News - 4th January 2017: Kira Walkenhorst and the "unique moment"

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DORTMUND the success of gold on Copacabana beach is your personal summer fairy tale. Together with Laura Ludwig (30), Kira Walkenhorst (26) dredged at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to Olympic champions in beach volleyball. With Jordan Mallon said the Essenerin over the high point of her career, that agonizing time before and about the winter means for their sport.

Congratulations! You have been awarded recently Laura Ludwig in the election for Germany's athletes of the year named team of the year. Do youhave even an overview of the many honors in 2016?

Thank you. There's quite a bit coming together. Now has the wardrobe, inwhich otherwise many gym clothes hang some clothes and suits advanced (laughs). Our year was very successful, but each ceremony itself is just aspecial moment.

They occur together with Laura Ludwig. "Ludwig/Walkenhorst" is now firmly anchored in the parlance. Why are you both the perfect team and so successful?

I believe that we are athletic seen very much on the same wavelength. That we give both always full throttle and 100 percent. On the field we complement each other perfectly. And we always have one goal in mind: as we have joined together four years ago, we have said that we will invest everything to achieve a good result at the Olympic Games 2016.

As was it in the beginning with you? Laura Ludwig was already a big name in beach volleyball. How was it that you were able to play on their side?

Laura has 2012, after she had played with Sara Goller in London and it was clear that Sara would stop, called me and asked if we can meet. She asked me if I could imagine to play with her. For me, it was immediately clearthat I will take the step. Then we met in Hamburg and wanted a team of trainers, management and Medical Department. We have held many talksand everyone wanted it and were motivated. So it has begun and over time it has become a really strong team.

Laura Ludwig plays since 1999 in the sand, is four years older than you and was Beachvolleyballerin of the year four times. You feel something in the shadows of the big stars there sometimes?

In the beginning, it was definitely so. I went to the team relationship Yesalso very inexperienced. But I was lucky to have so many experienced people on my side, Laura and the whole team that I just could find me quickly in the professional business. In the past four years we have approachedus well. I have very much to learn and know absolutely appreciate it, to have all of my page. Laura cannot accept much responsibility even in pressure situations and is simply the world's best player in my eyes. But ultimately, we are only as strong as a team, as everyone on the field is, and we both have our share because, whether we win or lose.

How's it going off the pitch? With so many training sessions and meetings - can see themselves at some point even? It's almost like when a married couple.

(laughs) Yes, that's already a good comparison. Only, that you otherwiseYes can choose his spouse. With us, the choice on each other has fallen, because we have said we can succeed athletic together. But we're not bestfriends, we say yes anyway. If we train twice a day or are on tour, not even in the evening we meet and do yet little time together. Then, we use a few time, we have to see other friends or the partners. But there are approximately 250 days a year, that we are on the road and travel together. Youdoing together much of course off the pitch.

By 2013 they have played parallel still in the Hall - first in the Bundesliga, later in Herne in the Regionalliga. Why has it taken so long until you havedecided for the sand?

If you play beach volleyball, you get no fixed salary other than in the Hall.In the Hall, you play at a Club and get your money with which you can plan. In the sand you invested once, until you eventually gaining sponsors and prize money and even money. I played at that time in Leverkusen in the League, because I started there training as a physiotherapist. She took then almost 500 euros a month, I had to somehow muster and therefore -even though I already knew, that I want to - go towards sand I played in the first League, until I 2012 had my education finished.

They've gone after your training sport soldier. What does this mean for you?

When I started in the sand and no salary got more out of the Hall, the Bundeswehr was the first supporter, which I had, and which has allowed meto play internationally. A large sum on one comes there with flights, accommodation, and coach.

Because it influences your training?

We have a training course, which lasts four to eight weeks every two years. As we make further US soldier. However, we are otherwise totally exempted from the Bundeswehr and send our training plan there once in a month. Once or twice a year, there is still a refresher course in the barracks,where we are stationed. But that was then already.

The way to Olympic gold was rocky. 2014 and 2015 there was a break in cooperation with Laura Ludwig. You were suffering from glandular fever.

It was already a great slap in the face. Not only for me, but the entire team. After the diagnosis, I knew that there would come a long break on me:six months nothing to do no physical activity. Everything in the hope thatI would be really fully efficient after that. That was with the uncertainty, because one could not exactly say whether I would be again really healthy,a very lengthy and caustic time. I had luck, that was my whole team behind me and said I should take the time. They were waiting for me and we got back together in the Olympic qualifiers.

