Five Burning Questions for Lovro Planko

If you ever wondered what it feels like to shoot clean and get your first-ever top 10 in a BMW IBU World Cup competition, just look at this photo of Slovenia's Lovro Planko; no description necessary. Planko, ninth in last week’s Lenzerheide Men’s 10 km sprint, earned a spot in his first-ever mass start, 11 months after winning an IBU OECH Bronze medal at the same venue. The three-time IBU YJWCH medalist who moved directly from the IBU Junior Cup to the Olympic Winter Games and World Cup in the 2021/22 season is now poised for continued success.

After his big weekend in Switzerland, Planko answered five burning questions and one more about his holiday plans.

Biathlonworld: What was it like to shoot clean and get your first Top 10 in a World Cup all in one day?

Lovro Planko: I waited a long time for a clean shooting to happen. After a good relay performance in Hochfilzen I had the feeling Lenzerheide could be the place to do it. After my second shooting I heard I had a chance to be in the top 10; I was using my last atoms of power when the adrenaline kicked in. It definitely was one of the best performances of my life. Being in the Top 10 is a dream come true. I knew I was capable of doing it; I am very happy it finally happened for real.

BW: Your big sprint breakthrough came in Lenzerheide, the same place where you twice won medals, why are you so good at this venue?

LP: Lenzerheide is for sure one of my favorite venues. It is where I had my first real biathlon race, I think 7 years back in the Alpen cup. I performed well at the IBU YJWCH and last year’s European Championships. For me, it is definitely a venue where big things happen. That makes me really excited about the 2025 IBU World Championships. The track is hard, the views are out of this world, and the weather is always nice. What more could I ask for?

BW: The start to this season is the best in your young career, what did you do this past summer that took you to another level?

LP: After last season I was kind of disappointed with my performances (except IBU OECH). I knew if I wanted to race on a higher level I needed to invest more. I trained more than in previous seasons and took shooting more seriously. I am really glad the hard work shows. I cannot go past this question without mentioning the support of my girlfriend family who helped me a lot during the season’s preparations.

BW: How much has Coach Ricco Gross helped you mature as a biathlete?

LP: Working with Ricco is an honour. I am really satisfied with his coaching style. We discuss training, shooting and biathlon in general a lot. I learn something new every day; he taught me how to be a smart athlete. His attention to detail is not something you see every day. Many times, little things make a lot of difference. There is almost nothing he did not experience in his career, so he has answers when any questions arise.

BW: Getting that Top 10 must have been a goal: what is next up on your goal list?

LP: It definitely was a big goal. I fully realized what I had accomplished at the pursuit start. I looked left and right and there were only top athletes around me; a sight I want to see more often. The goal is to be on top, getting there, step-by-step. I want to be more consistent on the shooting range; with that, I am sure that the results will come.

Biathlonworld Bonus: What will you do to celebrate the Christmas and New Years holidays?

LP: Right now, I am exhausted, so first on the plan are a few rest days. Then the work won’t stop. I will definitely find time to be with my family, my girlfriend and my dog Slash. On New Year’s Eve I will wait for midnight with my girlfriend Eva and some friends.

Stay tuned and watch for Lovro to become one of those top athletes as the calendar turns to 2024 and beyond.

Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni

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