The champ who forgot about her triumph

In the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, Lisa Theresa Hauser had ten Top 10 finishes in BMW IBU World Cup competitions, but never made it to the podium (except in the SMR). In 2020/21, everything changed; suddenly her resume boasted seven podium finishes, including two victories and a huge step up to sixth in the Women’s World Cup Total Score. After such a meteoric rise, Hauser remains the same unassuming, ever-smiling lady as before, training as hard as ever, enjoying family time while juggling the demands of her newfound fame.

Call me “World Champion”

Hauser capped her brilliant season with the IBU World Championships Women’s Mass Start Gold medal plus Silver medals in the pursuit and mixed relay. Yet, after the celebration and excitement died down, the Austrian put it all in the back of her mind until, as she related recently, “A few days ago, Gerald Honig said, ‘Hey Lisa, you need to be prepared because they will introduce you as World Champion at the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival.’ I never thought much about it before, but then I started getting really nervous. Of course, I am proud of what I achieved, but it is still a different situation to start a race and be called World Champion.”

“Lucky to have lived this!”

The whole season but especially the handful of medals were beyond the 27-year-old’s wildest dreams. “It was amazing. I had a really good season before the World Championships with my first podiums in Oberhof and my first World Cup victory in Antholz. The Pokljuka World Championships were more than my goal before the season: to reach the podium and I did that in January.” January and February were a bit of a blur. “In winter, it is always race after race and every day something new happens. It happened so fast. In April and May, I sat down on the couch and watched some of my best races and found myself crying. It was so emotional! I am really thankful to be so lucky to have lived this.”

Self-confidence and Notoriety

She explained what took her from podium wannabe to World Champion. “Before last season, I was close to the podium many times. Last year, I started the season with really good running performances, but had a little trouble on the shooting range. After the New Year, I do not know what happened, but there was a switch in my body or in my head and I knew I could shoot well. After that it was a flow: one podium is amazing and you have self-confidence. I cannot explain it but it was somehow easy to do good races.”

The success brought more notoriety and demands on her time from sponsors and those looking to add her sparkling personality to their event or promotion. “This summer was different than the last summers. I had to be careful so that my rest days were not too full. I know that what I reached was historic for Austrian women’s biathlon, but I had to be careful about rest and recovery. I had to say no a lot…Still, I met a lot of amazing people outside of my family, friends and sports friends and that was quite special.”

Surprising Sprint Podium

The Reith/Kitzbühel native’s special season found her surprisingly on the podium in every individual discipline, but one of those was more surprising than the others. “It was surprising that my first podium happened in a sprint race. I never expected that, totally not. I always thought individual, maybe in a good mass start or a pursuit, but never in a sprint race for my first podium. And I did it again the next week. I waited so long for the first podium and then it happened so fast.”

Racing Fun

One of the keys to Hauser’s success last season was simply power. She was strong and aggressive in every competition from November through mid-March. “I had over 30 races; I competed in every single race, every relay and every individual race. And, I am glad to say that I had no race I can say was really bad. It was really cool that I had a good feeling in every race. That was incredible; those 30 races are so much work for your body. You know, it is not always so much fun to race but this year I had so much strength that every single race was fun!”

Motivation

The success and good feelings sent her motivation off the charts. “It is amazing to reach such big goals that you had for 10 or 15 years. I thought about last season nearly every day training this summer. It was extra motivating…During the summer, I tried to make my shooting more stable, because I had a bad-shooting December, was good for two months and the last trimester under my level. So, I just worked on keeping my speed and consistency. You have to shoot zero or one mistake, not more. That is the goal.”

Simple Goal: Consistency

With her best-ever season in the rearview mirror, a solid summer of training in the bank, and Beijing 2022 ahead, Hauser’s goals are simple. “Everyone asks about the Olympics, but my goal is to be consistent over the whole season, at the shooting range and on the tracks. That is my main goal, because it is always hard to have a season like last year and then do it again. Everyone expects podiums, but my goal is to show really good performances; it does not matter (what the place).”

Home and selfies

Despite her newfound stardom, Lisa Theresa Hauser remains grounded. “All in all, life is pretty much the same. I have the same people around. I do not get so much time at home, but when I am, I enjoy being there with them. When I am at home, on the mountains, shopping or drinking coffee, a lot of people talk to me, ask for autographs…and selfies, it does not matter even in the mountains. But this is nice.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Jerry Kokesh, Lisa Hauser (Stefan Adelsberger)

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