Oberhof is a complex venue that keeps asking biathletes all sorts of questions. The conditions on the shooting range are unpredictable: it can be windy, it can be foggy. The backdrop is very loud and cheers pound in your ears. The tracks are very demanding, and one needs to ski with control. The biggest mistake is to rush from the start and then bump into the Birxsteig with a wildly racing pulse. I liked competing in Oberhof as I often returned from the Christmas break with fresh legs. And I also know that Beni Doll loves the venue in Oberhof, which is good news for German fans.
I was part of the German team at the BMW IBU World Championships Ruhpolding 2012. I fell sick shortly before the World Championships. I wanted to perform well, and I applied enormous pressure on myself. It didn't work out as well as I had wished, and I have mixed memories of my experience at the home-bound World championships. My approach was not the right one. One should enjoy competing at home and use fans' energy as inspiration. This brings me to Denise Herrmann-Wick. She is in the shape of her life. She is an Olympic and World Champion already. I think she is in the position to embrace Oberhof 2023 and strike a perfect competition-stress-joy balance.
Johannes Thingnes Boe is towering above everyone else this winter: the form he is in, throw anything at him, and he will master that with no problems. Can he equal or better Marte Olsbu Roeiseland’s tally of seven medals, five of those gold, from Antholz-Anterselva? Yes, he can. But even champions of his calibre feel the stress of main events. Johannes needs to take one competition at a time and see what that brings.
With the women’s field wide open, I see the following names as the potential medal winners: Julia Simon, Oeberg sisters, Chevalier sisters, and Denise. Lisa Theresa Hauser has good memories from Oberhof. The same goes for Lisa Vittozzi. Marketa Davidova knows how to compete at the World Championships. And we shall not forget Olsbu Roeiseland. She is one of the best, and her form has had a positive trajectory since she returned to the World cup. I would also put Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold in the mix.
Oberhof 2023 will open with Mixed Relays, a prestigious contest. My podium tip: