World Triathlon Paths to Paris: Nina Eim

by Ben Eastman on 27 Mar, 2024 01:47 • Español
World Triathlon Paths to Paris: Nina Eim

In the latest edition of the series tracking the journeys of athletes to the Paris Olympic Games, World Triathlon caught up with Nina Eim (GER) as she prepares to make her first Olympic appearance this summer.

Like almost every other elite triathlete, Eim’s attention was firmly on Paris. When we spoke, she was midway through a four week training camp in Namibia with almost the entire German squad. Yet unlike many of her rivals around the world, she finds herself in a unique position.

Germany is currently the only country to have allocated all of its female Olympic slots for triathlon in Paris. With six women currently in the top-30 of the Olympic Qualification rankings, securing a third female slot is a formality. Crucially for Eim, she is already one of the lucky three to have been selected.

She earned her place on the German Olympic team by finishing 6th at the Paris Test Event last season. However, her path onto the team has not always been smooth.

“I twisted my ankle at WTCS Cagliari,” explained Eim, “one day before the race. It happened at the swim familiarization as I practised the beach start.”

With a hurt ankle, Eim was not sure if she would tackle the WTCS race the next day, but elected to do so after being given the green-light by the team doctor.

“I was sure of doing the swim and the bike, and on the run I just wanted to see if I could run or not. During the race, the ankle wasn’t a big problem.”

In the end, Eim finished 9th in Cagliari, one place behind her German teammate, Lisa Tertsch.

Nina Eim2

After the race, though, an MRI scan revealed a small stress reaction in the bone. A five week break from running was therefore ordered. Yet even after the five weeks had elapsed, Eim could still not run due to lingering pain around the tendon.

“It was not a really good preparation before Paris,” she conceded. “I had pain when running and so didn’t do a lot of it.”

“Paris was actually my longest run! Two days before the race I ran 6km for the first time since Cagliari.”

Once the Test Event started, Eim put any thought of the injury out of mind. “In the race I am much more confident than before it starts.”

Once the swim and bike were safely navigated, all eyes turned to the run. While Laura Lindemann strode ahead as the leading German athlete and was in the fight for the medals (Lindemann ultimately finished 3rd), Eim found herself racing head-to-head with Tertsch once more. Whoever was the second German across the line inside the top-8 would secure the all-important Olympic slot alongside Lindemann.

An almighty battle followed but it was Eim that crossed first.

Nina Eim

“I was really surprised that I ran so well,” confessed Eim. Having not run 10km in over two months, she summoned a final surge to pull away from her teammate. Separately, Tertsch went on to claim the third and final German slot at the WTCS Final in Pontevedra.

With Eim’s place on the team settled, she made sure to race through the autumn to lock in her place inside the top-30 of the Olympic Qualification rankings, the secondary requirement of the German Olympic selection policy.

Finishes of 2nd at the Valencia World Cup and 12th at WTCS Pontevedra followed. Then Eim won the Rome World Cup in a dazzling display. Having ensconced herself in the top-30 – Eim is currently ranked 12th – she ended her season early after Rome to prepare for 2024.

Now, her first outing of the Olympic year is around the corner.

Eim was originally slated to race at WTCS Abu Dhabi, however due to a minor muscular problem she opted to sit it out. “We decided we won’t take any risks before Paris.”

In place of Abu Dhabi, Eim will start her season elsewhere.

“I’m thinking of doing the World Cup in Lievin.” The French town will host an indoor World Cup, the first of its kind. As it happens, Eim won the Europe Cup version of the same event in 2022. A repeat victory could be on the cards, then, should she return.

“I would like to do it again,” said Eim. “It’s really special for triathlon.”

In April, another training camp in Mallorca will follow and then she will return to the WTCS, with Cagliari fixed in her diary. This time, though, she might just skip the swim familiarization.
With a knowing laugh, she added, “I will just run into the water on race day and not before!”

From qualification, to preparation and even medal hopes, Eim’s road to the Olympics is starting to take shape. In many respects, 2023 was her best season yet. She finished 9th overall in the WTCS, logged her highest ever WTCS finish with her 6th place in Paris and won a World Cup for the first time.

Throw in her field-leading run split at WTCS Yokohama and it soon becomes clear that the German athlete is a rising force. If all goes to plan, she is primed for an even better year yet on her path to Paris.

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