ALREADY A LEGEND AT JUST 19, ONDRA IS STARTING UNIVERSITY AND PLANNING A YEAR OF TOP-LEVEL COMPETITIONS.
A climber’s life is great: you get to travel, meet inspiring people, climb in fantastic places. This is my life, and I love it. All well and good, sure, but boredom is always lying in wait, because without other interests, what is there in the long run? My life needs alternatives, distractions. And what if something were to go wrong? You never know: what if I got injured? Or if there should come a day when I no longer feel as strong as I’d like? I need something other than climbing to focus on. That’s why I decided to go to University. To take my mind off climbing a bit, to build up other interests, with an eye on the future. It’s important to have something else to think about, other than climbing. It’s the only way to keep my motivation up.
To begin with, I wasn’t so sure which faculty to choose. There are subjects I really enjoy studying, such as history, but you’re unlikely to get a job with history. You’ve got to make a wise choice, so I went for the faculty of economics, in my home town of Brno. A degree in economics will be useful in future, however things turn out. I started two months ago, and it’s all going well so far. The lessons and the study plan leave me plenty of time for training.
Travelling all the time and not having to go to school meant it was virtually impossible for me to find the self-discipline for intensive indoor training. The temptation to stay outdoors was too strong, especially when I had no time constraints and plenty of money at my disposal.
But indoor training’s important too. It’s not essential to tackle tough projects on the rock face, but it is if you want to prepare properly for competitions.
Now that I have to attend University, I’ve got less time to travel: it’s time to compete! And to do so, I’ve got to organise my time properly and keep to training schedules, so I’m on top form at the right time, for the most important events.
I think the indoor training will improve my performance on the rock face too. Once the competition season’s over, I’ll be physically stronger, and more motivated than ever: the results will show, and not only during the competitions.
I’ll also be better able to appreciate everything I love about rock climbing. My mind needs to get outdoors, into the mountains….I need to feel open space around me, after being shut up in a dusty room. I think I’ll carry on like this for a year or two, then I’ll take another year off.
It might sound like I’ve got a boring 2014 ahead of me, but in fact my expectations are high. During the last two World Cups, all the climbers admitted that my presence gave them huge motivation for the following year. Flattery? Perhaps? But it was great to hear!