Experts' Corner: Kaisa Makarainen

Kaisa Makarainen joins us for the final Expert Corner of this winter. The Three-time Total Score Winner weighs in on the Boe-battle for the Total Score on the Men’s Side and what could be a dramatic four-way showdown in the Women’s Total Score.

One thing is clear before the last competitions in Canmore: Tarjei is really eager to challenge his brother – we saw that already in the World Championships. He won the Total Score in 2011, the same year I did, so I have always been following Tarjei because of that. It’s kind of funny and cool to see that he’s still capable of being one of the very best ones, even 13 years later. In Biathlon, everything is possible and Tarjei knows that.

Johannes of course has more pressure to defend the Total Score. Yes, he had a bad day in the Soldier Hollow Sprint – but you almost never see him with two bad days in a row. He’s always capable to fix what went wrong for the next day – and in the pursuit he looked so focused on the shooting, and he knew he can do it and what he has to do. Tarjei has the opportunity but looking at the last few years, it’s difficult to see Johannes let go of his lead – he always does good races in the important moments.

In the Women’s Total Score, it is a little different story. Ingrid has a 73 point-lead but we have seen in the pursuit on Sunday that the standing shooting can still give her problems. So, she is going into the last week with the yellow bib – but maybe also with this question mark.

If I have to give any advice: No matter what, she should focus on the technical part rather and not “what happens if I miss three” or “how many positions will I drop”. It is tough but it’s important to stay on that moment and focus on what you can do on each day and in each shooting. She has to believe she can do it and she is capable. For example, I can admit in 2018 I thought about the Total Score in Holmenkollen. I had two bad races (40th+ 22nd) and lost the yellow bib to Anastasiya (Kuzmina) before the final World Cup week – my ski coach then did really simple trainings with me, found the right words and my goal was just to do good races – and this really worked.

For the others, it can maybe help that they know Ingrid is not so stable in the standing – so they know they have their possibilities but at the same time, I always wanted to beat everyone at their best and it never tastes so sweet when you win because your biggest opponent is struggling. But Lisa, Justine and Julia might feel the pressure too – they have to do three good races as well.

Even if I am a little worried for her shooting, I hope Ingrid can hold on to her lead from almost all the winter. Yes, she had a big drop in the World Championships but I really appreciate how she came back in Holmenkollen and also had two good races in Soldier Hollow. I would be happy if Ingrid can do it – but I’m not as sure as with Johannes.

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