My sister Lisa and I have been riding trick bikes since 2004 – individually first of all and then as a pair since 2005. Our teamwork has paid off. In early December 2016, we won a silver medal at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart.
Artistic cycling is a form of indoor cycling, which is still a niche sport. There is little to no financial support available and spectator numbers are often low. Nevertheless, it is an appealing sport that is gaining increasing attention from the media – as can be seen from the fact that in 2015 an independent jury named us their ‘Athletes of the Year’ in the Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis district. The highlight of our careers to date has to be our experience at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart in early December 2016. The Porsche Arena was sold out, with over 6000 spectators eager to see how the battle for the medals would unfold. The atmosphere was incredible. Taking to the podium to receive our medals as runners up in the world championships, I had goosebumps. I know that I will remember that special moment for many years to come.
To tell you a bit about artistic cycling, one freestyle performance consists of 25 figures, which are marked by judges. It is important to concentrate fully throughout the freestyle performance, to execute the technique cleanly and to always hold your balance (and your nerve!) The majority of spectators in the Porsche Arena could sense the special atmosphere in the silence that fell during the freestyle performance. As soon as the competition was over the results were announced, and more than 6000 people cheered and celebrated our success. It will probably take weeks for this experience and our success to sink in. Our mother, who is also our trainer, supports us in every possible way. We gave ourselves two weeks off after the World Championships.
If you were to ask me if this sport helps me to progress in my career as well, I would have to say: “Yes, without a doubt!” Artistic cycling has shaped my character. I used to find it hard to pinpoint my strengths and goals but today, on my work-study programme at MANN+HUMMEL, I consider myself ambitious and motivated. I am much more determined, focussed and organised than before and I know that I will be able to give every paper my full concentration.
I discovered artistic cycling by accident. A friend invited me and my sister, who is two years younger than me, to a training session. We then learnt how to perform the first figures as individuals. We took part in various competitions but never managed to make it on to the podium. At the age of nine, I was comparatively late to the sport – normally you start at six years old.
Just one year later, a trainer said to us: if you ride as a pair, you have the potential to be successful. I had the idea of ‘working as a team’. In our pair, I was always on the bottom from the outset, in other words my sister sits or stands on my shoulders. It did of course take us a couple of years to be able to master this. And for it to even be possible, we have to have complete trust in one another. Siblings often already have a special bond and we were able to strengthen this in our sport. This has allowed us to develop a great understanding. That doesn’t mean that we don’t fight – that is completely normal for us too. But when it comes down to it, we function as a single unit in tournaments and are often complimented on this.
We have continually worked our way up together. We reached the top of the sport in Germany in 2011, becoming runner-up at the national championships in the Junior category (U19) and being named the reserve team for the European championships; in 2012 we became national champions, in 2013 runner-up German champions again and in 2014, after moving to the next age category (Elite), we were initially ranked fourth. This meant that we qualified for the national team in our first year in this age category. During the following year, 2015, my sister and I managed to qualify for the Indoor Cycling World Championships for the first time. Our trip to Malaysia was an amazing experience and we came back with a silver medal. In early December 2016, we were able to repeat this success in Stuttgart, aided in no small part by MANN+HUMMEL GMBH and our sponsors.