. We dutifully fulfilled that,” said Altenhuber. In order to then get emotional when asked about the special experience for the birthday. “A huge, huge gift that I gave myself to be here. What we have achieved is a sensation. We are at the start for Austria, we are the exotic ones in the field. Huge rowing nations like the Poles, the Germans.” “Chinese people, they all have to watch from home. And we're allowed to ride here. It's wonderful.”
Now it is important to recover quickly, Cavallar immediately set the focus. “These cool-down strategies are more important than in any other race. Because the heat takes longer to regenerate. We have to see that we can do it well and have fresh legs tomorrow.”