Philipp Herder told IG that, although he may play a utility role on the German team at the world championships in Glasgow later this month, he is determined to contribute reliable scores in Germany’s quest to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"My focus is on the stability of my routines, because my job is to get safe and useful points for the team," he said.
Philipp Herder (Germany)
Herder said Germany will need consistent performances in Glasgow to maintain or better its eighth-place finish at the 2014 worlds in Nanning. The top eight teams in Glasgow will earn automatic berths to the Rio Games; teams nine through 16 will advance to an Olympic test event early next year, from which four additional teams will earn berths to the Games.
"We have to recall what we practice in our training, and not make many mistakes," said Herder, who trains under coach Sebastian Faust at SC Berlin. "We need safe and clean routines. We can’t make some experiments with new or untrained elements, because the qualification is too important. We all have to do what we trained."
Herder, who competed on four apparatuses in qualifications in Nanning, said the German team bound for Glasgow is better fortified and stronger than last year’s team.
"In Nanning, we were a relatively young team with not so much experience," said Herder, who will turn 23 on October 21, four days before the start of men’s qualifications in Glasgow. "Now (2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist) Marcel Nguyen is back from his injury, which gives our team more strength, and we all have gotten more experience in the last year."
Herder has been a steady presence on the German team during the current Olympic cycle. In recent German national all-around championships, he placed 11th in 2013, fourth in 2014 and eighth in 2015. He won the bronze medal on parallel bars at the 2014 Toyota Cup in Japan, and the bronze medal on floor exercise at the 2015 German championships held last month.
"Like I said, I’m not the one who brings the big points for the team," said Herder, who competed on five apparatuses at this spring’s European championships in Montpellier. "I have to help the team with solid and safe points in case of mistakes from my teammates, and I am relatively flexible to perform on all the apparatuses."
Although Herder assesses himself as a team player, he understands that reliability in Glasgow could bring him closer to his personal Olympic goal.
"The team’s success is the most important thing in Glasgow," he said. "When I can help the team to go to the Olympic Games and when I did a good job, it will increase my chances to go to the Olympic Games next year. So I will perform all my routines well."
International Gymnast magazine's recent features on German gymnasts include:
"Shooting Star" - Tabea Alt profile (May 2015)
"Tough Lesson" - Janine Berger interview (October 2012)
Kim Bui interview (April 2013)
Maike Enderle profile (September 2014)
"Renaissance Man" – Fabian Hambüchen cover story (December 2013)
"New View from the Top" - Lisa Katharina Hill profile (July/August 2013)
"Silver Streak" – Marcel Nguyen interview (November 2012)
"Quick Chat: Pauline Schäfer" (January/February 2015)
"Calm, Clean Style" - Sophie Scheder profile (December 2013)
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