This week, after a clean-shooting sprint third place and a comeback mass start seventh place at Annecy Le Grand Bornand, he answered five questions…plus a holiday bonus sixth!
Biathlonworld: Solid start to the season, strong on the tracks as usual and a clean sprint, what did you do to get that zero-zero this week?
Benedikt Doll: I really did nothing special. I always had a good feeling on the shooting range, but never had the chance to shoot clean. I am really happy that on Thursday it worked for the first time this winter, even though I did nothing special this week.
BW: The German men’s team seems revitalized, what changed this summer to get back where you are relay contenders, and someone is battling for the podium in almost every race?
BD: In the last season, some of the younger athletes had a bigger gap, especially in ski times, but they closed that gap this summer. That is why we have six or when we take the best two in the IBU Cup, eight German men who can compete and fight for the podium. Of course, I think the Norwegian team is way stronger, but we have a team that can fight in the relay with the French and Swedish teams.
BW: Has the Oberhof World Championships added to your motivation this season?
BD: Of course, I am really motivated to compete in Oberhof, but the past two years I missed the power generated by the audience. It just came back when we had the first race in Hochfilzen with many German fans. It is a really nice feeling to have this audience back that pushes you on the track. That was the moment when I had this feeling and got this big motivation for Oberhof, because I know there will be a big party there. I am really looking forward to being there in February.
BW: What is it like to suddenly be the “old man” on the team?
BD: It is okay. I think in the last years it was not a change from one year to the next when one of the older athletes (like Arnd Peiffer) stopped and now I am the oldest. Still, it feels really good to be able to compete with the younger athletes and have good races. That is the most important thing. As a team, we have a really good atmosphere. I like things as they are now.
BW: Has becoming a father and having family responsibilities changed your approach to biathlon?
BD: It has changed a lot. I became more relaxed. Now the most important thing for me is at home; it isn’t biathlon anymore. Maybe it changed in a little way how I do races and handle the races that are not so successful. It does not take so much time anymore to get over the bad races, It only takes an hour and then I realize that the most important things are at home.
BW: Holiday Bonus Question: What is on the menu for the Doll Family Christmas dinner?
BD: Christmas dinner is always the same. I will not cook this year or like every Christmas, my parents always cook. On Christmas Eve, it is potato salad with beef, goose with dumplings. I really like it and am really excited to enjoy this good festive meal!
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Jasmin Walter