Born: 12/JUN/1987, Güssing
Profession: Professional athlete
Personal trainer: Mag. Peter Eichberger
Trainer: Tom Weninger, Bernd Krug, Kruselburger Manuel
Hobbies: Traveling, snowboarding, surfing, kiteboarding, biking, yoga
Best places to be: southern Burgenland to relax, Hawaii, Kalalau Beach
I like: Las Vegas ;), New Zealand, Maui, Na Pali Coast, Sulz… Italian food, sushi, strawberry juice… waking up without alarm
Best Spots: Las Lenas, Colorado, Matrei, Zauchensee, Tauplitz, Castle of Güssing 😉
IF IT DOESN’T CHALLENGE YOU – IT DOESN’T CHANGE YOU
Sports can sometimes create stories that rival the best fairy tales. The story of Julia Dujmovits is comparable to that of a Jamaican Bobsled team. The only difference is, Julia returned home with a Gold souvenir from Russia.
Born and raised in Sulz, found in the Austrian state of Burgenland, no one would have thought that an Olympic Snowboard Champion would rise from 228 meters above sea level.
It all started in 1995 when Julia and her three brothers woke on Christmas morning. Snowboards! Just as you can imagine, an 8 year old girl so excited to finally have a chance to touch her dreams. With a smile from ear to ear she proclaimed,
“I’m going to be a professional snowboarder!” Her father smiled and simply replied,
“I’m sure you will Sweetheart.”
Maybe you’ve heard about Grisu, the little Dragon who dreamed of becoming a firefighter. Well, it’s a similar story, and that’s where the fairy tail comes in. We’ve all shared childhood dreams of one day being lucky enough to wear the colors of your country as a professional athlete. And just as all supportive parents do, the families in Sulz ganged up, piled into an old Opel bus, and hit the slopes nearby.
Eight kids from the lowlands with their parents in tow, all carrying the dream of becoming professional winter sport athletes.
November 11, 2000 changed everything. The snowboard squad drove 431 kilometers to Kaprun for a glacier training session. The snow conditions were good and Team Burgenland was ready to hit the slopes.
While waiting for the train to arrive, Julia and her brother Georg had a discussion on whether to use the gondola or ride the train up. Eventually, Georg walked away. Julia gave it some thought, picked up her gear and followed her brother. It was a decision that saved her life.
When Julia and Georg stepped out at the top of the mountain, they noticed smoke billowing from the tunnel. 155 people were killed including all of Burgenland’s snowboard squad. Only Julia and Georg survived.
“After losing so many friends and loved ones in a single catastrophe, I went through more than words can ever truly describe– shock, anger, pain, guilt and despair.
Time heals, and it started to get easier for Julia. Weeks later, she strapped in for the first time and remembers thinking,
“My friends would not want me to quit. I owe this to my friends.”
As weeks turned to months and months to years, Julia regained her motivation and experienced her first taste of success. In 2003, she competed in her first Europa Cup. She celebrated her debut on the World Cup tour weeks later. She won the Junior World Championship in 2006 and twice took home Bronze in Korea (PGS and SBX). Unfortunately she was forced to face hard times again. Various injuries (fractured ankle, two torn ACL’s, broken collarbone) sidelined her from action. It was a long list of set-backs that continued to grow. It took a lot of fighting to come back each and every time.
“At some point I realized that I had to change the way I see the sport, and adapt my body. Otherwise, the sport would have broken me.”
When she missed the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver due to an injury, Dujmovits turned to Yoga to find balance in life, and transform her painful experiences into positive energy.
“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you” becomes her motto. She discovers Maui and chooses it as her training grounds. The long summer days and warm weather offer a place to bike, run, swim and then have time to kite surf, paddle board and hik. It was common to see Julia do all these things in one day, six days per week.
Julia soon climbed the podium again to win Silver at the 2013 World Championships in Stoneham. In February 2014, being a favorite for an Olympic medal, Julia shockingly didn’t place in the PGS finals. She remembers pulling herself together and thinking, “You can’t make excuses, and you can’t quit. You can’t beat someone who doesn’t quit.” There was a second chance. It was a new event, the first in Olympic history. Julia, coming from behind and fueled by pure determination, strapped in to make Olympic history. By the skin of her teeth, she battled back and won the first Snowboard Gold medal in Austrian history, the first for Burgenland in general.
With a life like hers, there is still a lot to come. Julia’s story will continue.