Lisa Theresa Hauser Captures IBU World Championships Mass Start Gold Medal
Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser’s first clean-shooting day of the season propelled her to the IBU Women’s 12.5 km Mass Start Gold medal in 36:05.7 this afternoon at Pokljuka. Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold of Norway, with one penalty won the Silver medal, 21.7 seconds back. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, despite three penalties won a finish line with teammate Marte Olsbu Roeiseland to take the Bronze medal, 23 seconds back.
Hauser Overwhelmed with Victory
Hauser with her second career victory was overwhelmed by the moment. “I do not know what to say now. I had four times zero for the first time of the year and it just happened in the World Championships. It is just unbelievable. I am here now and totally on top of the podium: World Champion in the mass start, so I do not know what to say…”
She explained what led up to her perfect day on the range, including some confidence-building self-talk. “I said, ‘Lisa calm down; it is about the medal today again. Don’t do the same misses as in the individual. I knew I could shoot really well in standing. (Into the last standing) we Bendika Baiba and me, had a little gap between the rest of the girls. I heard she had a miss. I was just faithful, knowing everything counts; four times zero is just amazing…Coming to the shooting range, the last 300 meters, I thought, ‘you can do it today!”
Olsbu Roeiseland with a single penalty finished fourth, .6 seconds behind Eckhoff. Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, also with one penalty finished fifth, 48.9 seconds back, while Germany’s Franziska Preuss with two penalties, finished sixth, 52.6 seconds back.
Eckhoff Sets the Pace
The last competition day at the 2021 IBU World Championships was as beautiful as much of the week, sending the women out for their last competition under a blue sky with very spring-like +6C air temperature and again negligible win on the shooting range. Eckhoff, Wierer and Oeberg set the pace on the first 2.5 km loop. Elisa Gasparin, Olsbu Roeiseland and Selina Gasparin were the first to clean the first prone, leading sixteen of the 30-woman field from the stadium penalty-free, all within 11 seconds. Eckhoff with one penalty trailed by 18 seconds, while the Red bib Julia Simon fell completely our of contention with three penalties.
Hauser Out First
In the second prone, Olsbu Roeiseland had a penalty, while Hauser cleaned to take the lead with surprising Baiba Bendika, Irina Kazakevich and the rebounding Eckhoff in the next four seconds. The group of 10-for-10 shooters narrowed to eight with Vanessa Hinz, Tandrevold and Elisa following and Pidhrushna farther back. Eckhoff quickly moved alongside Hauser to control the pace over the next loop.
Penalties on Lane 1 and 2
Tandrevold and Eckhoff shot on lanes one and two in the first standing stage, but both ended up on the penalty loop. Hauser cleaned as did the Latvian, leaving together. Eckhoff came off the penalty loop third in tandem with Vittozzi, but the pair was a distant 19 seconds back. The Austrian dictated the pace with her rival gamely hanging on as they headed to the deciding final standing stage. Eckhoff gained a few seconds but did not close the gap.
Perfect Shooting Guarantees Gold Medal
Hauser calmly cleaned the last standing stage to seal her first IBU World Championships Gold medal. Bendika missed twice while Eckhoff picked up one penalty. In between, Vittozzi cleaned to leave in second 18 seconds back while Olsbu Roeiseland did the same going out third but another 10 seconds back, with Tandrevold just two seconds farther back.
Eckhoff Sprints to Bronze
The Austrian continued to stretch her lead as Vittozzi fell back. Tandrevold and Olsbu Roeiseland were in second and third by the 11.6 km split, with Eckhoff still nine seconds behind her two teammates. Hauser cruised into the stadium, slapping hands with a few teammates before hopping across the finish line sporting a huge smile. Coming down the last hill, Tandrevold was in control of the Silver medal, but a Bronze battle ensued between Eckhoff and Olsbu Roeiseland. In the last 20 meters, Eckhoff sprinted furiously to pass her teammate for the Bronze medal.
“Use all my powers in the last two minutes”
Tandrevold detailed her last loop experience that brought her the Silver medal. “First I was just trying to catch Marte and have her back. I saw we were coming closer to Lisa and when we passed her, I thought, ‘this is good. We are fighting for Silver, not for Bronze and fourth place.’ I just tried to be behind Marte and was waiting for the finish sprint. Then I heard Tiril was coming from behind. I thought, ‘Shit, because we train together every day and I have never beat her ever in a sprint. So, I had to just go and try to use all my powers in the last two minutes to get the gap.”
Eckhoff’s Six Medals
Eckhoff adding the Bronze medal to her collection ended these IBU WCH as the most decorated woman with four Gold medals, one Silver and one Bronze. She explained how the disappointment of Antholz 2020 turned into success at Pokljuka 2021. “I guess that Championship made this Championship so good. I was so eager to manage it better. I never give up and now I got a lot of medals.”
Photos: IBU/Thibaut, Manzoni