Once again Olympic champion Laura Dahlmeier has taken the biathlon weapon out of the closet – but the farewell at the Schalke race is final.
The question of course had to come after her impressive farewell performance in the Schalke soccer arena. But “final” means “final”, Laura Dahlmeier, 26, made it clear with a mild smile and her Bavarian charm: “We say it’s out and it’s gone.” There will be no comeback in biathlon. Even if Laura Dahlmeier’s last career race at the World Team Challenge in front of 46,412 spectators in Gelsenkirchen recalled her fantastic abilities. Without having specially prepared for the annual spectacle before the turn of the year, without much training, the two-time Olympic champion ran without any problems in the absolute top of the world.
“I was allowed to do this at top level for a few years. But at some point the time came to say Servus and the moment has come,” she said. With her mixed partner Philipp Nawrath, who came in for the sick Erik Lesser at short notice, she took fourth place at the show event in the pursuit race; Frenchman Antonin Guigonnat had just intercepted Nawrath on the home stretch. “It was really a brutally nice day for me,” said Dahlmeier. She was a little surprised that she was able to keep up with the competition as a duo.
That was primarily due to her. Because at the 18th edition of the Schalke race, Dahlmeier not only glided confidently through the cross-country track, with which many athletes had their problems on that day. Even at the shooting range, she performed brilliantly with just one mistake in 40 attempts.
She had hardly trained with the rifle. “On Christmas Eve I quickly unpacked the gun and did one or two units. The trainer said we did it with experience, you didn’t need to train,” she said. It worked. No one acted as safely during the attack as the seven-time world champion, who “didn’t expect me to get through so well”.
At the same time, Laura Dahlmeier revealed, without wanting to know how big the gap that was created by her resignation in Germany. This winter, the successful biathletes were hardly able to convince, even if the shape curve seemed to point upwards recently. After seven competitions, there is no German athlete in the top ten in the World Cup overall standings, and in January the home world cups will take place in Oberhof and Ruhpolding. On Schalke, the second German duo, Denise Herrmann and Benedikt Doll, also fell short of the spectators’ expectations due to a one minute penalty and were only penultimate.
But that almost went under given the big Dahlmeier show. The exceptional athlete from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, who has now started studying in Munich and also works as a television expert for ZDF, was looking forward to normality and spontaneity after the last big hustle and a party with the Norwegian winners Marte Olsbu Röiseland and Vetle Sjastad Christiansen , At her last World Cup race in Oslo in March 2019, she had already realized that her career had practically ended. “But now everyone really knows, that’s the difference again. Today it is a little more festive and festive,” said Laura Dahlmeier, before she stole two speculators shortly before she left for the party in the hotel. “We’ll let it rip a little bit today,” she announced. “Today I can say quite relaxed: Tomorrow is not a race.” The party bus then went back to Upper Bavaria with around seventy family members and friends.