The Blink win was a nice step for Persson, who finished 19th in last season’s World Cup Total Score, had two fourth places in the last two mass starts of the season and led off Sweden’s Gold medal-winning women’s relay team. It was the kind of performance that Swedish Coach Johannes Lukas suggested she was ready for earlier in the summer in this article.
Now the 28-year-old Swedish veteran will follow up the win with two more weeks of summer competitions: the Swedish Championships in Oestersund, followed by the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding.
Biathlonworld: Did you have any goals going into the Blink weekend?
Linn Persson: Of course, it is really good for the shooting training. You cannot be more intense than there. You have to do everything so fast. I think that is really good training. I did not go there in my best shape but it felt good and I am satisfied.
BW: You’ve had many good mass starts and pursuits, does that experience help you in this type of competition?
LP: I guess it does, but I have this type of competition almost every day in training with my teammates.
BW: After winning your semifinal, did you think you could win the final?
LP: Let’s say I skied fast and missed really fast (in the quarter and semifinals). In the final, I actually slowed down in the shooting range. I felt I was on my limits in the skiing. I took some chances before, but in the final, I thought, ‘okay, even if it is such a short penalty loop, it is still better to hit.’ I took a little longer time on the shooting range and it paid off.
BW: Was it nice to have the spectators and the normal atmosphere that has been missing the last couple of years?
LP: It is nice to have all the people there. It is fun to have the spectators in place again; much more fun.
BW: As for beating the Norwegians at home?
LP: Actually, it is always nice to beat everyone; it does not really matter which nationality!
BW: Could you feel the pressure from Lou Jeanmonnot in the last lap or two?
LP: The last loop was really hard, because she was just behind. I did not know exactly who it was. I just knew I had to go as fast as I could in the last loop. In the last 100 meters I looked over my shoulder and thought, ‘if I do not fall now, I have it!’ There were four of us at the last shooting, so it was really close. I am really happy that I could do such a good performance in that situation. It is not always that I can do that.
BW: There were three competitions on Saturday, what was that like; harder than a training session?
LP: There is so much time in between them. The hardest part was getting ready for the next one. The race part was not that hard even though you are getting tired. It is kind of special because we usually do not race like that. To recover between the races all I did was lay in my bed and eat candy! That is all you can do: eat, drink and rest.
BW: What did that tell you about your summer training?
LP: I do not know, but it feels like I have had a real good summer. I did everything I needed to do in the way I wanted. I hope it is a good sign.
BW: With the Swedish Champs and the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships up next, what do you have to do better?
LP: The big thing is that you are not used to that high intensity. You get to the shooting range and it is like…It takes some races to get learn again to control the intensity and learn how to push harder again. It is a chance to practice how to get in good shape and see what training works. You cannot do that in the winter but can experiment now. This is also a good opportunity to test yourself and see where your training is. I have never been to the Summer World Championships; that will be nice. We will see how it goes.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni