What if you leak a battery

Will you be Robert Harting's successor, Gina Lückenkemper?

Sprinter Gina Lückenkemper in an interview about the importance of stars for German athletics, Instagram, mental strength, the "Wendy" and battery leaks in training.

Gina Lückenkemper saved herself the run-up on Monday. As one of the twelve fastest European 100-meter runners of the year, the 21-year-old from Hamm is placed in the semi-finals (this Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.). She wants to go to the final (9.30 p.m.). In an interview, she tells us what else she dreams of.

Ms. Lückenkemper, at the World Championships in London 2017 you ran 10.95 seconds in the lead over 100 meters. No German sprinter has been that fast for 26 years. What did that do to you?

It's just great to know: I can really stir things up and be ahead of the pack in the future. That motivates me enormously before the European Championships in Berlin. The competition now knows who I am. They have me on the slip.

With the 10.95 they would have won bronze at the World Cup, but they failed in the semifinals. Does that annoy you?

I am just still young. You can't call up such times every day. It was a different day, a different time, completely different conditions. People are always quick to forget that: I'm still at the beginning of my career. I am only 21 years old. That's not an age for a sprinter. The fact that I was running for such a long time in London when I was 20 is mad enough.

How do you manage to be in perfect shape when every thousandth of a second counts?

Train cleverly. I have a brilliant trainer with Ulli Kunst (Ulrich Kunst, editor's note Red.), who knows me incredibly well, who makes me fit to the point. It's an art - just like its name (laughs). It not only addresses my physical condition, but also my emotional level. The head also has to be there 100 percent.

You once said that you try not to think anything at the start. How does this work?

Just run! That's what I love, what I enjoy. And that works great for me. I concentrate on myself and my race, get into my tunnel quickly and am still easy-going and relaxed. It's an optimal mix.

You wrote the quote: “The German sprint is awesome.” Is there a new generation of running with you, Tatjana Pinto and Rebekka Haase?

O yes. We have a successful, young generation growing up there - and lots of characters. And draw characters. We are not afraid of the media, talking and telling. We are interesting. It is also the job of athletes to advance athletics.

In a good mood: Gina Lückenkemper is fooling around in a competition. © dpa

EM organizer Frank Kowalski trusts you to become one of the new athletics faces when Robert Harting ends his career. (more here)

I can imagine a role like that, but not as extreme as Robert did. I don't want to know how many sleepless nights he had because of it. That is an enormous additional mental burden. What is beating down on him: criticism, discussions. It's so nerve-wracking and drains your strength. I'm not ready for that after all. But it's an honor for me that people trust me to do that. I could imagine it in the Lückenkemper style.

Why are young athletics stars so important?

Athletics needs a face and young faces. Athletes you know, who are known for success and beyond. You have to be a brand, which is becoming more and more important, especially in non-soccer sports. I think I can do that. I have 84,000 followers on Instagram. I enjoy it. But I never want to be seen or understood as an influencer. I am a competitive athlete. With me there is no "15 percent on your next order if you ...".

You were last in a riding magazine with horse Picasso. Also some kind of advertisement for athletics?

I think that's cool. But I think it's even cooler that I made it to "Wendy" with Picasso. This is the magazine that I spent all of my pocket money on as a little girl. That shaped my childhood a lot and was a big part of my life. With picture in "Wendy": career highlight, now I've achieved everything and can quit (laughs). It's just nice that my hobby with riding is so present. This is also a part of me that I can pass on. I've been riding since I was five. I'm just the fast, crazy horse girl.

Gina Lückenkemper at the European Athletics Championships: "Everything is possible." © dpa

Now that the dream has been fulfilled, what is your dream in Berlin, what is your wish for the future?

In the European women's sprint, there are so many talented runners. Everything is open there. The best will win in the end. If that was me, it would of course be particularly nice. Everything is possible. It will be round and really fast. Of course, like every athlete, I dream of going home with an Olympic medal.

Does your battery trick still exist? That you are licking the batteries for an added stimulus?

Sure, of course. I still do that. But that's not a trick, it's training. In this way, I activate other regions of the brain during training. And that works with the tongue on the battery.