I was focused 24 hours every day of the season. You try to do your best every day, every hour of the day. Even when it is Monday or Tuesday, and the competition is on Friday, you try to do your best on any training day. Winning the BMW IBU World Cup Total Score title is a long run. You have to be calm in your mind. One moment of break can destroy everything. You try to keep the momentum high. And never look at the final destination, just today: one day at a time.
Winning 19 times is a lot. It is actually crazy. I can’t say I can win 19 times again next season. What I can do is put down the work in the summer and try to bring my best performance on each competition day.
It is two different lifestyles. Being a top athlete on the road. And being at home with your wife and a three years old son. Both can be a weakness and a strength. During the summer you need a lot of free time to recover and relax because the day is always full. But my son still needs my attention and I can’t sleep for one, maybe two hours after the training like in the World cup. When winter comes, you almost turn off the family life. You travel in three-week blocks and it is easier to recover with focusing just on one’s needs.
Wet snow conditions suit me the best. They sap the energy of everyone early in the race, and then it comes down to the best skiing technique. That further gave me confidence in the shooting range: I knew a miss would most probably not be fatal.
I am an athlete that can go a lot of races. I know how to live with a lot of pressure every day. Wanting to win the Total Score every year is a mental thing. It takes the best out of you. Winning the Total Score three years in a row is quite tough. Last year I had a chance to give myself a break earlier than usual. We have a break after each season, but the start of summer training comes around quite fast. Longer than-planned vacation gave my body time to erase some patterns in the prone shooting that troubled me the whole season.
The preparation was more thorough than before the Olympic 2021/2022 season. My motivation was incredibly decisive. After Beijing 2022, I told myself to take a break and get back more powerful than ever before. I really believed in it. A belief can take you all the way.