Emma Weiss
Captured by Dimitri Isler

Excelling with double flips: Interview with aerial specialist Emma Weiss

IUBH Distance Learning is exactly the right choice for not only late risers and globetrotters. Professional athletes like Emma Weiss also benefit from the programme’s maximum flexibility so that they can combine sports activities with studying.


At the Winter Universiade, the world sports games for students, many athletes want to excel. Emma Weiss, the only representative of the German University Sports Association in the aerial discipline, is one who literally takes off. Recently, a knee injury set her back. But that didn’t stop the 19-year-old from the Swabian Alb from taking eleventh place at the World Championships in January. A performance that the health management student at IUBH University of Applied Sciences would like to top at her first Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. She explains in an interview.

Emma, you are the only athlete on the national student team who will compete in the aerial competition. How did you get started in this sport?

Emma Weiss: Through my father. He used to do ski ballet, and then did mogul skiing. Later he was the mogul slope trainer for the Swabian Ski Association. So I was there with him. Every now and then, he and his team went to Mettmenstetten (Editor’s note: a facility with various water jumps where in summer freestyle skiers practice their jumps for the winter). This is where about four years ago Michael Roth, the Swiss national aerial coach, asked me if I would like to make a switch.

Is that so easy?

Weiss: Of course you start out small, but that first summer I already did my first double flips on the water jump, and then in winter I did them on the snow.

The world’s best even do triple flips.

Weiss: So far only very few women have been able to do that.
Last year in Mettmenstetten I already did my first triple flips and this summer I will continue to work on it so I can hopefully do it the season after next.

Speaking of season, how is your second world cup season so far?

Weiss: Unfortunately, it is a bit shorter than expected.
I am currently taking a break due to a knee injury that I suffered in January. But I still finished eleventh at my first World Championship in Deer Valley.

So your break ends at the Universiade, which takes place parallel to world cups in China. What are your expectations?

Weiss: I think that the Russian team will move up. Otherwise it depends on who is there. I will try to show my best jumps. Then I’ll see how it turns out.

(Editor’s note: Emma Weiss plans to perform a Full-Tuck, a double backflip, of which the first is twisted and the second extended, as well as a Lay-Tuck (stretched, tucked) or Lay-Full (stretched, twisted).)

In Krasnoyarsk you will not only be at your second big event within a few months, but also at your first Universiade. What is so special about a Universiade for you?

Weiss: For me it represents a unique opportunity, because each nation decides for itself which disciplines they want to compete in.
They are small Olympic Games. I just narrowly missed the last Olympics. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through the national qualification. My long-term goal is Olympic Games 2022 – there I want to make it to the Super Final, the top 6.

With Olympics as a goal: As a first semester student, how does combining sports and studying work out for you?

Weiss: Studying makes it more difficult to practice sports because it consumes strength and time. For me, however, sports currently comes first, so that I can continue to perform at a high level. When I come home in the evening after training, I might be able to study for one or two hours. Of course, the fact that I am enrolled at a distance learning university helps me a lot. However, I do feel the double burden because my training is very intense. With jumping and mobility training, sessions in the gym or with the physical therapist, I easily reach a 40-hour week.


The German University Sports Association published this interview on 20 February 2019.

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