'I am curious what the future will bring' says Jurack
Due to a shoulder injury German record international Grit Jurack had to resign from handball a few weeks ago. In this interview with eurohandball.com the three times EHF Champions League winner with the Danish club Viborg HK talks about her career, her farewell match and her future plans.
eurohandball.com: At the middle of August you had to announce the end of your career in handball. How do you cope with this situation now that a few weeks have gone by?
Grit Jurack: I am nearly 35, not 20 years old, so it was obvious that at some point the day would come, when it is all over after 20 years of professional handball. But when I was told by the doctors that I had to resign, it was a really big shock. Suddenly the whole life was different.
Currently I am working in the marketing department of a housing association in Viborg, I am teacher of a handball school team, and my two-year-old son Lukas is growing and growing. So life is not boring, as I am still doing a lot of sport like spinning, jogging or rehab for my injured shoulder.
eurohandball.com: What reactions have you been receiving after announcing the end of your career?
Grit Jurack: I received an incredible big number of mails and phone calls. It is great to know that so many people think about you. And I never would have expected that the media interest in Germany would be so high, as the notice of the end of my career was published in nearly every newspaper – and it’s only women’s handball. In Denmark it was a major news, I was live in TV and radio.
eurohandball.com: What was the reaction of your club?
Grit Jurack: It was as terrible for them as it was for me, especially after also Amanda Kurtović is out for a long-term now, we have no left handed players.
eurohandball.com: Will you stay connected to handball in the future?
Grit Jurack: The president of the German Handball Federation said in an interview that he already has a certain job or a position for me. As I have studied sports management and speak several languages an international task or job would attract me. And maybe I could be part of the preparations for the Women’s World Championship 2017 in Germany, as I am still very close to the team.
eurohandball.com: It looks as if the centre of your life will be in Germany after eight years in Denmark?
Grit Jurack: Medium-term and long-term it will be in Germany, yes. I have to consider what job I will get and also my boyfriend – a handball coach from Germany – has to be part of this package. I am really curious what the future will bring.
eurohandball.com: What about your anticipation for your farewell match against the Czech Republic in your hometown Leipzig on October 7?
Grit Jurack: I am truly grateful that a lot of people are involved in organising this match. I really do not know what will happen, who will come, how the team reacts. And I am grateful that it is a regular international match of the national team and not something like the “Grit Jurack All Stars” against another team.
eurohandball.com: Looking back: What are the three highlights in your long career?
Grit Jurack: Of course participating twice at Olympic Games, then winning the World Championship bronze medal in 2007 and my three titles in the EHF Champions League. But that’s not all: I remember certain matches when the shiver went down my spine.
When we played the semi-final rematch of the Champions League in 2009 at Valcea – and won this tough encounter – the Romanian spectators gave us a big hand and standing ovations for our performance, and then some weeks later, when we took the Champions League title in the lion’s den in Veszprem against Györ. There is a much more emotional atmosphere in those countries compared to Germany or Denmark.
eurohandball.com: One of the saddest moments of your career must have been the early elimination at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing…
Grit Jurack: Actually not, because apart from our results, Beijing were great Games, we could feel this special atmosphere of Olympic Games. No, the biggest negative experiences were those severe injuries – the rupture of the crucial ligament in 2002 and now this shoulder injury which ended my career.
eurohandball.com: You said once that never ever you would become a coach – is this still your opinion?
Grit Jurack: I always used to say that being a coach is boring. But today when I see that something I trained with the pupils I teach is working, it is a great experience. So if I became a coach in future, I would not be in professional handball, but in some youth programmes. But currently I enjoy those weekends without handball to have time for my family.
Grit Jurack's career in numbers
Born: October 22, 1977 in Leipzig (GDR)
International debut: January 23, 1996 against USA
Caps/Goals: 305 / 1579
National clubs: BSV Schönau Leipzig (1989 - 1993), HC (VFB) Leipzig (1993 - 2001), Ikast Bording (DEN, 2001 - 2003), HC Leipzig (2003 - 2004), Viborg HK (DEN, 2004 - 2012)
Career highs: World Championship bronze in 1997 and 2007, EHF Champions League winner in 2006, 2009 and 2010, EHF Cup winner in 2002, Danish national champion in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, German national champion in 1999 and 1999
Read more about Jurack's career and the farewell match on ehf-euro.com
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts