Home » World Cup gold for Simon Ehammer, but now a sticking point awaits

World Cup gold for Simon Ehammer, but now a sticking point awaits

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World Cup gold for Simon Ehammer, but now a sticking point awaits

Just five months after his shoulder operation, Simon Ehammer wins indoor heptathlon gold. But now he has to take a few steps back: in the javelin throw, the build-up begins all over again.

Simon Ehammer wins his first international elite title with gold at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

Michael Buholzer / Keystone

It is rare that Simon Ehammer describes the final discipline of an all-around competition as a highlight. For him, the 1000 meters indoors or, even worse, the 1500 meters outdoors are a horror. And that’s exactly why the Appenzeller highlights the 2:46.03 minutes after his indoor world championship title in the heptathlon in Glasgow. Because he ran the kilometer quite nicely “and not like a dying swan like before”. He had twice awarded gold in title fights in the last race.

For Switzerland it is the fourth World Indoor Championships gold after Werner Günthör (shot put, 1991), Julie Baumann (60 m hurdles, 1993) and Mujinga Kambundji (60 m, 2022).

But it is also Ehammer’s first international title among the elite, after he had already won World Cup bronze in the long jump, European Championship silver in the decathlon and World Indoor Championships silver in the heptathlon in his super year in 2022. The gold medal means a dream start to the Olympic year for the 24-year-old, which gives him a big boost of self-confidence.

The previous year had been an ups and down of emotions. Invalid attempts in the long jump deprived him of two possible medals, but he shone at the end with the long jump discipline victory in the Diamond League.

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Ehammer was impatient – the coach had to tie him back

The decision to focus on the long jump towards the end of the season had medical reasons. Ehammer had been suffering from persistent inflammation of the biceps tendon for a long time; Over the course of last season he had to realize that he would not be able to solve the problem alternatively. During an operation at the end of September, the surgeon detached the biceps tendon from the joint and fixed it again outside the joint.

This does not change the functionality of the shoulder, and Ehammer was pain-free right from the start. Nevertheless, it took almost two months before the athlete was allowed to jog again; He had to avoid any shock to the joint beforehand. So he trained in the form of fast hiking or on the indoor bike – as varied as possible, “to keep him happy,” as René Wyler, the main person in charge of his coaching team, says. “It’s hard when a racehorse isn’t allowed to leave the stable.”

Ehammer’s huge ambition doesn’t suit him in such a phase, and the fact that the shoulder healed as expected is positive, but it didn’t make the situation any easier for the team. Precisely because Ehammer wasn’t in pain, he wanted to move forward faster. It took a lot of conversations, says Wyler, “I had to tie him back and myself too.”

In its training, the team usually focuses on speed and explosiveness because these are important for almost all decathlon disciplines. In order to train the neural system in the weeks after the operation, they incorporated small exercises that did not affect the shoulder: Ehammer sat on a chair and had to alternately tap his feet on the floor as quickly as possible.

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Despite the weeks of limited training, Ehammer improved his own Swiss record at the World Championships in Glasgow. If he hadn’t failed in the high jump, he would probably have broken the European record, which is held by the Frenchman Kevin Mayer with 6,479 points.

This shows that the World Championship gold has great value, even if the top five of the 2023 decathlon year were missing in Glasgow. This is not uncommon; many top athletes skip the indoor season and focus their training entirely on the Olympic Games. In the all-time best list of the indoor all-around competition, Ehammer is now in 9th place with his 6,418 points; five of the athletes ahead of him already held the world record in the decathlon.

Ehammer would like to venture into such areas one day. The self-proclaimed “Schnori” has never had any problems formulating big goals: for example, achieving more than 9,000 points, which only four decathletes have achieved. Or becoming the first person to jump over nine meters in his strongest individual discipline, the long jump (his PB currently: 8.45).

He is far behind in the javelin throw

But in the upcoming outdoor season, despite a dream start, the first thing is to become competitive again everywhere. Because Ehammer’s weakest discipline, javelin throw, will be required again there compared to the indoor season. He actually wanted to enforce discipline in the 2023 season – but nothing came of it because of the biceps problems. “We are very far behind there,” says Wyler. Since the operation, Ehammer hasn’t even thrown a ball.

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Until now, the shoulder has been prepared for training in physical therapy. This should allow her to achieve her full range of motion again and the tissue has to get used to the stress. At the end of March, Ehammer travels to Barcelona for a training camp lasting several weeks. The goal: to then be able to throw fully again. First of all, it shouldn’t be about distance, but about as many throws as possible.

During the long break from throwing, Ehammer tried to approach worry discipline using mental techniques: for example, by visualizing the optimal sequence of movements. Just for fun, the team says they deleted Ehammer’s hard drive and that could even be a chance in the javelin throw. Unfortunately, in reality you don’t forget movement patterns so quickly.

The European Championships are coming up in Rome in June and the Olympic Games are taking place in Paris in August. “This is where I belong,” said Ehammer in Glasgow after the gold medal, meaning the all-around despite all the successes in the long jump. Competing in the decathlon only makes sense if he is also competitive in the javelin throw. Did someone say challenge? Ehammer is there.

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