37-Year-Old Teja Gregorin…Loving Her Job; Still Thinking Medals
37-year-old Teja Gregorin’s career dates back to her IBU (European) Cup debut back on November 30, 2002. Over the ensuing fifteen plus years, she has five career podiums (four individual and one mixed relay); three of those five put major medals in her trophy case. With two IBU Silver medals and a 2014 Olympic Pursuit Bronze medal, many athletes would be ready to call it a career. Yet that is not the case for this quiet but determined lady. She is thinking about another big season, and of course, maybe adding another medal to add to her collection.
Feel Like 27
While many of the big names like Sandrine Bailly, Uschi Disl, and Anna Bogaliy who she competed against in her early career are long retired, the Slovenian veteran continues to train hard, dream big and think young. “I feel like I am 27, not 37! I have stayed in biathlon because I love the nature; I love training and I love the races! It is not difficult to stay so long if you love your job.” Questioning her love of the training, which can be extremely demanding, she added with a smile, “I really do love to train, even on the bad days; why not?”
Silver at Pyeongchang 2009
Gregorin won her first medal, ironically in Pyeongchang, at the 2009 IBU World Championships, claiming Silver in the 15K individual, with a single penalty, 39 seconds behind Gold medalist Kati Wilhelm, but seven seconds ahead of Tora Berger. All three women had a single penalty. “That was a big surprise; I did not expect that. I do not know what happened there, but my psychologist was there with our team and he helped me reach this medal; he believed I could do it. I did not. He told me, ‘You came here to win medals.’ My reply was, ‘What?’ But his confidence really helped.”
That single achievement is a big reason why she is still in biathlon and still thinking about medals and good results. “That is absolutely one of the reasons I am still here. Once you get to the high level, you cannot stop.” She plans to be in Pyeongchang next February and thinks of that 2009 medal as a good sign. “Of course that is a good sign; I have some good memories from there…and some bad. I missed the pursuit in 2009 and also last year, but that is okay.”
Perfect Race Equals Medals
Last season was by far not the best of her career, yet once again in a Championship setting, the veteran showed she can still compete for medals. She finished fifth in the IBU WCH Mass start, just .2 seconds behind Gabriela Koukalová and 4.1 seconds off Kaisa Mäkäräinen’s Bronze medal. “Of course you have to have a perfect race and maybe a little luck against those girls to get a medal, but I know it is possible.” My career highlight to this point was that medal in Sochi, but I hope I will get another medal; maybe this year!
Pasta, Barcelona and Michael Jackson
With another day of training out of the way on the #roadtopyeongchang, the three-time Olympian answered a few quick questions on subjects with little to do with medals.
BW: What is your favorite meal?
TG: Pasta with white sauce and vegetables, but I am not a vegetarian.
BW: Read a book or watch a film?
TG: Read a book; my favorite is “The Alchemist;" I found some good advice in the story.
BW: Mountains or the beach?
BW: What is your favorite holiday spot of all time?
TG: Barcelona; I went there this year. It is a big city but not too big, with lots of sights. I went to the Camp Nou Stadium and would love to go back and see a football game there. I also love that lifestyle with the long relaxed evenings.
BW: What music do you listen to?
TG: Everything; but I never listen to music before a race and only in training doing classic skiing or in the gym.
BW: What is the number 1 way to relax during the season?
TG: Playing with my three dogs; one if 14 years old and the other two are youngsters, 4 years old.
BW: Coffee or tea?
*TG: coffee in the summer, but tea in the winter. If I drink it in the winter, I shake.
BW: What is your pre-race breakfast?
*TG: Bread with butter and jam, then cheese and prosciutto, all together.
BW: If you could meet any person in history, who would you choose?
TG: Hmm…Michael Jackson, because I love his music.
BW: Describe yourself in less than 10 words.
TG: Emotional, persistent, brave, stubborn, honest and always ready to help.