The start of the Biathlon World Cup in Östersund could hardly have been more bitter for Karoline Knotten. The 28-year-old actually did everything right and was on the verge of clinching the first individual podium of her career. But pretty much everything went wrong in the last few kilometers.
20 shots, 20 hits, still only ninth place and 2:36 minutes behind the victorious Dorothea Wierer: Although Karoline Knotten’s individual had all the ingredients for a successful race, the Norwegian missed the podium by a wide margin. As she later explained, there were several reasons for this.
The first nasty surprise overtook Knotten at the first shooting. There the Norwegian suddenly got a nosebleed. “It came out of nowhere,” she told the Swedish newspaper Expressen. “It’s a pretty gross feeling and taste,” said Knotten, who said she was trying to spit out the blood that was also pooling in her mouth.
She later added to the Norwegian TV channel “NRK”: “I have thin blood vessels in my nose [Nasenbluten] does not necessarily have to be related to the load. Sometimes I bleed when I’m tired, sometimes I bleed when I’m in top form.” The dry air could also have been the cause, the 28-year-old said.
“It’s just disgusting and not a nice feeling. And then you see that the people around you are looking at you a little more closely,” said Knotten about the bitter moments, which were not primarily responsible for their disappointing placement in the end. Rather, it was a late-race crash that cost her the podium.
“I think I was just tired. Suddenly I was lying on the mountain. I was tired and my legs couldn’t carry me anymore,” she said of the serious fall that took her well over a minute in total and at the end too the first individual World Cup podium of her career.