World Championships here in Nove Mesto are drawing to a close and it has been a great couple of weeks! Tim’s silver medal, the first biathlon championship medal for Team USA since 1987, highlighted a strong week of racing for our crew. I feel very happy about my races; although the Sprint and Pursuit didn’t go great, I had a great Individual, and had my best relay legs yet.
I competed in our Mixed Relay as the second leg and enjoyed the opportunity to ski head to head with Germany’s Miri Gössner and Belarus’s Darya Domracheva. In our anchor leg, Leif put on an exciting sprint finish with Slovakia and we ultimately finished 8th. (Photo: USBA/Nordic Focus)
This year, the Individual fell on my birthday. Last year at World Championships, I hit 19/20 of my targets in the Individual race and placed 5th. That was a very special day indeed. I was hoping for another good day but I tried to stay relaxed and be realistic. With biathlon, the harder one tries to have good day, the less likely it will pan out well.
(Live stream screen shot captured by Linda Jager).
This year I finished 15th with 2 penalties, one of my best results of the season. With that result, I met the pre-qualifying criteria for the Olympics. It was an awesome birthday!
Sometimes life’s most interesting memories come from moments of misfortune. In the last loop of the Individual, I fell on a downhill and broke the end of my rifle stock. Biathlon stocks are highly personalized, they take weeks to custom order, and can be costly. Breaking one is a major bummer. The positive thing about breaking a stock at World Championships is that the expertise needed to fix it is on site.
Benjamin from Anschütz worked overtime to help get mine repaired before the Women’s Relay. (Photo: Armin Auchentaller)
We just needed some wood, but since there was none to be found we salvaged some off the end of a broom handle. L to R: Benjamin, me and my coach Armin. Armin told me this was one of the “most interesting projects” he has seen in all his years of coaching and “will mean something 21 years from now.” (photo: Armin Auchentaller)
I think the broom helped me “clean”- I hit 100% of my targets in the next race, a first for me on the World Cup.
This week we had more familiar faces from home! This time the Dreissigacker Family came to cheer. It was Hannah’s first World Championships!
Our spirited crew
We were all very surprised by the number of spectators that came to watch the races- it felt a lot like Ruhpolding or Oberhof. The line of people streaming out of the stands post race just kept coming. Thanks for creating such a positive atmosphere Czech! (photo: Sara Studebaker)
The womens team’s biggest form of entertainment this past week came from a “Hollywood makeover” website. Hannah put her photoshop and graphic design skills to use on many of our staff and teammates. We weren’t sure how it would go over at first, but luckily our guys thought it more hilarious than offensive.
That’s when we decided that we should showcase some of our coaches’ and techs’ portraits on our waxroom door. Finally, a bigger female presence on the staff!
Another great form of entertainment was checking out the downtown shops, which were full of fun clothes and styles. Annelies just had to get this wig.
One of the last mornings in Czech we made breakfast with the Swedish girls. It was a lot of fun being able to cook and share!