Karla Borger and Britta Buthe
KARLA BORGER and BRITTA BUTHE
A SPIKE IN GERMAN SERVICE
Ever since it was officially added as an Olympic sport, beach volleyball has become one of the most popular events on the Games program. A year out from the Rio Olympics, German stars Karla Borger and Britta Buthe are considered one of the teams to beat on the scenic Copacabana sand.
Firstly, congratulations on the year you have had so far. There have been some great results for you! Two tournament victories and three top five finishes. Is there one result that you were particularly happy with?
Britta: It’s always great to start off the season with good results. It gives you confidence that the things you were working on in the winter were good. But we’re still looking forward to improving every tournament and every practice and play our best beach volleyball!
The benefit of results like those is your world ranking has climbed and you’re sitting well within the world top 10. That is important heading into an Olympics isn’t it?
Karla: For sure it is important, but we are still not satisfied with it and want more.
There is so much competition for places in the draw for Rio. How do you make sure you stay on pace to secure your place?
Britta: That’s true, there is so much competition! The level of teams is so close. But we’re trying to focus on us and the things that we can influence. So far this has been working great so we’ll hold on to that!
Do you feel like things are on track a year out from the Olympics?
Karla (right): You can never be sure about anything. We feel good and we know that we can do well in Rio.
At what point did you start turning your attention to Rio?
Britta: Already as a child it was our dream to participate in the Olympic Games one day. Year by year this dream has become more realistic and now we’re so excited to get the opportunity to compete for a spot at the Olympic Games. The location of Rio de Janeiro makes it even more thrilling since Copacabana is one of the best sites to play beach volleyball at.
You won a silver medal together at the 2013 world championships. That must give you plenty of belief in your chances at the Olympics?
Karla: The silver was until now our best result ever and still gives us confidence that we are good players and that we can beat all the teams on tour.
I imagine that Rio will put on a very special carnival like atmosphere for the beach volleyball competition.
Britta (left): For sure, it’s our biggest goal to play our best, win a medal and then soak up the great atmosphere and celebrate with our team and friends.
Besides the added pressure of it being an Olympic Games, do you think the Brazilian conditions will bring an another dimension to it?
Karla: Already in London, beach volleyball was the most popular sport on a fantastic place. I really believe that the Brazilians are going to make it even better
Karla, you won the world tour’s best server award last year. How tough is it to get that right?
Karla: One of my favourite elements is serving and I just love it. So I don’t really look back in the past.
How important is it to have a big serve in your artillery?
Karla: In my opinion the serve is the most important element. You have to be smart. Choosing which serve you want to serve on which opponent. So there are many, many different situations where you have to choose the right serve.
Britta, it must be nice to know you have a teammate who can fire in a serve like hers when you’re in trouble?
Britta: Having a teammate with a serve like her is great! It’s always great to see how she can give us so much advantage in our defensive game with her serve!
Who is your biggest competition for the gold medal in Rio?
Karla: I really don’t know. With girls you never know.
How did a couple of ladies from Germany become beach volleyballers?
Britta: Actually, we both started to play indoor volleyball and even played together on the youth national team. This is why we have known each other for a really long time and became friends before we teamed up together. One year, we both decided to play beach volleyball more professionally and one of our coaches, Jörg Ahmann, suggested that we should play together. Since we already knew that we get along really well off the court we were excited when we found out that we’re also a good fit on the court.
Ask anyone who goes to the beach and they’ll tell you they hate it when they get sand in their swimmers, but you volleyballers make a living out of it. What’s the secret?
Karla: Actually I do like to play sport on sand but I don´t like any sand in my bag! So I really try hard to keep the sand out of my bag. And one more secret. What I really don’t like: to touch my dirty, sandy foot right after practice! So I always try to clean my foot right after we are done with games or practice so that I don’t have to touch my foot at all.
What is it you’re most interested in experiencing at the Rio Olympics?
Britta: I think if you’re able to compete at your highest level you will be able to also enjoy the things around the competition like the village, the city, the atmosphere. So the goal would be to, above all, focus on the play and then reward ourselves with everything else.
Which athlete will you be most keen to meet in the Village?
Karla: Ahhh. I can’t choose. Can I just say I would love to see all athletes?