“The Czech Republic is an incredible part of the world.”
In 2012, Šárka’s life was under a direct threat due to a benign brain tumour which caused a complete metabolism failure. Despite this, she managed to return to professional skiing and again win the bronze medal in slalom in Beaver Creek in 2015. In September 2016, Šárka Strachová received the Silver Medal of the Czech Senate for her accomplishments.
When you meet Šárka in person, you see a person whose image is in sharp contrast with many “spoiled” sport stars. She is very modest and humble, yet manages to project inner strength, determination and hidden energy to excel in whatever she desires. On behalf of the Czech and Slovak Leaders magazine, we wish her a successful 2016 season!
How do you perceive today’s world?
From my own perspective, we live in a beautiful period and in beautiful environment. The possibilities that we have seem to be enormous and everything is so simple. On the other hand, we are overwhelmed by information, 90% being negative or distorted. People in cities are particularly under big stress. For me, it is important that each of us keeps advancing, works on our own personal development, that we take responsibility for our life and we are also able to set our own boundaries.
How do you perceive the Czech Republic in today’s world?
The Czech Republic is an incredible part of the world. We live on the continent that is both most beautiful and most kind. Wherever I am and I mention that I come from the Czech Republic, people respond – Prague? The Czechs as a nation are very clever and gifted. Our self-confidence is the only thing we can improve and enhance.
In September 2016, you received the Silver Memory Medal of the Senate that is given to personalities who have reached outstanding results within their specialisation. How did it feel to be awarded a medal in a different place than the winners’ podium?
I was very pleased to find out that I would be receiving such an award. It was a true honour for me to be in a company of distinguished personalities who received the prize this year. The atmosphere was naturally different than I am used to at the races. When competing, there are always high emotions involved. In the Senate, I was able to look back, reflect and appreciate what I have achieved during my sport career.
The 14th professional ski season is ahead of you. You are known for your desire to always advance your skiing further. What are your ambitions and how were these reflected in your summer training and preparation phase?
Each and every competitor desires to advance further. It is not possible otherwise. Standing still means that others will soon run over you. This is true not only in sport but also in other environments that change and develop fast. If someone wants to be able to withstand the competition, he/she needs to move ahead. During the last two years, my preparation phase has been the same, I only adjust details. With regards to the facts that I am already close to the end of my sport career, there is not much space for big changes. The rest of my career I will play with the cards I have in hands. As for my ambitions, these can be summarised by one short sentence “to be one step ahead of the others”.
You dedicate a lot of attention to mindfulness or the mental preparation, you repeat that you “create your own world”. What is your world like and how do you go about creating it?
Everyone of us has our own world, there are no two views alike with regards to the same issue. The important thing is to take responsibility for our life and to realise that we are the ones who create it. This is the approach I am trying and I have been learning.
You have an international team, you spend a lot of time abroad, away from home. To what extent does the fact that you are from the Czech Republic influence your work?
My coach and my service man come from Austria. My physiotherapist is Czech. But there was a year when all three team members were Austrian and it seemed to me that I spoke German even while asleep. Whenever you are an alpine skier, you have to travel a lot. And it does not matter if it is further or closer. I used to travel 260 days per year, now it is a bit less since I concentrate only on one skiing discipline.
Despite the fact that you celebrated 31st birthday, you are one of the oldest active professional skiers at the World Cup, next to Veronika Velez – Zuzulová from Slovakia. The attention of media has been lately directed to your age but also to the next stage of your career. Isn’t it rather early?
I do not think that it is “early” when compared to the rest of professional sportsmen and sportswomen. Most top performing people in sports start to think about the end of the career between the age of 30 and 35. In downhill skiing, we have skiers who finished as early as at the age of 27 or as late as at 34. It depends on each person. It depends on your health condition, on your desire and motivation to carry on. After reaching the age of 30, the body starts to be worn out and tired and it handles the extreme pressure of elite sport with much greater difficulty than when you were 25. I am now fully concentrating on the coming season during which I will make a decision whether I will extend my career for one more year.
Besides your training, you are a founder of vO2max company that specialises on holistic training and therapy. What was the reason to start such a company, what is your mission and what is your target group?
I have personally gained a lot of knowledge and experience during the last ten years and I wished to start sharing it with others. The most important thing I have learned is to approach our body in a holistic manner, on both physical and mental levels. Everything is so closely interconnected. Our physical pain influences our mental state, our mental condition causes pain and diseases to our physical body. The system VO2 max can be for anybody. Those who want to get relief from pain, those who wish to move further, those who want to change something in their lives or those seeking advice. And particularly to all the people, who are tired of seeing their pains coming back and those who cannot enjoy living to the full extent. One of our slogans describing our system is “You have the full support on your journey to development and healing – we are here for you”.
You often mention that after the end of your career you want to take care of your household, cook, take care of your husband. I had a chance to meet you personally, I very much appreciate your extreme engagement and desire to push the boundaries, so I cannot imagine you in this “traditional role” only…
That remains to be seen. I am looking forward to the role of a wife and a mother. Of course, I do not want to end up only as a housewife. I have learned to organise things very well, simultaneously managing many tasks. At the same time, I don’t want to do anything only at “half speed”. Right now, I have already a bunch of things I would like to handle after finishing my career.
What are your final words to Czech and Slovak Leaders readers?
Let us respect each other, let us smile at each other and let us think about the fact that it is here and now where we create our future. I wish everybody much joy and happiness.
For more information visit official website www.sarkastrachova.com. We also recommend to watch the movie “Two Minutes of My Life”.
By Linda Štucbartová