Lisa Theresa Hauser: A Really Good Summer
Since jumping from the junior ranks to the World Cup scene four years ago, Lisa Theresa Hauser has become the face of the Austrian women’s team. She has been in two Olympic Winter Games, four IBU World Championships, finished 15th in the World Cup Total Score and been on the podium in five BMW IBU World Cup single mixed relays. Shooting range prowess has been her calling card, consistently closing targets at a rate close to 90%.
After a season that “was not the one I expected,” she is smiling, refreshed, and ready for the new season after a “really good summer” of training, spending as much time as possible in her favorite place, the mountains.
BW: Now that the training season is basically over, are you happy with how it went?
LH: Yes, it was really, really good. I was healthy all summer which I think is most important for any athlete. I did some great training including cycling in Sardinia, plus some time in Obertilliach and Toblach; I love the mountains there. Other than that, most of the summer was here in Hochfilzen.
BW: Do you feel like you made some progress this summer, especially in running which is probably your weakest point?
LH: My main focus this summer was on running. There was a change in my training team, since Sandra (Flunger) went to Switzerland; now Walter Gapp is working with Alfred (Eder) in our group of three women. We have a really good atmosphere and put in some hard work, even though the hot weather like this year is hard on me.
BW: Were you sad to see your long-time coach, Sandra Flunger move to Switzerland?
LH: I was really sad about that, but we are still in contact, and talk about my technique, shooting skills and how I can improve…I actually got away for a few days of training with the Swiss girls in Lenzerheide. That was really great, because the Swiss Girls and I are on the same level. I am the best here in Austria, so it was good for me to train with this group that could challenge me.
BW: What was your best day this summer; the one that makes you smile when you remember it?
LH: That is difficult, but probably the cycling tours in Sardinia…or rollerskiing uphill in Toblach. Really whether I have on my running shoes, am on the bike or rollerskis, every day is a best day when I am in the mountains!
BW: Your last four competitions (all top 15 results) at the end of last season were your best of the year, were you sad to see the season end when you were on form like that?LH: For sure, last season was not the one that I expected. But actually for me, it was not so bad as everyone else thought. I knew that I was a small step better in running than the previous year, but I was unable to do a good job on the shooting range. It was always one or two mistakes too many…In the previous years, shooting was my strength, but last year, it was not so.
I really was not so sad that the season was not my best; it is normal in sport. The years before were all up, up and up, so last year was a bit down. That is biathlon. Actually, I was happy to see the season end, with all of the long travel, the Olympics and time changes, it was a tough year. Still, it was nice to end the season with good races; it helps our mind when you start back in May. You know that everything was not going downhill!
BW: You basically are the “Queen of the Single Mixed Relay;” you seem to be on the podium with any partner. What makes that competition so special for you?
LH: I think it is a really exciting race where you have to shoot both fast and clean; that is the main point. The Austrian team as a whole has been very good at the shooting range, some of the other nations looked up to us for that. But it gets more difficult each year. I have been in the single mixed relay five times and five times on the podium, but most of the time we were really lucky. In Canmore with Simon (Eder) and Kontiolahti with Julian (Eberhard), I was not so good. They carried our team and the others were not match. I really like it and my family at home is always excited and cheering when there is a single mixed relay.
BW: Thinking back to the beginning of your World Cup career and that first start, at home in Hochfilzen, how nervous were you that day?
LH: It was a relay and quite an experience. I slept here, instead of at home (in nearby Kitzbuhl). I called my mom the night before the race, nearly crying, because I wanted to go home! It was a great race. I shot 0-0, quite an experience in front of the home crowd.
BW: How hard is it to have a good race or get on the podium in front of that home crowd?
LH: It is really tough. At the WCH here, I did not have any good days, with all of the attention, expectations and media. But the mark of a good athlete is that you can get on the podium anywhere including at home.
BW: What is the difference between the Lisa Hauser in that first start in 2012 and the Lisa Hauser today?
LH: It was so easy back then. I was no one; I had no name of pressure. I was just the 18-year-old young Austrian girl. It was like, “If she does well, that is nice. If she does bad, okay; it does not matter. Last year, every time, I was not in the top 20, it was a bad race, the same problem for every athlete. Now I am more calm and confident in myself and now I know what I am capable of and what is possible.
BW: At the end of the season, would you be happy with the top 20 in the World Cup Total Score and one individual podium?
LH: Yes, I was 15th twice before and last year, 29th, so I will take a top 20.
BW: How excited are you to get on real snow?
LH: Very excited; I like to train on snow, much more than rollerskis! This is our final training block; 10 days with the men’s team…Norway always has a special feeling. It is a very calm place just before the season. If I was at home, there is always something to do. In Norway, it is just train, eat and sleep and focus. Being away at camp is no problem. Our team is very lucky; we get to come home after almost every World Cup and many people do not get that chance during the season, so a short camp is not a problem.
Hauser and her teammates started that 10-day on-snow training camp on Tuesday of this week in Trysil, Norway.
Photos: IBU/Evgeny Tumashov, Ernst Wukits, Christian Manzoni, Jerry Kokesh Lisa Theresa Hauser