When you are 32 years old and you have already participated in three Olympic Games, you realize that for more than half of your life you have been a professional athlete. Training six days a week for at least six hours per day, traveling across six continents, making hundreds of friends, sleeping in countless hotels and loosing track of all the competitions you have attended, dreaming of that supreme moment of feeling the weight of an Olympic medal hanging around your neck.
Anke Woehrer is one of Germany’s top athletes and the proud owner, amongst other things, of an Olympic Silver medal for Parallel Slalom in Sochi, 2014. In this very moment she is attending the Olympic Games for the third time, hoping to bring home from Pyeongchang, Korea, another medal for herself and her country. This may also be the last time she participates in the Olympic Games, as she is toying with the idea of retiring after 20 years of a sports career, but let’s not jump to conclusions.
In any case, this is not a sad moment, at least not for an accomplished athlete. As you will see from the articles and the videos that Pets of Champions have prepared for you, Anke’s “retirement” has a whole different meaning to her, unlike people like you and I.
JAWS, THE SIBERIAN HUSKY
In June 2016 Anke married Flo, a “wonderful man” as she describes him. They live in a beautiful Bavarian city, in Bernau am Chiemsee, sharing their lovely home with the one and only Jaws, a 5-year-old blue-eyed Siberian Husky, which Anke “adopted” by marriage.
It is definitely in their “retirement” plans to get at least a couple of human brothers or sisters for Jaws, as well as a full new career as a police officer for Anke. Already a police officer, Anke is allowed to “skip” the police work and focus entirely on her athletic career as she takes part in international competitions.
She says she is lucky to be able to do what she loves and to be paid for it. But I guess we can all agree that her athletic success has nothing to do with luck. The constant pressure of keeping the bar up, countless hours of training, flying all around the world to train in the best conditions and sacrificing time spent with family and friends translates into pure determination, thriving for success and pushing yourself to become better and better.
MEETING ANKE AND JAWS
When we went to Bernau back in November 2017 to film Anke and Jaws, she was in between trips. The day after the shoot she flew to Sweden for a couple of weeks of intensive training, as she was not yet qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games. During December and January she went through 6 international competitions, gathering points to make it to Pyeongchang. And she did it! We wish her the best of luck in her quest to bring home another medal!
It is overwhelming to realize that you are knocking at an Olympian’s door. Especially since your main focus is to talk about their relationship with their pet and not their career. In this case, the trip to Germany was almost like travelling to see an old friend. Anke approached us and agreed to film for Discovery’s Pets of Champions after her very good friend, Julia Dujmovits, told her about our project while we were in Burgenland shooting with Julia and Kira. I spoke to Anke on the phone and she told me that she would be free in two weeks’ time and was happy (not more than me, for finding another amazing champion) to welcome us into her home.
When we got to her place she was so excited, and we talked for a long time before finding the right set-up begging the interview. One tip from us is, when you watch the videos to look behind her, through the blur, to the two snowboards, t-shirts and diplomas from the participation in the previous two Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014, all of which paints a picture of her accomplishments to date. For me, that was really overwhelming, standing before those “statements” of achievement!
Jaws, on the other hand, was not so welcoming. He did not bark or bite, but he was quite dismissive at first. He came and greeted us, but the moment we took the camera out and tried to film him, he hid under the table and refused to come out. It did not last long however. Hanging out around the house, talking to Anke, filming the parts that did not include him, eventually he started to warm up to us and “agreed” to allow us to follow him around. By the end of the day he was chasing me on the football ground, running around and finally feeling comfortable to play the leading role in the story.
“NO GAMES, JUST SPORTS!”
Close to the Austrian border, under the snowy and freezing gaze of the Alpes, we were taught another lesson of optimism, modesty, hard work, determination and success. Anke and Jaws spent almost the entire day with us, talking, laughing, playing, filming, making us feel welcomed and agreeing to all the crazy ideas we had, including testing the new Snapchat glasses our marketing team gave us. Poor Jaws, I almost felt sorry for him when Anke put the glasses on his face, he simply stopped moving!
However, the very last shots were not “fun” anymore. We accompanied them for the real deal, the serious training, the daily run which is part of their routine, no matter how cold it gets (the temperature had dropped at that point to -4C). We were not playing games anymore; it was all about the sports!
Author: Delia Dobritoiu
MORE STORIES WITH ANKE & JAWS, HER SIBERIAN HUSKY
Please allow Anke Woehrer and Jaws to tell you their secrets and stories as Champion and Pet through a series of clips, articles, GIFs and memes we prepared for you here at Discovery’s Pets of Champions! And, if you want to learn even more about them follow Anke’s social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.