In 2008 you had a very unusual experience. In the German television show “Wetten, dass…” (“Wanna bet?”), hosted by Thomas Gottschalk, you went head to head against a ‘builderer’ – an urban climber. Rene Gabris scaled the outside of a skyscraper while you ran up the stairs inside. In the end your opponent beat you by 3 seconds and you had to face defeat in front of an audience of millions...
That was my finest defeat ever. It was a thrilling experience. For one thing, it was one of the most elaborate outdoor challenges that the show ever held. My opponent received more than 56 percent of viewer votes for the best bet in the show, reflecting what a nail-biting contest we offered the audience. And after all, “Wetten, dass...” wasn’t a sports program; it was a variety show, and Thomas Gottschalk is a legend in Germany. So at the end of the day, winning wasn’t the most important aspect of the experience for me. Personally, it was more important when I won a race in Singapore the following week. The television show was just great fun.
And when will you do your first backwards stair run?
(Laughs) I am still desperately seeking a coach and ironing out the kinks in my style. All joking aside, backwards stair running is not even anatomically possible! Not at a competitive level, at least. You’d have to stand on the ball of your foot while lifting your heel toward the next step. That would be suicide at a high speed.