It is truly fascinating to watch with what dominance Johannes Thingnes Boe is competing this season. He won Five Gold medals out of five available in Oberhof, and he can clearly finish the World championships with seven. I think he opened the door for seven Gold medals with a Single Mixed Relay where he had to do a penalty loop with Norway still coming out on top. The conditions in Oberhof play into his hands as well. He has always been the fastest skier, but the demanding tracks in Oberhof suit him almost perfectly. We saw in the Sprint and in the Individual - where he was also lucky - that he trusts his process on the shooting range and continues his cadence even when the bullets hit the edge of the targets. He is mentally incredibly strong. I would say he is currently the personalisation of an ideal biathlete.
Denise Herrmann-Wick is thriving at her home World championships, and we had a lovely exchange after her medals. She approached me just to say that I, for sure, must know how she feels, with the entire nation's expectations on her shoulders. It is a conversation one can have only with someone who has lived through it. I have never asked Magdalena Neuner for advice during my career, but - just like now with Denise - we both know what we had been through. What impressed me the most about the German team is the spirit: everybody is pulling in the same direction. The tune ‘Der Zug hat keine Bremse’ is the unifying motto. And that has helped other athletes to perform well. In these intense two weeks, some perhaps missed registering that Sophia Schneider and Hanna Kebinger were very close to the very best - even medals - on some occasions.
Hanna Oeberg mentioned re-found happiness in biathlon as a basis for her success in Oberhof 2023. Biathlon is a particularly demanding sport. Everyone has phases where questions like - Is it worth it? - enter your brain. The period with a search for answers is harsh. But when you emerge from it, you feel joy and lightness. And good things start to happen again. Hanna has entered a phase like that in Oberhof. Her confidence is high, and I expect more from her on Sunday.
The closing weekend will be a package of drama. Things will evolve around Johannes and his quest for greatness. Seeing him beaten will be a surprise. The changing weather will additionally mix things up in the women’s field. I have one piece of advice for everyone: if the conditions are windy - as the weather predictions say - accept them and focus on what you need to do. The rest is out of your hands anyway.