Monday, October 25, 2021
Beach volleyball player Thole resigns
Vice world champion ended his career at the age of 24
Vice world champion Julius Thole ended his beach volleyball career at the age of only 24. The news also surprises his partner Clemens Wickler, who is now looking for a new man by his side. For Thole there are more important things in life than sport – but he leaves a tiny back door open.
For Julius Thole it was “probably the biggest decision” of his life – and at the same time one of the hardest. At the age of only 24, the beach volleyball vice world champion surprisingly ended his competitive sports career. Instead of continuing to hunt for medals with Clemens Wickler in the sand, he wants to dig deeper into the Jura books.
“I want to set a new focus in my life. The decision was not an easy one for me,” Thole said at a press conference: “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time in the last few weeks.” But in the end it was clear to concentrate on studying law.
A decision that his partner Clemens Wickler made “unexpectedly”: “At the beginning I was surprised by the decision,” said the 26-year-old, who will be playing alongside Nils Ehlers in fifth place next year. Nevertheless, he could “understand the decision to 100 percent”.
Eleven training units a week plus physical and psychological appointments: “It’s just extremely time-consuming,” explained Thole. Time that he can no longer and does not want to sacrifice. Born in Hamburg, he doubts that “he will be able to practice high-performance sport with 100 percent and with full dedication over the next three years”.
Since 2018, the 2.06 meter tall Thole had played together with Wickler, they were considered a beacon of hope in German beach volleyball for men. At the home World Cup in Hamburg in 2019 they celebrated their greatest sporting success with the silver medal. A fifth place in Tokyo gave hope for the Olympic Games in 2024.
“I would never have dreamed of the sporting successes Clemens and I had,” said Thole: “We are buddies beyond the sport, and it will stay that way.” He thanked his partner for “the great time together”, which ended abruptly on the field. “I didn’t want to stop Clemens either. He has to see that he prepares himself with a new partner,” explained Thole.
Wickler will do that. “It will be bumpy at the beginning, but the goal is definitely to be back in Paris,” said the 26-year-old. A part of the “world-class coaching team” (Wickler) for the newly formed duo Wickler / Ehlers has already been determined in Jürgen Wagner, who was also in the supervisory staff of Thole / Wickler. The coach had led Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann as well as Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst to Olympic gold.
Meanwhile, Thole is facing a major upheaval, because “Beach volleyball was my life for years”. That is over now, but: “I’m 24. If in six months I think I’ve made the mistake of my life, I’ll see how it goes on.”