You are currently viewing Harald Rodlauer talks about saying goodbye to the Polish ladies’ team and discusses Twardosz, Konderla, and his new coaching mission in Italy
Harald Rodlauer (fot. Julia Piątkowska)

Harald Rodlauer talks about saying goodbye to the Polish ladies’ team and discusses Twardosz, Konderla, and his new coaching mission in Italy

Described by many as one of the best coaches in women’s ski jumping, Harald Rodlauer didn’t manage to achieve a significant improvement in the Polish female ski jumpers’ performance level. The Austrian was their head coach for less than a year, but the only athlete who earned a few World Cup points during that time was Anna Twardosz. The expectation of achieving better results remained unfulfilled and an internal conflict with Nicole Konderla exacerbated the situation. This was also among the reasons why Rodlauer decided to refrain from coaching the Polish jumpers and he’s moved on to a new challenge as the head coach of the Italian ladies’ team.

 

Bartosz Leja: What was the reason of your resignation from the position of the head coach of Polish ladies team?

Harald Rodlauer: The reason for my resignation was that, although it was difficult for me to admit, that the expectations and the implementation of the goals for the next two years were not possible. By that I mean that the girls lacked a lot of foundation. We, the whole team, had invested a lot last season to bring in a structure and a system. The girls first had to understand and learn that it is hard work and that you have to be 100% professional, both at work and in lifestyle. But this is not a criticism of my former girls, they never learned or were exemplified by this.

When you look at the Polish Team, do you see some potential in these girls and the possibility to become solid World Cup athletes in a few years? Or would you say that there is a much longer way to go to reach good results?

Yes, I definitely see that, but it will certainly take a few years, but I didn’t have that time, according to my feeling. There are girls in this team who have potential, but they still have a lot to learn, especially in terms of their mental approach and professionalism. They learned and embraced a lot last season, but it takes time.

What is the main problem for ladies’ ski jumping in Poland?

I see it in the fact that in recent years, of the focus was always on individual athletes and it seemed to be forgotten that a well-functioning team is needed. When I started last year, I was told over and over again that the girls wouldn’t sit at the same table, and even trained at different times and places. That’s why my team and I changed that aspect right from the start and brought in a team structure. The feedback was very good and I heard again and again, something like that had never been seen that in the last few years, that the team would start in competitions and train together. These were very positive comments towards our team.

Anna Twardosz was the leader of Polish Team last season. What is the potential of her as an athlete? How far is she from regularly earning points in the World Cup?

Anna has taken a huge step and was surprised by it herself. Previously, people believed in her to a small extent or not at all and she was not being supported for a while because of her high body weight. She had to learn that she also has self-worth and can showcase it. Unfortunately, her development was not realized by many people and the only thing people always talked or wrote about was the fact that she had only scored some World Cup points twice. But what people didn’t take into consideration was where she stood at the beginning of our work. If she were to consistently continue on this path from now on, above all, in the mental area, then she will have some really good opportunities in the next few years. I also wish this for her because she is a great person in terms of her character.

You’ve had also Pola Bełtowska and Natalia Słowik in your team. Are they highly talented athletes or do they still need a lot of work to even reach Anna’s level?

Both athletes have very good basic potential. I don’t think they’re that far away from Anna, except they’re a few years younger. The next few years will show whether they will continue with what we have passed on to them. By that I mean doing everything they can for their work. In any case, both of them still need time and a calm environment for their development.

At this moment, we have some really little young girls who jump on skis. We have been trying to improve the level of ladies’ ski jumping in Poland for many years. However, we still don’t have any top results. What should the Polish Ski Association  do to improve this?

They should support Marcin and Stefan for the next few years and also give them the time to be able to implement a longer-term project.

What was the reason of your misunderstandings with Nicole Konderla? What can you tell us about her as an athlete?

There was no misunderstanding on our part, by which I mean my entire team, she just didn’t want to work with my team and with me. She rejected everything and had no confidence in us at all. She only wanted to work with Łukasz Kruczek and that’s what she did. We have invested a lot in her from the beginning, but nothing was accepted by her, except at the beginning. I think she saw from the beginning that she was being treated equally and didn’t have a special status in the team. That must have been the biggest problem for her. Therefore, it was not possible to work with her and she also did not want to cooperate.

There were some rumors about Kamila Karpiel’s comeback. She told me that it is possible. Do you think she could get back to the level she was at before she quit ski jumping few years ago?

Yes, I got in touch with Kamila and also met her in person at the beginning of April. She is a very nice person and I think that if it will be possible for her to come back, she will be able to achieve good results again. It won’t be easy, but with Marcin and Stefan, she would have very good people to work with, who know her and would support her well.

Can you confirm that you will be the head coach of the Italian ladies’ team? And what are your goals and plans for this team?

Yes, in the future, I will work with the Italian Ski Federation and take over the position of head coach of the women. My team includes my former assistant coach Romed Moroder, Zeno di Lenardo, Theresa Koren, and Alois Hasibether, among others. It is a great challenge for all of us, the girls are at a good level and therefore, the demands of the Ski Federation are also very high with regard to the 2026 Olympic Games with the ski jumping competitions in Predazzo.

 

Anna Libera, Bartosz Leja

 

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