Ski mountaineering has undergone significant changes, said Oriol Olm, the 2023 World Champion of Vertical (Junior division)

Despite his young age, Oriol Olm already has many titles. He is the 2023 World Champion of Vertical (Junior division), took 3rd place in the overall sprint standings, has four World Cup podiums and more than 5 TOP 5s on the world circuit. On the eve of the upcoming 2023-2024 season, we spoke with Oriol about the evolution of ski mountaineering, as well as the athlete’s plans, motivation, and sporting ambitions.

Interview: Irina Rybalchenko fer El Periodic News

Is being on the “front line” your way of life?

I have been in the world of competition since childhood, and I can’t live without it. I love to compete, since it gives me a lot of fun. I always try to be as demanding of myself as possible in order to improve and become a better athlete. Sometimes it pays off and you find yourself on the “front line.” I like to think more about how we get to the “front line.”

What are your earliest memories related to sports? Why and how did you choose a sports career?

In the field of sports, my first memories are related to judo. My first competitions and efforts to overcome stress started with judo, and I still remember many fights. I still follow this sport and love it. But at the same time, I got acquainted with ski mountaineering and I liked it much more. I don’t know… I just love this sport, and I knew from the very beginning that my sports career would definitely be in ski mountaineering. I am crazy about it, and I want to keep doing it for a long time.

What qualities are needed to be the best in mountain sports?

It is a difficult sport that requires sacrifice. The individual race requires the most effort from me. But with passion and persistence, we can achieve our goals.

The day before a competition – what is it like? What are you focusing on? What helps you cope with your nerves?

I spend the day before a competition very calmly, with the team or coaches. Being on a good wave is very important for a good race. I do try not to be stressed and I focus on being organized, and try to go to bed early. Over the years, you gradually manage to cope with your nerves. But on the other hand, I like to be nervous, because it makes me feel something inside that I can only feel doing sports.

Professional sports are very hard work and require a lot of self-discipline. What is your main motivation?

I have something more than motivation: I have passion. That’s why I love doing what I do.

As a professional athlete, what can you say about the evolution of ski mountaineering? Is the sport becoming more technical? Have the requirements for participants increased? Do you think the competition is quite strong?

Ski mountaineering has undergone significant changes. Even though I’m young, I can already see the differences in how this sport has evolved. And listening to former runners such as David Albos, Xavi Areny, Gerber o Sergi Casabella, I can  confirm that the situation has changed a lot. The sport has become much more visible due to the presence of television at competitions and participation in the Olympic Games. This is good. And yes, the competition level is very high. If you have a bad race or are not in good shape, you will end up far behind.

What can you say about the participation of the Andorran Mountaineering Federation and the Olympic Committee in the preparation of Andorran spotrsmen for competitions?

All of them help us a lot, but each one has its own particularity. The Andorran Mountaineering Federation (FAM) organizes us go to world cups, stays, training – and supports us financially. The Olympic Committee takes care of the participation in the Olympics, respectively.

They are the ones who help us a lot in trying to get mountain skiing to the top, they also help us a lot in the Olympic project. That is to say, they give us all the possible means to prepare well for the Olympics. They are the ones who help us a lot in promoting ski mountaineering to the top, and they also allocate all possible funds to support us in preparing for the Olympics.

Are you still studying in France? What do you study and why? What is it like to combine study and professional sports?

Yes, I study business marketing at Annecy. This is a sector that interests me a lot, and I am lucky that I study at a university for high-level athletes. This allows me to have the peace of mind of completing my education remotely in the winter and on campus in the spring.

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