Coach’s Feelings After Mihambus Olympic Gold: A Gift – SWR Sport

Olympic champion, world champion, German “Athlete of the Year” three times in a row. This is Malaika Mihambo’s long jump. She was trained for several years by Ole Knapp of Hütschenhausen in the Kaiserslautern region.

Ole Knapp won’t forget August 3, 2021, either. Long jumper Malaika Mihambo wins the gold medal. And Ole Knapp is her coach – which is why she won the Olympics a little. He is the jeweler.

Coach Knapp: From Hütschenhausen to Tokyo

“Those feelings in a gold medal,” Ollie Knapp says, “was something very unusual,” he had never felt anything like that before. “It was a wonderful gift.” But his path to becoming a coach was somehow predetermined. Immediately after studying sports in Saarbrücken, Palatinate from Hütschenhausen got stuck in the Kaiserslautern district of Saarland and became Saarland State coach at the Federal Performance Base.

Mihambo appreciates the balanced person Ole Knapp

Ole Knapp looks like a born coach. “Maybe I have that in my genes, when I was still an athlete, but I trained others, I was more interested in these other athletes than I was in athletic development.” At the age of 12 he was already a home coach at the Hütschenhausen Gymnastics and Athletic Club. Malaika Mihambo appreciates her many years of experience, but also appreciates the calm and serenity that Ole Knapp radiates: “I am very happy to have such a sensitive, kind and balanced person by my side.”

Uli Knapp, a former javelin thrower and Palatinate champion, has already brought some athletes to the top. Javelin star Boris Henry, for example, or long jumper Christian Reeve from Ludwigshafen. But the national long jump coach still works in Saarbrücken to encourage young athletes in track and field. High jumper Lea Halmans, after all, already Germany’s U23 champion, is coached by Knapp. She also appreciates the human competence of her coach as well as his technical skills: “He is someone who is always in a good mood and spreads that good mood to everyone, always training in a relaxed style, which is very important. Fun for athletes, especially on heavy days when your legs get heavy.”

The musician Knapp is working on the new stage program

But Ole Knapp is also working on developing his other talents. He had what it takes to be a professional musician. He was one of the founding members of the Kaiserslautern band “Vanden Plas”, at the time as a keyboardist, and still tries to compose music professionally to this day. “For me, music is a total balance of relaxation from the stress that arises in competitive sports. For me it is something of a meditation.” Uli Knapp is currently working on a new stage program with his old friend and former teammate Markus Ziegler. And herein lies the driving force: “Ole is someone who can motivate people,” says Ziegler, “that’s his great strength, that he can put himself in people’s shoes and get the most out of them. That’s a gift.”

Knapp wants Mihambo to push her limits even further

Ole Knapp travels from Saarland to Mannheim four times a week to train with Malaika Mihambo. And there he proves his “gift” again and again. The National Long Jump Coach is a sensitive motivator, observer, and performance diagnostician. “If you can get such a good bond with each other, it is a lot easier to be able to work together in competition and be able to take the pressure,” says Mihambo. This pressure will increase.

World champion, Olympic champion, what comes next? Ole Knapp still sees a lot of potential in his world-class athlete: “That’s exactly the point, she’s pushing her limits a little bit forward, and I’m sure she can do that.” A great athlete with a great coach. The success story will likely continue.

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