She could have easily excelled in athletics. Or she could have become a musician. Instead, Anežka Indráčková chose to follow in the footsteps of her older sister Karolína. Ski jumping catapulted her to the Beijing Olympics, and the 15-year-old became the youngest member of the Czech team. “The Olympics are every athlete's dream. Just imagine that a few weeks ago, I was keeping my fingers crossed for my sister hoping that she makes the team,” smiles the youngest Olympian.
For a while, she was doing both athletics and ski jumping. “First, I was doing athletics. There was – and still is – an excellent club in Desná. Even though Desná is a town of 3,000 inhabitants, we were able to compete quite well with much larger clubs from Jablonec and Liberec,” she says. “The practices were a lot of fun, and we always did something different. I always enjoyed the long jump, the high jump and hurdling the most.”
I have no time left for music, so I put the instrument away in the drawer for now. I might go back to playing it one day. I enjoy music, but only as a listener these days.
Ski jumping came later. “My schedule would fit both practices, and when they were not doing jumps, the coach did not mind that I went to athletics instead of jumping. Over time, the competitions schedule began to overlap, and I had to decide.”
The youngest but the most experienced?
She didn’t worry about music this much. “But I played the recorder for quite a long time. In addition to music school, my parents persuaded me to play in their band which was called the Volunteer Musicians Choir. They would make jokes about the name because there is a volunteer fire brigade in every village. And they play a style they call deathfolk,” smiles the young athlete. “I have no time left for music, so I put the instrument away in the drawer for now. I might go back to playing it one day. I enjoy music, but only as a listener these days.”
Her focus has shifted to ski jumping. Early in the season, she began to compete in the Continental Cup and FIS Cup, the second level of international ski jumping. The Junior World Championships in Zakopane, Poland, in February was supposed to be the highlight of the season as she had never competed there before. Instead of going to nearby Poland, she is heading to a much more distant destination for her rookie start under the five rings.
Paradoxically, it will be her second time competing at the Olympic venue this season. “I have been right on the Olympic hill in Beijing. It is a brand-new jumping hill. The first official competition, the Continental Cup, took place there in early December,” says Indráčková. “I went there both to compete and to check it out so I could tell the girls what the hill is like. In fact, when it comes to being familiar with the Olympic hill in China, I am the most experienced member of the team.”
Anežka Indráčková joins her sister Karolína, who is nine years older, and Klára Ulrichová, who is 17, on the team. “There is definitely no rivalry between us – we support each other and root for each other,” she assures. “And this applies to the whole team, not just the two of us.”