She was a student at the Technical University of Munich and was already one of Germany's top athletes in the 800-meter run: Christina Hering from LG Stadtwerke München. The 13-time German champion was eliminated in the semifinals at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene m(USA), but shortly thereafter presented herself in top form in the Diamond League and even scratched her personal best. In Munich, her hometown, she wants to fight for precious metal at the European Championships 2022.
Christina, you did a bachelor's degree in Scientific Foundations of Sport (now Sports Science) from 2013 to 2017. In 2020, you then completed a Master's in Management at TUM. How challenging was it for you to balance university and competitive sports?
Christina Hering: "It was actually quite a challenge sometimes - especially mentally, to somehow keep the focus. Often the exam periods coincided with the German Championships and then it was rather difficult to concentrate on studying and the exams."
Nevertheless, you mastered everything successfully.
Christina Hering: "Yes, because I always enjoyed it, too. It required good time management and a certain motivation to just get ahead in your studies. Of course, there were many subjects. Some were compulsory, others not. But I think you always have some that you don't enjoy as much. Basically, though, I thought it was cool, especially in the bachelor's degree, that most of the subjects had a focus on sports. And in management, I chose the courses I was interested in anyway."
In retrospect, was it the right decision for you to study part-time?
Christina Hering: "Yes, definitely. It simply gives me a sense of security now that with a master's degree I can assume that I at least meet the basic requirements for most of the jobs I would apply for. I also found it really nice to get out of this 'sports bubble' a bit and just dive into normal life. Also to have contact with people who are not in competitive sports for once and to experience student life."
The new TUM Campus in the Olympic Park did not yet exist when you completed the bachelor's program. Have you been able to take a look inside yet?
Christina Hering: "Funnily enough, I was there just under a month ago. I took measurements with Prof. Dr. Martin Lames. This was accompanied by ZDF and we also filmed a bit on site. The campus is super modern and looks awesome."
It's also not far from the Campus to the Olympic Stadium, where you'll be competing in your discipline at the European Championships. The 800-meter preliminary race will take place on August 18. What is your preparation like in the last days before the competition?
Christina Hering: "I came back from my very last competition on Sunday and now the remaining days are final here in Munich. I will be at home for another week and then in the team hotel from Monday. I think it would be quite strange to cycle there every day. I think I still need the whole setting a bit and also that you don't have to worry about anything anymore, but can use everything there that you need. The last few days are definitely also training again. I'm really looking forward to it, of course."
For you, it is not only a home European Championship, but also a real home game due to Munich being your hometown. Does that give the event even more special meaning for you?
Christina Hering: "Yes, emotionally of course totally. I've never actually run in the Olympic Stadium, but I've trained next to it on the field every day for the last ten years. I always had this great view of the stadium from there - and now that will be the warm-up area. It's kind of a cool idea to warm up for such an important competition on the field where you've already done so many sessions. There will also be a lot of pressure that I put on myself. But at the same time I realize that it's important to me that everything works. Somehow I also have the feeling that I'm a little bit on the side of the organizers."
Because you are in the "Class of 22" of the European Championships?
Christina Hering: "Exactly, I was involved a lot in the last two years and was also accompanied there. That was totally nice to see how something like that comes about. And now, of course, I'm just as excited as the organizers to see how it will turn out when it's real."
What goes through your mind before you go into such an important competition?
Christina Hering: "Of course, I already have a relatively large amount of experience now. I've been to a lot of big events. Nevertheless, it is always something very special. I am definitely someone who is very excited. Especially when the races are announced, which usually happens 24 hours beforehand. You then know what the race will look like. You set your plan, of course, and then you kind of reel off your routine of how you're going to do the day before and the day of the race."
You were recently at a big event: the World Championships in Eugene (USA). There you were eliminated in the semifinals. What did you personally take away from it?
Christina Hering: "The World Championships were really a great experience. After my semi-final I was actually a bit confused because I didn't expect not to be able to keep up at the end. But of course it is also the world's best that you run against there and then you also fall off once in a while. Thank God I was able to run another really cool race last weekend (in the Diamond League, editor's note). That gave me confidence that my performance at the World Championships was definitely not due to training. That's why I look back on it very differently today than I might have done last week. But now the World Championships are really off my mind for the time being and my focus is fully on the European Championships."
To what extent did Corona still have an impact on your preparation for the competitions?
Christina Hering: "In fact, I would say that as a competitive athlete you already have a great respect for this disease. Of course, you know - especially in my discipline, which is very endurance-oriented - that it can happen to be very set back at first. That's why it still accompanies us. I just really always have to make sure that I continue to wear the mask, because I depend on it not catching me. Especially in the last few weeks, I just hoped that I wouldn't get it. Unfortunately, it is currently the case that many people are still infected. At the end of the day, it's simply a matter of weighing up again and again whether to take these additional risks. Or whether you'd rather just stay at home or meet outside, which is of course very easy in the summer."
Let's take a look back at your last competition before the European Championships. In the Diamond League you presented yourself in top form and ran a personal season's best (1:59.51 minutes). You have already said that you were able to gain self-confidence there. How important was that for the European Championships in the end?
Christina Hering: "I knew that this starting place in the Diamond League was a great opportunity. Just to run a fast time once again. That it really worked out now is super nice. Now I just know that everything is as we planned it in advance. I'm definitely in the shape I want to be in. Of course, it was nice to have that on paper once again and that not only my coaches and I know that more is actually possible.
How do you rate your chances for the European Championships?
Christina Hering: "It is a big competition, a lot can happen. I have really been in wild races now - for example, my preliminary heat at the World Championships. Anything can happen, but I definitely feel prepared for all races. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are my competition days. It will be cut from 32 runners to 16 and finally to eight. My big goal is to get to the finals. I think when I get there and there are really only eight left, a lot is really possible. And then I definitely want to fight for the medals. But now I have to get there first. That means full concentration and every race is a 'final' first, so to speak."
Text/interview: Michelle Brey