A long road to Silver

Silver medal in the Individual at the BMW IBU World Championships 2024 in Nove Mesto was a reward for all past efforts for Janina Hettich-Walz. It also opened a new outlook on her possibilities in the coming winters.

Hettich-Walz made her World Cup debut in Oslo-Holmenkollen at the end of the 2018/2019 season. The last four seasons brought her joy in the women's relay - as she won her first-ever medal at the BMW IBU World Championships in Pokljuka 2021 - and also many weeks spent in the IBU Cup, where she searched for a form that would make her a permanent World Cup competitor.

Your performance in the Individual - which led to the silver medal - was perfect. What state of mind were you in for those 40 minutes?

The Individual was a very special race for me. I felt strong on the skis. I didn’t second guess anything on the shooting range and closed all 20 targets. At first, it was impossible to comprehend what I had just achieved.

The German skis did not look very competitive in the first week of the World Championships. Yet your team used the day off to reboot, and Germany rebounded in the Individual with two medals, you and Doll. What happened in the backstage?

The whole team sat down on Monday - an off day - before the Championships continued with the Individual competitions - and we searched for solutions. It was very challenging for the waxing teams as the conditions varied on different parts of the tracks. But all of the efforts got rewarded with the Individual: we really had top material!


What was the spirit in the team in the Individual as three of the German athletes shot 20/20?

Selina (Grotian), Vanessa (Voigt), and I all shot 20/20, and Franziska (Preuss) had just two misses. It was an incredible shooting achievement for the team. On a day like that, you feel that everyone was rewarded for weeks, months, and years of dedicated hard work.

Does this medal change your outlook on your career?

Definitely. You dream about a medal in the World Championships. And when you achieve it, you suddenly realise you have reached a peak, and many things - that seemed remote - are within your reach.

You made your debut at the World Cup level at the BMW IBU World Cup in Oslo-Holmenkollen in the 2018/2019 season. How did you evolve as an athlete and person in the last five seasons?

It was a long road - and not constantly smooth - from my Oslo debut to my silver in Nove Mesto. I had a successful 20202/2021 season as I was a member of the relay that won at the World Cup in Oberhof and a silver medal at the World Championships in Pokljuka. I also scored my first-ever Flower ceremony finish in the Individual in Antholz-Anterselva in 2020/2021. The following two seasons were challenging. Things aligned in this season, and I am very happy about it!

The German team is very competitive in 2023/2024. Did dynamics change compared to the seasons before?

I can say that we have had a group breakthrough in the past two seasons. Denise Herrmann-Wick was our leader and also the best athlete. She set standards very high. After her retirement, we became a much more balanced group. We push each other in every training. Each of us also worked very hard in the off-season. One could see that when we gathered for first-team camps.

Does the pressure from your world-class juniors - competing successfully on the IBU CUP level - make you work harder?

Yes! Germany has an incredibly talented group of junior women who already compete for their place in the World Cup team. As an experienced athlete, you feel that pressure. It also makes you work harder.

Header iconBI38 - Janina Hettich-Walz: Nove Mesto Glory

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