Five Burning Questions for Anna Gandler

Anna Gandler has been tagged as a rising star for the Austrian team since winning IBU YWCH Sprint Silver and Pursuit Gold medals in 2017 and 2020, respectively. After two IBU Cup seasons, she jumped to the World Cup, closing 2022/23 with a sterling 7th place in the Oslo Holmenkollen Mass Start. After matching that personal best in the 2024 IBU WCH Mass Start, Gandler has been on a roll, making her first-ever World Cup Flower Ceremony a couple of days ago with sixth in the Canmore Women’s Sprint. She then anchored Austria’s Women’s Relay to a best-ever 4th place, shooting clean along the way, closing the weekend with 8th in the pursuit, all within a 43-hour window.

While packing up for the trip from Utah to Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Anna answered five burning questions plus one about what surprised her during her first trip to the USA.

Biathlonworld: Nove Mesto started off your string of good competitions, what changed between Antholz and the World Championships?

Anna Gandler: I had some health problems (colds) already in summer and over Christmas again. And unfortunately, every single cold threw me back and I had to start from the beginning. I had to use the competitions as hard training, so to speak, to get back into shape. After Antholz we did some hard but very good training in Obertilliach. Luckily in Nove Mesto I was back in shape again.

BW: Did you ever imagine before the season that you would get a personal best in a sprint at 1800-meter Soldier Hollow?

AG: No, never. If somebody had told me that before, I would have said that he is crazy. Normally, I have big problems in altitude as you can see the last two years in Antholz. But right now, I have a much better shape than the last two times in Antholz, so maybe that is the solution.

BW: You shot clean in the Hochfilzen and Soldier Hollow Sprints and had a single penalty in the WCH Sprint, is the sprint now your favorite discipline?

AG: The Sprint was always my favorite discipline but it is also the competition where I think the most, because it is usually followed by the pursuit. So that‘s why I was not always shooting well in it.

BW: What have you learned about yourself in the last few weeks?

AG: That I can also race in altitude 😂

BW: You said that making the Flower Ceremony fulfilled your goal for the season, is there still room for an even better result in the next week?

AG: For sure… the next goal now is a podium!

Biathlonworld Bonus: What has surprised you the most on this trip to the USA and Wild West?

AG: I have never been in America before. I was surprised how big everything is, especially the houses and cars. And the people are so kind here. They cheered for everybody and there was such a good atmosphere on the track.

With three more competitions this week, watch as Anna Gandler takes her best shot at another personal best, maybe a place on the podium!

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Vianney Thibaut

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