Head 2 Head
Denise Herrmann skyrocketed from a biathlon novice to World Cup winner in just over one year; an amazing ascent in a sport that sometimes takes years to reach the top level. Herrmann did have a jump start as a world-class cross-country skier who won a relay Bronze as part of the German Team at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. She has been a passionate skier since a very early age, growing up in east central Germany’s Erzgebirge forests. After high school, she decided to pursue a career in sports, as a soldier in the Bundeswehr Sports Support Group. Herrmann had numerous podiums in FIS competitions, especially in sprints. After a less-than-expected 2015-16 season, she took up a new challenge: biathlon.
The speedy Herrmann proved to be a quick learner. She won her first-ever international competition, the 2016 season-opening IBU Cup sprint at Beitostølen, despite six penalties! That amazing track speed gave her almost instant “legendary” status. She spent much of the season on the IBU Cup circuit, eventually competing in the final three World Cups in her rookie season. Another full summer of training, her hard work on the shooting range paid off with victories in the German Summer Championships. Regarding her transition from cross-country to biathlon, she admitted, “the change took some time, then last year I said, ‘now or never’ and now I am here (on the podium).”
Her Sjusjøen IBU Cup sprint win punched her ticket to World Cup 1 in Östersund. Just over a year after her IBU Cup debut, the 29-year-old claimed her first wins/World Cup podiums with a sprint/pursuit double in Östersund, hitting 27-of-30 shots! At the time, she commented, “It feels perfect in this moment... I knew that if I had good shooting, everything could happen with this cross-country shape. I had a dream that this day could come, but it feels amazing.” Going into 2018, Hermann was the top-ranked German woman in the World Cup Total Score, in fourth place.