“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Sweden did not have a major lockdown like many other countries; it was, in some ways “not such a different spring from before” for Sebastian Samuelsson. Training almost exclusively in Oestersund, his main goal this year is improved shooting.

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Two Months: “Give myself a nine out of ten”

Samuelsson, after resumed training the first week of May, now has two solid months under his belt. “I am very satisfied. It has been a somewhat special preparation because we had no camps.” Having just completed a 3.5-week training block that ended with two test races, he admitted with a sly smile, “They went really good but I cannot tell you the results.” Summing up his early training season, “I would give myself a nine out of ten if I was the coach. Everything worked well; I have been healthy, no injuries. I have done everything I wanted to do; it is one of the best starts to a year that I have ever had.”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Motivated after Disappointing Season

He admitted that a good spring was important after a disappointing 2019/20 season. “I think I need that. Last season was not what I expected or hoped for…I was struggling with my shape and had nothing to fight for at the end of the season. I was just trying to have some good races and find the good feeling for my shooting. I think I needed the extra time to recover…Starting training this year, I was really motivated to show that I am better athlete than I was last season. Seeing that it works well now gives me confidence to do an even better job in the coming months.”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Improvements Take Time

His plan to become a better athlete revolves around improved shooting, a road he started down last summer. “I did a great job last year with my shooting (training); I changed a lot and tried to find what I needed to do to be better in shooting. I think I was a little naïve thinking I could make changes, pick it up fast (and have better results). It was harder than I thought. This year, from the start, I knew what I wanted to do and had a plan; I think with another year, it will pay off.”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

As Fast as Hofer

This spring, Samuelsson also worked on getting into position quicker to gain a few more precious seconds. “I practiced this new way of taking off my rifle. Peppe Femling on our team does this very well. I watched a video of him and tried to copy him. That is one thing that I did when I had the extra time this spring. Lukas Hofer is hard to beat in this style but I am trying to get close.”

Long Time at Home

One difference for Samuelsson and his teammates this year was the absence of camps outside of Sweden. “I have not missed that yet. To this point, it has been quite nice to stay at home. It has been many years since I had this many days at home. When we get to September and October and the season is closer, it is necessary to have some camps in other places. I hope we will be able to do that.”

Even though, the 23-year-old is happy to be some this summer, the sameness of every day is a bit hard to deal with. “You really need to keep focused on what day it is; to know what to do. We have tried to get to some different places. We were in Åre last week. It is only 100 km from Oestersund, but just being away for two or three days gives you a lot of new energy.”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Routine: Day after Day…

The daily routine at home changes little. “I am up at seven and a little bit after eight; I go to the shooting range. It takes about 10 minutes by car. We start zeroing by 8:15 and normally do a session on the rollerski track, intervals or long distance. Then we have lunch at 12, followed by an afternoon session at 3-4 pm. Then there is dinner and it is time to get ready for a new day. It just keeps going. Sometimes you wake up in the morning, are really tired and your legs are really heavy, and then you just want to take one session at a time. Then you get through both and realize there is another day after this…”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

“Alps in my apartment”

The 2018 Olympic Silver and Gold medalist added a new twist to his training repertoire this spring. “I like rollerskiing but I also like cycling a lot. This year, I invested in this bike trainer; I have done most of my biking inside. Oestersund is really flat and very windy. Now I can go on Zwift and do the Alps; the Alps are right in my apartment; I think that is really nice! Before I bought it, I thought it would be boring, but biking in the virtual world has actually been fun! There are a lot of other bikers there and you can try to catch their backs. Still I would like to go back to the Alps; the real thing is better than my apartment.”

Short Summer

Training can be a challenge in mid-Sweden’s quite short summer. “There are days when we are doing a ninety minute up-and downhill session and it is raining. You feel like it will never end…I think you learn to appreciate the nice, hot days. You train and go directly to the beach to do some swimming, because although today is nice, it could be the last day of summer. So far, it has been quite okay. It did not snow in May!”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Stina Nilsson’s Positive Energy

This current Swedish team has trained together for more than five years. The arrival of Olympic cross-country Gold medalist Stina Nilsson added a fresh face and mindset. “For her everything is new; she is really inspiring me. She enjoys every shooting session. Those of us who have shot for years go out for shooting; she is there with all of this positive energy which gives us a new perspective. Her enthusiasm is contagious.”

“Not Such a Different Spring” for Sebastian Samuelsson

Positive Outcomes

Samuelsson thinks there might be some positive outcomes from staying and training at home under the shadow of the coronavirus epidemic. “In the future we might see effect from this pandemic that we never thought of before. We have not been I so many camps and most of have enjoyed being home more. It has worked well with training. In the beginning we thought by June we might be disappointed by only being in Oestersund. In the future, you will look at this and say, ‘Is it really necessary to go away for so many days?’ Thinking about the environmental impact and things like that, you may realize that it is not necessary to go to Crete for biking. I think there can be some positives out of this when it is all over.”

Photos: IBU/Evgeny Tumashov, Jerry Kokesh, Sebastian Samuelsson, Svenska Skidskytteförbundet/Nicklas Olausson, Hakan Blidberg