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% 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.