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[BEIJING OLYMPICS] Plagued by injuries, luger set to retire after BeijingBy Yonhap
Published : Feb. 4, 2022 - 13:23
And she wants to make her second and final Winter Olympics here in Beijing a memorable one.
"I think (Beijing 2022) will be my last big competition as an athlete. Therefore, I really want to perform my best," Frisch said after her training run Thursday at Yanqing National Sliding Centre in Yanqing District, some 70 kilometers northwest of Beijing.
"When I come to the finish and have a good run, I will be more than happy because it will be the end of my career," she added. "I think every athlete wants to stop with a good result and a good performance."
Born in Germany, Frisch became naturalized as a South Korean citizen at the end of 2016, ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in the South Korean alpine town of PyeongChang. She was one of several foreign-born athletes fast-tracked to a South Korean passport then.
And while many of them have returned to the countries of their births, Frisch has continued to represent her adopted country internationally.
And while racing for South Korea in an International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup event in early 2019, Frisch suffered serious injuries in a crash. She broke both of her hands and her tailbone. It took Frisch a couple of years just to get back to proper training and the 29-year-old said she still has lingering pains in her hands and tailbone.
Speaking in her ever-improving Korean, Frisch spoke at length about physical and mental challenges of her recovery. She said she wasn't able to resume proper training until the summer of 2021.
Along the way, she kept worrying about all the time she'd lost to her injuries.
"I've been an athlete for 18 years now. You always want to compare yourself to your best version. I am so far away from this that I can't always see what I've achieved as something good," Frisch said, switching back to English. "I see just what I can't do and what I am failing in. I am really working hard with my mental coach to be able to see that I've come a long way, and I've worked hard for everything."
During Thursday's training, Frisch crashed into the wall a couple of times. She came into the mixed zone for interviews with her left hand wrapped. Frisch said she was a little banged up, but it won't keep her from competing in the Olympics for one last time.
In an earlier interview with Yonhap News Agency, Frisch said she would have been studying neuroscience or psychology at university if she hadn't come out of her first retirement to come to South Korea. Now that she is about to retire for good, Frisch said she will go to some place in Europe to study, perhaps audiology.
But once that is done, Frisch said she will definitely return to South Korea.
"To be honest, I don't regret it," she said of her decision to retire after Beijing. "I think this is the right point to stop. I don't want to go on and maybe regret later." (Yonhap)
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