Introducing Members of FIS Athletes’ Commission: Jan Schmid (NOR)
Jan, congratulations for your election to the FIS Athletes' Commission as Nordic Combined representative. To start with, can you tell us, who is Jan Schmid?
Jan Schmid: I was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, but my parents are Swiss. I have a younger brother, Tommy, who's also a Nordic Combined athlete, and a sister. When I was six years old, I tried Nordic Combined for the first time, inspired by watching Matti Nykänen on TV. At the age of 16, I got my first international start in the Alpencup for Switzerland. At 23, after the Olympics in Torino, I changed nationality and became a Norwegian citizen. Having lived in Norway my entire life, growing up among Norwegian kids and training with the Norwegians it just felt more natural starting for Norway. What fascinates me most about Nordic Combined is the challenging combination of speed/power and endurance. Also, by doing two different sports, training never gets boring as there is a natural change in pace throughout the year.
You are athletes' spokesperson for Nordic Combined. From your point of view, what's your main task?
Jan Schmid: When I first heard about the Athletes Commission elections, all I knew was that such a commission had existed for a few years, without it ever actually accomplishing much. I wasn't wild about being elected just to have my name on a paper, so I see it as my goal to try and change that gradually. I want the athletes to know that if they come to me with issues, I will try and bring these issues to the people it concerns. Our Commission doesn't have any legislative power in the specific disciplines in FIS, so all I can hope to do for my sport is to lobby the Nordic Combined Committee from the athletes' point of view. On a broader scale, we hope to bring some general athlete issues to the table as well. I guess the main goal is to establish the FIS Athletes' Commission as a recognized and respected body within FIS.
When your tenure is over in four years, what should we say about Jan Schmid?
Jan Schmid: I hope that I will be remembered as a spokesperson that was objective and easy to talk to, and that took suggestions and complaints seriously.
Do you think that your position changes with this election among the FIS Nordic Combined athletes?
Jan Schmid: We are a competitive sport and I don't think this election is going to change anything about my position within the group of athletes. Results still influence the hierarchy the most, and it's much easier to be taken seriously and be heard if you have the results to back you up. That being said, I'm going to fulfill my duties no matter how things go on the sporting level.
What are your goals as an athlete?
Jan Schmid: At the moment my goal is the Olympics in Vancouver where I want to be a part of the team that hopefully wins the team event. The next goal after that will be the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships at home in Oslo, where I want to be a medal contender.
Some former athletes have made a second career as officials of International Federations or the IOC, such as Pernilla Wiberg, Manuela Di Centa or Sergej Bubka. Could you imagine following in their footsteps?
Jan Schmid: Why not? It's not something that I've thought a lot about, but I think these positions need objective and rational people that know their sports, and I think it's very important that some of them have a background as athletes. Personally I'd like to spend some years after my career as coach; it seems very fulfilling to help others progress and achieve their goals.
Contributed by Egon Theiner