But it was not yet...

End of December I could start again to train. But then I injured myself inpreparation for the first tournament at the knee. I've had a knee operation early 2015, my sixth overall, remove the meniscus me. Previously, he was been sewn ever, but the seam was torn up again. You would have sewed again - it was not clear whether it would hold - the Olympic qualifiers would have been three, four months break away definitely. But that was not the debate. At that time, I felt a significant time pressure, it was only tobe fit as soon as possible. Even though you will perhaps have more problems in a few years without meniscus, as if you had made him. Three weeks after the surgery I was playing my first tournament back pause after total a year.

We tick off the ugly chapter. by 2015, they were then 2016 Olympic and European champion. With "Ludwig/Walkenhorst - the road to gold", a documentary film has appeared early December to your gold triumph in Rio.


How happy are you that you can experience the probably best event ever again in your career?

Very happy. When I saw the film for the first time, it was a tingling feeling. The gold so outweighed in Rio, that one the year not more so really had bad time - before - on the screen. When we said to the footage at that time, you had no idea which way it would go. Having his sports highlight video now with this end, this is a great feeling. We always like to seethat. I don't know how it will be if one time is to look back in 10 or 20 years.

What is it better? The Olympic victory on television again to look at, or to have experienced him live in sand?

(laughs) This is difficult. I can not exactly say that. Of course, the momentwas unique in Rio. However, looking at the success now with the necessary understanding of what you did. I was in Rio Yes not even on the screen,which had assumed that for a range. I had also never really understood that I had fulfilled my childhood dream. Much more understanding now is to see that. It seems more real. But both are very, very nice.

In the film, you saw you together with your partner Maria Kannarayil. Notall athletes to openly deal with their homosexuality. What have you donefor experiences?

I've had no bad experiences so far. Last, I was increasingly addressed andasked if I had thought about not to show our relationship in the film. ButI have not thought about. Me so to me and sexuality so as for anyone else who is heterosexual, one also. And that I have had no bad experiences and know all my family and friends about it, that's no problem. I'm so although not peddling, but to hide it and to adjust me? No, I know not why.

Back to sports: more than eight million people have followed your gamesin Rio in the television. How much, you feel, is now left of theenthusiasm?

A little this decreases of course again and again. That's clear. But I'm amazed how many people actually still track that and also on the street recognize me. Even when we were last at honors: how many messages we always got following from people who have pleased with us and congratulates us. That was already insane. I hope only for the sport that suspends theenthusiasm and more people start to play in the leisure industry and more people will come to the tournaments. The sport may become generallymore popular.

There was also a setback: until 2024 there will be no live coverage of the Olympic Games on television with ARD and ZDF. Are you afraid that the stage is taken sports like your?

Yes, Olympic course so far was the big stage for all kinds of sports whichare not soccer media to present themselves. That's of course very bad forus athletes. No matter what sport you do, they invest a lot and works hard. Even if you're in a sport, which can track the people not in the television football. It is a great pity if now the only highlight off breaks, where youcan show the people, what one has developed the past few years. Also for many viewers who have pleased always on Olympics, to see some othersports.

We are just Middle winter. What does that mean for aBeachvolleyballerin?

(laughs) Actually it is a bit pale because you train not out on some beautiful beaches. We work much in Hamburg in the beach Hall, because athletic training is on the agenda. However I have started already, to plan the first training camp. Then it goes back in the Sun so that we can train reallyout there. That's quite a difference, whether you train on the beach or in the beach Hall under laboratory conditions.

Currently, Laura Ludwig is on the shoulder hurt and must pause. She make it to the first tournament on 7 February in Fort Lauderdale?

No, it will be the only tournament that I'm going to play with a different partner. Laura is previously though again slowly can start to train, but thatwill be too early for a tournament. In may, when most tournaments, Laurashould be fit again so that we be beat up again together.

Entering the August 2017 the World Championship in Vienna - such a medal is missing in your collection.

It is very fitting for us that this year directly the World Cup is approaching. You can hear Yes again and again, that athletes after great successes a little tension lose or fall into a hole. Our big goal is a medal inVienna. It was immediately clear, after we decided to go on in this constellation. We also open Yes a score to settle. The last World Championship ran with the 17th place definitely not so, as we have imagined that. We want our first world championship medal, for this we will give full throttle.






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