In October 2023, Lukas Dauser became world champion on the parallel bars in Antwerp – the first German gymnastics world champion since 2007. In this interview, he shares his aspirations for the 2024 Games in Paris and his thoughts on a prospective German Olympic bid.
Hello Lukas, you were crowned world champion on the parallel bars in October – the first German gymnastics world champion since 2007. Can you tell us a bit about what you experienced that day?
It still feels a bit strange to refer to myself as “World Champion”. Only five weeks have passed, and a lot has happened in that time. I’ve been on the road a lot and have had a bunch of appointments, which have all been so much fun. I won’t really be able to fully take it all in until the end of the year when things settle down a bit and I can sit back and relax.
To what extent has winning the world title changed your expectations of and goals for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris?
My expectations haven’t changed. I always strive to deliver the best performance that I can. Of course, the thought of possibly winning a medal if I put forth my best effort is always in the back of my mind, but I don’t want to spend all of my time focused on winning medals; I need to keep my thought centered on myself and my training routine. Those are the things I need to concentrate on to make sure that I stay on track. Of course, external pressure is always an issue, and I also put a great deal of pressure on myself. Let me put it this way: I competed at the 2022 World Championships after winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and I was the runner-up. I competed at the World Championships earlier this year as a runner-up, and I was crowned the world champion. So, I can definitely handle the pressure.
As a competitive gymnast, what do the Olympic Games mean to you?
The Olympic Games are the greatest. The Games have been a dream of mine since childhood. The first time my dream came true was in 2016, and it was fulfilled for a second time at the Tokyo Games in 2021, where I managed to win a medal. I’m currently preparing for my third Olympics – the 2024 Paris Games – and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the action. In contrast to the norm, fringe sports also receive a lot of attention during the Games. The Olympics also give us a wonderful opportunity to showcase our talent. It’s up to us to show the next generation of athletes what’s possible. When I was young, the Olympic Games gave me the chance to see my role models in action. Needless to say, they inspired me, and that, in turn, motivated me.
The DOSB has been working on a new bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games since last year – starting in 2036 at the earliest. Can you picture the Olympics being held in Germany?
I could definitely imagine the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place here in Germany. I think it would be the best thing for us – for our society. The 1972 Munich Games were a prime example. Everything that was done there in preparation for the Olympics is still in effect today: the expansion of the commuter and subway rail systems, and the sports facilities that were subsequently used during the European Championships in 2022. Working in a sustainable way is something that we could easily do in Germany and, above all, we could take the country along with us on the journey. I also think people would be drawn back to sports as a result. If the Olympics were staged in Germany, role models would emerge for the next generation to look up to. It’s time we realized that sports have the power to unite us. There is nothing more rewarding than engaging in sports together – competing, winning, and possibly losing. The most important thing is to not let your spirit be broken by defeat, but to motivate yourself to get right back up and to give it your all the next time.
Those who would be eligible to compete in the 2036 or 2040 Games are still quite young at present. What advice would you give to young gymnasts who aspire to compete at those Games?
In my opinion, the most important thing is to hang in there and just keep at it. If a training routine doesn’t work, or if you have a bad day, don’t bury your head in the sand. Perseverance is key – even when the going gets tough. Some days are hard: I have them; everyone has them. However, people often grow the most when they push through such situations.