After several seasons of struggles, Vittozzi turned the corner with Gold and Silver IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in August. Then this week, third place in the 15 km individual was followed up by a brilliant relay leg that set up her second place in Saturday’s sprint and fourth in Sunday’s pursuit: all culminating in the Italian wearing the Yellow Bib. Besides skiing faster than ever, Vittozzi is shooting a lights-out 95% and once again enjoying every day in biathlon.
She answered a few questions about biathlon and… Biathlonworld: What kept you from giving up your biathlon dreams in your darkest days over the past couple of years?
Lisa Vittozzi: To be honest, these have been very tough years, but I never really stopped believing in myself. Obviously, when there are moments as difficult as the ones I had in the past years, the confidence is not high. But in the bottom of my heart, I never lost the belief in my abilities, because I knew that you don’t finish second in the overall World Cup by chance. That and the fact that I am still young (27) helped me going forward. I really wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of overcoming all of this.
BW: What was the best advice you ever received and who did it come from?
LV: I have to say that Jonne Kähkönen and Edoardo Mezzaro really helped me changing the way I faced shooting, because this was the biggest issue I had. I was scared of making mistakes, especially when last year it became fear of shooting. By training with them, I found the ease and fun in what I am doing.
BW: You said after the individual that you worked very hard on your prone shooting, what was the key to regaining that skill?
LV: Apart from the mental approach, we also changed the shooting pattern. We tried to do it because I needed to break away from the old habits. During summer we noticed that not only it helped in that sense, but it worked better for me, so we continued on in that direction.
BW: You had a new coach in Jonne and a new rather young training group around you this summer, did the new input and youthful enthusiasm motivate you?
LV: When I see them, I do not see myself at their age, because I entered the A team when I was very young, but I always felt like part of that team. In a way, I felt the same way as I do today, despite the different age. To have such a young team around me actually gives me the sense of youth that I did not feel back then! We had great fun training together, but I hope they also learned something from me.
BW: Now for fun, can you tell us something about yourself that not everyone knows?
LV: Most people tell me that I am more fun than I seem from the outside. Like, I am mostly an introvert, but I do enjoy cracking jokes!
BONUS: What would be your perfect dinner of Italian specialities from starter to dessert?
LV: (With a big smile) … pasta amatriciana and tiramisu!
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Hendrik Osula