Source: Andreas Rabel / 02.02.16 / OTZ / OTZ online
Robert Förstemann ends the season after the Berlin Sixdays. The 29-year-old from Gera is taking some time off – and then wants to take off again with a view to the 2020 Olympic Games.
Berlin. Robert Förstemann makes his last laps. For now. After the six-day race in Berlin, it’s over. The 29-year-old from Gera ends the season – prematurely. Too much went wrong this winter – the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will run without him. “That’s a tough thing to admit to yourself,” he says.
Förstemann pulls the ripcord, as he puts it, takes some time off, three maybe four months. “Basically, I’m starting from scratch again,” he says. His three-year-old son Noah will notice that his dad is now home much more often than usual. “Yes, that’s what I’m looking forward to. To spending time with the family.”
For the past eleven years he has lived for track cycling, but probably demanded too much from his body. “I went from race to race without a break. Always full steam, always full throttle.” And as long as things were going uphill, the performance was right, the records were tumbling, the medal collection was growing, that was all fine. But this season, he said, he “invested one hundred and fifty percent – and nothing came of it.” Not even stagnation, no, performance actually declined.
After missing out on Olympic qualification – he was part of the bronze-winning team sprint trio in London in 2012 – he questioned everything and everyone – and drew consequences. “I haven’t been working with Emanuel Raasch for two weeks,” he says, putting a lot of emphasis on the point: Raasch is not the bogeyman for a missed Olympic qualification. “I owe a lot to Emu. I worked with him successfully for years, we set world records and won titles.”
Förstemann is looking for a new sprint coach
He can’t undo anything, “but I’m not one to bury my head in the sand either.” He looks ahead. He wants to have his body checked from top to bottom. “I’ve been dragging around a few ailments for years. Now I finally want to get everything in order.” In the next few months, he will think carefully about what to do next with track sprinter Förstemann – who will be his new sprint coach, whether he will continue to live in Berlin. “I have several options, but nothing is ready to go. I’m taking my time to plan it all out.” Once that’s settled, he wants to go through another four years. “I haven’t achieved all I can achieve for a long time,” he says. “And I know what I can do. I know I can.” And that’s what the native of Greiz wants to show – with an eye on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Berliner-by-choice does not have to look for a new athletics coach. A little over a year ago, when a slipped disc threw him off track at the athlete competition in Baden-Baden, Raasch arranged for him to find a new fitness coach. One who switched strength training after herniating a disc just before Christmas 2014. “Johannes Lukas taught me a completely new technique for squats, for example. I’m now back to the loads I lifted before the slipped disc. But I have neither knee nor back pain,” says Förstemann.
But in the coming weeks he will probably not be seen much in the weight room. “Sure I’m going to exercise, keep fit.” But he also wants to do things that are fun, that take his mind off things, that give his overworked body a rest. He wants to learn to ski, bike cross-country, skydive – and return to the track full steam ahead after his time off.