The dedication of Anne Haug is in the spotlight in the latest episode of the PTO’s ‘Beyond Human’ documentary series and it is quite something.
The film (embedded for you to watch below) builds up to the PTO European Open in Ibiza last month, where Haug’s talent and single-minded focus were underlined in such stunning style with a clear-cut victory over arguably the greatest-ever women’s field we’ve seen at middle-distance.
‘That’s what I’m addicted to’
But it’s training as much as racing which really makes the 40-year-old German tick, and that is starkly illustrated as she says: “It’s the best feeling ever. If you have a really hard, long session… the satisfaction after, once you achieved it is an absolutely amazing feeling. I think it’s the best feeling in life and that’s what I’m addicted to.”
Haug came into the sport relatively late, but has more than made up for any lost time and admits: “To be honest, there is not much [for me] outside of triathlon. And for some people that may sound like completely sad or boring or whatever, but I think it’s just such a privilege to do that because I had a normal life before.
“I didn’t grow up like most of the other athletes. I just want to live it to the fullest because I know how quickly it can be over. And that’s the reason why I absolutely love it and don’t miss anything or because I had a normal life before and I choose it. The life I live. I don’t want to go the easy way.”
She has lived in the Olympic Training Centre since 2013, explaining: “After the Olympics in London, I moved in. Everything is super close. I have perfect training conditions and they have everything I need to perform well. So for me, it’s a perfect spot to be.
“I’m just focused on my work and that’s what I really enjoy. If you want to achieve high goals, you have to sacrifice things. So I can’t be like friends or go to whatever weddings or parties or whatever. 17 years I have never had a weekend or a holiday. But it’s not a sacrifice for me because I choose it, because I have an amazing life.”
‘It fulfils her completely’
In all that time Haug has been coached by Dan Lorang and we spoke to him to get his perspective, which echoes everything she says in the film.
He told us: “For sure you need talent, but it’s not only talent, it’s hard work. Her life is just about sports, that’s what she enjoys. Probably some people say it’s something negative, but for her it fulfils her completely and she gets the rewards for it.
“She’s living that life – probably we can a little bit compare it a little to the Norwegians who also sacrifice so much.”
We’ll have a more detailed interview with Dan in a couple of days where he discusses whether she’s better than ever at 40, gives his reaction to that Ibiza masterclass and tells us how Anne’s preparation has gone since then as she looks to defend her title at Challenge Roth.