LMU student at the Olympics
“Every little error can be costly”
For students February means preparing for upcoming exams. But Sophie Kratzer, a trainee teacher who studies German, History and Civics at LMU, is now facing a different test – as a member of the German ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics.
Tell us about your first impressions of Sochi...
Sophie Kratzer: We began our preparations for the Games here at the end of January. When we arrived, we were almost alone in the Olympic Village, and we had plenty of time to settle in. Now I keep running into sports stars from all over the world in the Coastal Village every day – it’s a wonderful feeling. The warm and sunny weather also does its bit to keep everyone in good spirits. The volunteer guides are friendly, good-humored and work hard round the clock – and the sporting facilities are first-rate.
That sounds very much like the typical, positive Olympic atmosphere. So the athletes have not been affected at all by the negative headlines in the media?
As far as I can tell from my own perspective, that is indeed the case. We are hardly ever confronted with any negative reports – and the mood overall is very good. I have read news reports saying that not everything was ready on time, but I’ve seen nothing to confirm that here.
What about the accommodation?
We are all in the German House in the Coastal Village – three to a room, but that’s OK. If one wants to be alone for a while, it’s always possible to find a quiet nook. Everything, including the stadium, is within easy walking distance. The Olympic Village has been designed for tourist use when the Games are over, and that has its advantages for us too – I can see the Black Sea from my balcony. I’m very pleased to be here.
You and your team-mates were pitched in at the deep end. Your very first opponents in the tournament were the Russian girls. What did you learn from the match?
We certainly went into the tournament as outsiders. The opening match was already a highlight for us, because the home side received such vocal encouragement from the spectators. During the first two periods it looked as if we might be able to pull off a sensation. At the end of the second we led 1:0. But in the final period the Russians scored two lucky goals in quick succession, and in the end they won 4:1. The big lesson for me was that, at this level, every little error can be costly – and that luck is not on our side at the moment.
Everyone here at LMU hopes very much that that will change. But, tell me, how did you get into ice hockey?
My mother sent me to learn to skate when I was 4, and we were also given the chance to try our hand at ice hockey. I’ve stayed with it ever since, first on my local team, where I played together with boys. I have been playing for ESC Planegg in the German Women’s League since I was 14, and we have won the League Championship four times in these 10 years.
What are your immediate plans – for your sporting and your university career?
Just before I was nominated for the Olympics in Sochi, I sprained a ligament and thought that was the end of my Olympic hopes. But thanks to quick treatment and my overall level of training, I was fit enough in time to be able to play at full stretch here. Even so, when the season is over I will probably have to undergo a knee operation. So that will be my first priority after the Games, and then I hope to complete my studies successfully. I still need to take one more seminar and then write my degree thesis. In my probation year as a trainee teacher I won’t have so much time to devote to sport. But I haven’t yet decided whether or not to give up ice hockey altogether.