Denise Herrmann-Wick has fully focused on the home World Cup in Oberhof. There, the currently best German biathlete wants to clear the medals for the last time.
Even in what may be her last biathlon season, Denise Herrmann-Wick remains a perfectionist. “If you can think of little things, then you have to do it. I like tinkering with it“, says the Olympic champion.
That’s why the Saxon had a new rifle built before the World Cup winter and did a lot of work herself. Three brand new guns,”some don’t have that in their entire career“, says Herrmann-Wick, who only switched from cross-country skiing to biathlon in the summer of 2016.
Clear goal: The home world championships in Oberhof
After her gold coup in Beijing in February, quite a few expected the 33-year-old to end her career and, after marrying her longtime friend Thomas Wick this summer, to devote herself entirely to family planning.
But Herrmann-Wick still has a clear sporting goal: the home World Championships next February in Oberhof, Thuringia. “This is the clear highlight. Until then, the path is the goal, if it would of course go steadily uphill, that would be nice too“, says Herrmann-Wick.
“Great Opening” in Kontilahti
At the start of the season in Finland last week, there were two sixth places and one 16th place, plus a strong second place in the relay. After the long, hard preparation she called this “a good start to the season“. But, four races “is of course a blatant opening”.
On Thursday (2.10 p.m. / live ticker) the sprint continues at the second World Cup of the season in Hochfilzen, Austria. Before that, Herrmann-Wick enjoys “a few quiet days at home” during a stop in her adopted home of Ruhpolding.
Good plan for the competitions
Before continuing to nearby Pilsental, she wants “eat well, sleep well and try to fill up the stores“. Around “to stand at the start with as fresh legs as possible“. But even if it wasn’t always enough for the front in the first few weeks, that wouldn’t be a big problem.”My goal is to run the competitions. But everything has to fit in terms of health. I already have a good plan“, says Herrmann-Wick.
The ex-world champion recognizes her body’s signals, takes no risks and knows exactly how to behave. The Olympic victory in the singles, the culmination of her career, gives additional security. “You can’t get more than that at the momentn”, she says and remembers her mad race in the bitterly cold Zhangjiakou in the Chinese mountains: “But when you’re on the starting line, you’re an athlete like you’ve always been. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You have to give everything and be able to push yourself to the limit.”
Next chapter in the success story
Herrmann-Wick can still do that. The eight-time World Cup winner avoided making clear statements about her future last season. However, there are many indications that the World Championships in Oberhof (February 8th to 19th, 2023) could be her last big highlight on skis before the 33-year-old, the oldest member of the German team, resigns. Her biography has only just been published, but she could add at least one more chapter to the Olympic bronze medalist with the 2014 cross-country skiing relay.
Second row pushes forward
If the former pursuit world champion leaves, a large gap has to be filled in the German Ski Association. However, the start of the World Cup season gives reason to hope that it can continue successfully. The second row presented themselves confidently in the fight for the top places: Vanessa Voigt (25), Sophia Schneider (25) and Anna Weidel (26) secured the qualification for the races in the Thuringian Forest, sometimes surprisingly quickly.
“We want to take the momentum with us to the next events“said DSV sports director Felix Bitterling: “We’re looking forward to everything that’s to come and are extremely happy that we were able to perform so well so early on.” And Herrmann-Wick is happy about the pressure that is now coming from the second row.