Lutz Klausmann at the Paralympics:
Guidance in Pyeongchang
TUMstudinews: What are your tasks as a guide?
Lutz Klausmann: On the ski track, I lead the way for Nico – to help him find his way – but without direct connection. Nico is visually impaired, with a remaining eye vision of less than five percent. Without my help, he wouldn’t know where the track ends and where the deep snow begins. When it comes to shooting, I only hold his ski poles for him. Apart from that, I have to keep quiet at the shooting range.
How does shooting with impaired vision work?
Nico has a laser rifle, and he wears headphones that transmit an acoustic signal. The closer he gets to the center of the target, the more consistent the signal – similar to the beeping sound of a distance meter in a car.
How long have you been a guide for?
I’ve been a member of the German Paraski-Team for four to five years now. Before Nico, I already trained with two other athletes.
And how did that come about in the first place?
Well, I started cross-country skiing when I was five. One day, a teacher who was also my coach told me about the German Paraski-Team – and so it happened that I helped out as a guide during my Bachelor’s studies in Freiburg.
How long have you been accompanying Nico already?
Since August. After my last exams in the summer semester in Munich, I moved to Freiburg to be able to train for the Paralympics with Nico. We’ve known each other for quite a while now, and we have already been to South Korea and Finland together, for World Cups and training camps.
How often do you train together?
Six to nine times a week. The actual exercise time is about 12 hours per week on average.
How did you qualify for the Paralympics?
We managed to qualify in Canada – meaning that we finished in less than a certain distance of time behind the third place in a World Cup race.
Will this be your first Paralympics together – and when are you going to South Korea?
Yes, we are both taking part for the first time. We’ll be flying on the 4th of March – and our first race will be on the 10th of March.
How will you prepare?
We’ll be staying at the World Cup until Sunday. Afterwards, we’ll be spending 12 days at a training camp in Livigno, Italy. On February 16 and 17, we’ll take part in the German Championships, followed by another training camp in Ridnaun in South Tyrol from the 18th to the 25th of February. In between, we’ll be training in Freiburg.
That sounds very time-consuming. For how much longer do you think you’ll be able to be a guide?
Probably not for very much longer, as I am planning to focus on my professional career from March onwards. However, I want to do cross-country skiing for as long as I can.
(Interview: Verena Pongratz)
Lutz Klausmann (25) was born in Furtwangen in the Black Forest. Currently, he is working on his Master’s thesis – focusing on “Prediction for housing prices using Statistical Learning methods”[RK2]. Nico Messinger (23) was born in Freiburg and has been a biathlete since 2010. In addition to his sport, he works as a car salesman.