Biathlon in Soldier Hollow today – German women’s relay team shines

As of: March 9, 2024 11:02 p.m

This relay script couldn’t have been written better: The German biathlon women fought a thrilling duel with Norway on Saturday evening (March 9, 2024) in Soldier Hollow (USA) and were rewarded with a strong second place.

The DSV quartet around Janina Hettich-Walz, Selina Grotian, Vanessa Voigt and World Cup debutant Julia Kink had incredibly strong nerves in the last relay of the season and only had to let Norway go first after 4×6 kilometers. With seven spares, the Germans were 17.2 seconds slower than the favorites. Sweden finished third (+42 seconds/10 spares).

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Kink: “I felt so sick right before the start”

Newcomer Kink secured second place as the final runner. The 20-year-old stepped in at short notice because Sophia Schneider had to pass due to injury. In her second World Cup race, Kink ran against Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, among others, stayed extremely cool and experienced her personal biathlon fairytale.

“It was a shock to run in fourth place. I was so nervous and just before the start I felt so sick”said Kink in the Sportschau interview and could hardly believe her luck: “It was so crazy and like a movie.”

Hettich-Walz: Three spares, but fast legs

From a German perspective, the race was a smooth affair from start to finish. Starting runner Janina Hettich-Walz paved the way. After an exemplary first shooting, she even took the lead. At the tricky shooting range, the German needed three spare rounds in the standing position, but avoided the penalty loop and returned in fifth place (+ 12 s). “I almost saw myself in the penalty loop and was happy that I was able to avoid it”laughed Hettich-Walz.

Things went brilliantly on the cross-country ski trail for the DSV starting runner, who gave full throttle, fought her way to third place and sent Selina Grotian on her way directly behind Norway and Austria.

Grotian brings the German relay team to second place

The material apparently also ran excellently for Grotian, who was the best German in the sprint on Friday in 13th place. The 19-year-old also impressed in the prone position and returned to the track with a spare at the same time as Norwegian Ida Lien. Sweden and Austria followed closely behind. France was already almost 15 seconds behind fifth place.

Standing shooting was wild. Grotian was the best from the leading group with two spares, took the lead, but promptly felt the breath of Lien, who passed after a few meters.

Grotian held on to the fast runner from Norway and stayed with it until the transition. “I was able to keep up well with Ida”said Grotian happily. The leading duo changed 28 seconds ahead of Sweden. The French favorite, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, was the weakest sprint winner, who had to go into the penalty loop once and was 50 seconds behind the leaders at halftime.

Voigt is coming back strongly

Vanessa Voigt, somewhat surprisingly, ran in third place. The Thuringian had herself after the sprint “mentally exhausted” felt and actually wanted to forego the relay. After a short period of deliberation, Voigt agreed – and completed one of her best relay races. Voigt started like a fire brigade and, together with the Norwegian Karoline Offigstad Knotten, ran with a clear lead.

The German got through without a spare and also had fast legs. The reward: Voigt held on to second place and handed over to debutant Julia Kink, 0.5 seconds behind Norway and 24.3 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic.

Kink ripped off in season debut

For Kink, the days in Soldier Hollow must feel like a movie. After her World Cup debut in the sprint with 42nd place on Friday, the double junior world champion was allowed to finish last in the relay. The 20-year-old unexpectedly slipped into the team two and a half hours before the start of the season because Sophia Schneider had to cancel. The starting order cannot be changed so close to the race, so Kink had to take on the all-important final role.

The 20-year-old, who normally competes in the second-class IBU Cup, ran ahead with the big Tandrevold and also stayed cool in the prone shooting. Kink hit everything, but took longer than Trandevold and returned to the track 11.2 seconds later. In the standing position, Kink didn’t get nervous when a window stopped. The first spare was in place – she secured second place and experienced her personal biathlon fairytale.

Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold celebrates her relay World Cup victory in Soldier Hollow