Wierer "could retire today with no regrets"

Dorothea Wierer is about to start her 14th season in the BMW IBU World Cup, yet she feels the same doubts as every year at the end of the summer: she questions her shape and prefers not to set any goals for the winter to come.

She is satisfied with what the sport has given her and could retire today fully happy with her resumé: two Total Score globes, four World Championships titles, and three Olympic medals. Who wouldn’t be?

BW: Let’s start with an easy question: how was your summer?

DW: My summers are always a nightmare (laughs). I always have many ideas about what I want to do, there are many things on my mind, and I tend to have many appointments, so my time runs out quickly. So, it is hard for me to focus on my athlete’s life at 110%. But I am used to this by now, I guess.

BW: What was the highlight of your summer then?

DW: Safe to say my holidays (laughs). As I said, it may not be a great summer if I think about training and races, but I managed to get to know new people and new environments, which I strive for. If I had to choose one, I’d say attending the MotoGP.

BW: Is giving yourself room not to be only an athlete in summer the reason you managed to stretch your career for longer than you ever thought it would last?

DW: Probably. I definitely competed for far longer than I had planned, being way more competitive than I had ever thought I would be. I have finished nine consecutive seasons among the top 10 in the Total Score. That means a lot to me and kept me motivated to keep going.

Header iconBI34 - Dorothea Wierer - Total Score Wins

BW: Speaking of consistency, last winter you finished second in the Total Score. Is Total Score still your goal, or- maybe, with years passing - you are trying to focus more on medal events?

DW: I believe that my strength lies in that ability to perform at a constant level. I have never been the kind of athlete that peaks at the big event, also because before those I have always a lot of questions and doubts.

Some athletes are better at prioritising major events, even by skipping some races beforehand, but this culture was never part of our team.

BW: What should we expect from the next season's fight for the women's Total Score title?

DW: I believe it will be in line with what we have seen in the past years: a big fight with many contenders. There will be more youngsters stepping up, someone who maybe finds a good streak of form or manages to find the consistency. I doubt it will be like among men with Johannes Thingnes Boe, who can do almost all he wants, and the others only trying to stop him. Never say never, but usually, the battle for women's title is more open and, I believe, more interesting to follow.

BW: Does that situation make it more thrilling also for you?

DW: Yes and no. At this point in my career, I feel I have more goals outside of the sport than in biathlon. So, I always have to find new ones to keep myself interested and motivated to work at my best.

BW: So, what are the goals outside of the sport?

DW: I cannot spill the beans yet, but there are quite a few things that I am working on. Primarily, it is about what I will do after biathlon. Once I am allowed to tell you more, I will (smiles).

BW: And what are the sports goals instead?

DW: I am taking it almost day-by-day, or, at best, week-by-week. To keep myself motivated, I need to see where I stand and how my form is and then set specific goals. Obviously, it is easier if things are going well, but this is normal for everyone. I prefer to let things surprise me whenever I score a good result rather than expect it. Obviously, this does not mean I am not working hard for every race: nobody wants to show up in poor form at a world-class event.

BW: We know, you have been working on your shooting position this summer…

DW: Well, I work on it every year… because I always have doubts and hardly trust myself for too long. So it is not really something unexpected!

BW: It is good you can count on something…

DW: Absolutely (laughs).

Header iconBI34 - Dorothea Wierer - Nove Mesto

BW: This year, the BMW IBU World Championships will be in Nove Mesto na Morave, a venue that most probably brings good memories to you?

DW: I had an awesome IBU Junior World Championships 2011 winning three gold medals. And then the first-ever medal for Italy in the Women's relay at the BMW IBU World Championships 2013 also happened in Nove Mesto. I have always had good races there, and I like the tracks…, but it also depends on the snow conditions. I like it when it’s wintry and not so much when the conditions are warm and slushy. But it is also a great venue because of the fans, probably the best we have on the tour. The layoff of the stadium makes the sound different than anywhere else, and Czechs love the sport and show tremendous support to all athletes. We will see what my form will look like when we get there.

Header iconBI34 - Dorothea Wierer-Antholz

BW: Speaking of finding a good form at the main event… contrary to what you said earlier, in Antholz in 2020, you managed to find the form of a lifetime at the best possible time. How did you manage to do it?

DW: I don’t know, honestly. Those World Championships were bigger than anything I have ever experienced, bigger than the Olympics. Everyone expected me to win a medal, everyone but me. I was sure that, given the premises, it could only go wrong. Then we won the medal in the Mixed relay, and suddenly the team's atmosphere got so much better. Everyone was put under pressure by such a situation, not just the athletes, but also the coaches, and waxers. It was a relief. And then I just went with the flow as everything simply clicked.

BW: In the chance of competing at the Olympics under similar circumstances, do you think this experience will help you or is it scarier to go through something similar again?

DW: In all frankness, I do not know yet if I will make it until 2026. I know everyone is asking me about it, but I will make up my mind after this season and not only based on sports results. All I can say is that I am satisfied with my career and all I achieved. If I retired today, I would have no regrets. If ten years ago you had asked me, I would have not believed I would be on the podium of the World Cup once, so I exceeded my expectations!

BW: Not only in terms of results, are you satisfied with your legacy? Biathlon has never been as popular as it is right now in Italy.

DW: I think this is fantastic! I remember so well how few we used to be on the national cup when I was younger. These days, I see so many young athletes competing, it is a beautiful sight. Now, we have to make sure that those who are motivated do not leave the sport early. But it’s a great starting point. The national team has done a great job and I see a few very talented youngsters coming… not only potentially great athletes but interesting personalities, and this is also important for the future popularity of biathlon in Italy.

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