About USA training for World Cup success?: New silver bullet for track and field athletes splits Germany


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About USA training for World Cup success?
New silver bullet for track and field athletes divides Germany

Out of Germany, into the top training groups in the USA. What is successful for sprinter Gina Lückenkemper also works for decathlete Leo Neugebauer. Both will now start at the national championships before the World Cup – under the skeptical observation of the head coach.

The road to success is long, so many German track and field hopes for the World Championships have recently passed through America. Like the decathlete Leo Neugebauer, who is number one in his discipline worldwide so far this year. Or sprint European champion Gina Lückenkemper, for whom the German championships this weekend in Kassel are an important station towards the World Cup. From August 19th to 27th the highlight of the season is coming up in Budapest.

Then the new German record holder Neugebauer will at least start as a co-favourite. He sees his conditions at the University of the Texan capital Austin as the main reason for the performance explosion to 8836 points. The 23-year-old opted for a sports scholarship in the USA in 2020. “I get optimal support here. The concentration of housing, sports facilities, study conditions and medical care on one campus is simply special and brings many advantages for my training and my performance,” explained Neugebauer again recently in the magazine “Leichtathletik”.

He receives regular physiotherapy and medical supervision, and thanks to the scholarship he has no financial burdens. His day is strictly scheduled, Neugebauer gets up at half past five, trains twice and completes his business studies at the same time. Many of his athletics colleagues in Germany also know such hard days. But many of them have to sacrifice several hours every day to drive to training.

German athletics “inhibit themselves”

Double European champion Gina Lückenkemper – German champion for the first time seven years ago in Kassel – went to a top-class training group in the USA for the first time in 2019. Almost with a bit of fear, as she recently revealed on Sky. But she hasn’t regretted it, because she can learn an incredible amount from training with Olympic champions and world record holders – including their willpower. The 26-year-old Westphalian reported on Bayerischer Rundfunk that she once asked the 200-meter world record holder Noah Lyles for advice.

Unfortunately, something like this is not possible in Germany because the coaches of the German Athletics Association are currently not allowed to train international athletes. “It affects the entire training landscape. We inhibit ourselves with it,” said Lückenkemper.

In addition, there is a competitive situation at a high level even without a competition. However, she also has to make many sacrifices, said Lückenkemper, who sometimes spends three months at a time in Florida. “It’s a very lonely life in America because my whole family and friends are all at home in Germany.”

Head coach doubts advantages

5000-meter European champion Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who wants to compete in the national championships over the unusually short 800 meters, has been training in the USA for a long time. The 26-year-old is now part of a group in North Carolina after spending a long time in Oregon.

DLV head coach Annett Stein doubts that Lückenkemper and Klosterhalfen have many advantages in their professional teams. But she would also like to see the best in Germany together in training groups every day, because then their own dynamic is created. “If we manage to create such performance groups, we would be able to better exploit our potential,” said Stein.

Lückenkemper surprisingly won bronze in the 4×100 meter relay at the botched World Cup in the USA last year. The other medal for the German team secured gold with Malaika Mihambo. The long jump world champion and Olympic champion also had the idea of ​​training in the USA with Carl Lewis – but she then decided to stay in Germany.

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