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And Just Like That: You’re a World Champion!

Mannheim business student Teo Hinrichs was part of the German team that triumphed at the 2023 Hockey World Cup in India. In a thrilling final, Germany came back from 0–2 down to level the score at 3–3 by the end of regular time. They then beat defending champions Belgium in a penalty shootout. It was the first time in 17 years that Germany has won the championship. Hinrichs is studying BA Business Administration at Mannheim and holds an Elite Sports Scholarship from the Rhine–Neckar Metropolitan Region.

FORUM: In India, you and your team became the hockey world champions. Has it sunk in yet?

Teo Hinrichs: It’s gradually starting to, but even a month later I still can’t totally believe it. We had to move on from the euphoria pretty quickly, because the season kept right on going and there’s another big event coming up in August, the EuroHockey Championships.  

FORUM: You had to come back from behind several times during the tournament. And the final was decided by a thrilling penalty shootout. Was there ever a moment you felt certain you were going to be world champions?

Teo Hinrichs: Not during the tournament. Of course, you wonder “what if?” even while it’s still going on, and there are times when you feel like you might be able to pull it off. But when it matters, you have to bring your focus back to the essential task at hand and treat each match along the way as a goal in its own right. That way, the big goal itself keeps being pushed off into the distance, until you actually achieve it. I could only really believe it a few minutes after we’d won the penalty shootout in the final. 

FORUM: What are your next goals? The 2024 Olympics in Paris are coming up too…

Teo Hinrichs: The Olympics are the biggest event in hockey and so of course it’s my personal goal to go to Paris 2024. But for now we’re focusing on the EuroHockey Championships, which are coming up in August here at home in Mönchengladbach. Preparations are already underway, and of course it’s a big deal for all of us that the tournament will be taking place right in our own backyard. And I also shouldn’t forget my academic goal: I’m planning to complete my bachelor’s at Mannheim in June of this year.

Interview: Jule Leger/May 2023