Andrea Eskau: The veteran victor

Dual-sport champion ready for more success at Nordic Worlds

female Para Nordic skier Andrea Eskau steers on the ski course Andrea Eskau is ready to add more medals to her collection at Prince George 2019 © • NPC Sweden/Karl Nilsson

Germany's Andrea Eskau had a phenomenal year in 2018. She won six medals at March’s Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, including two golds in biathlon. In the summer she was crowned world champion in cycling in the H5 road race in Maniago, Italy. Finally after all that success she was named Germany's Female Para Athlete of the Year.

"The highlights were the gold medals in PyeongChang in the biathlon races," said Eskau. "I was really surprised and really happy with that."

Long season

There was no break for the 47-year-old after the Winter Paralympics as she went straight into training for the cycling season. After a successful World Championships where she also took silver in the H5 time trial as well as the world title in the road race she reflected on what the medals mean to her.

"They are totally different. PyeongChang was really amazing. It was my best Paralympic Games in my life and I enjoyed it very much. In Maniago I was not really in my best shape so it's really hard to compete when you are not in your best shape."

Public recognition

Being crowned Para Athlete of the Year in Germany was the icing on the cake for Eskau. She also won Best Para Team for her bronze medal-winning performance alongside Steffen Lehmker and Alexander Ehler in the cross-country mixed relay at the Paralympics. She was especially proud because it was an award chosen by the public.

"It was really surprising because it's voted for by the audience. I didn't expect that and so I was really happy with that."

Retirement plans

Despite being closer to the end of her career than the beginning, Eskau still has high hopes for the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, Canada.

"Hopefully I could even compete for a podium that's my goal this year," she explained. "So if I am able to do that I will be really happy because I am getting older and older and the youngsters are really strong but I will try my best."

After a career spanning 12 years, including 6 Paralympic Games across both summer and winter including 8 gold medals in three sports, Eskau's thoughts are inevitably turning towards retirement but she still wants a crack at another Paralympic title in cycling.

"For sure I will try to get to Tokyo 2020. That's my next big goal and after that maybe I will retire."

More information on the Nordic Worlds, which begin on 15 February, can be found on the official Prince George 2019 website.