Lukáš Bauer, the Czech Republic's newest sporting hero, arrived in Prague on Tuesday, proudly in possession of the Crystal Globe for winning cross country skiing's season-long World Cup. Bauer, who is 30, is the first Czech ever to win the prestigious trophy. He actually had the World Cup in the bag two weeks ago, but had to wait for the last race of the season to get his hands on the Crystal Globe. I spoke to Lukas Bauer about the reaction to his success here in the Czech Republic.
"It was great and I had many fans, I had many text messages sent to my phone; I know that it's a great success for me, for our team and also for all sports fans in the Czech Republic- not just cross-country skiing fans, but for all sports fans."
And to what do you attribute your success this year when maybe you struggled in past competitions?
"Well, I think that the reason behind my super result this season has much more to do with my health. I was, for more than 90% of the season, totally healthy, and I had no problems as I had in last year's competition."
"Yes, I hope so, for sure. Like everywhere really, a lot of young people in the Czech Republic don't want to go out and get involved with the sport of cross-country skiing, but I hope that many children will follow this great success and take up the sport."
And how many more years of competition do you think you have ahead of you?
"Well, I'm looking forward to 2011, to the World Championships in Oslo, in Holmenkollen. And after that, we'll have to see, but I think that that will probably be about the right time to finish my career. But if I look and compare myself with other athletes, for example Rene Sommerfeldt (2nd place 2008 overall Tour de Ski) is now older than I will be in 2011, so we'll have to see."
And would you rate you 2008 success as being your proudest moment?
"I think so, yes, from the ceremony with the globe trophies and from the race itself, there remain many, many super moments in my memory. And one memory in particular was the start of the 7th stage of the Tour de Ski, when I had a very bad start to this race, but in the end I managed to finish 7th."
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