Just a season ago, Lisa Vittozzi had her proper position and confidence in prone shooting gone missing. At the Season Opening in Oestersund last winter, she shot 31 times in the prone and hit 22 targets for a 71% accuracy. That triggered a more major crisis as she finished the season with just 61% prone accuracy. She closed 28 targets with 30 fired shots in the prone for a 93% accuracy in Kontiolahti last week! Her form in the standing shooting was even more impressive: she shot 29/30 for the week, which translates into 97% accuracy.
Three-time Total Score winner trained hard in the off-season - including on the treadmill he purchased in the spring and called ‘The Beast’ - to challenge for his fourth BMW IBU World Cup Total Score title this winter. And it showed in his Kontiolahti skiing performance: he was the fastest in 10 out of 13 (or 77% of the time) loops in the individual competitions.
Emma Lunder made a big statement of her own in Kontiolahti. She finished 4th in the Sprint, 5th in the Pursuit, and 20th in the Individual. That translated into a 9th place on average in the opening three competitions. A year ago, she was 43rd in the Sprint, 45th in the Pursuit, and 6th in the Individual. That made for a 31st place on average in last season's three opening competitions.
JT Boe won six times in Hochfilzen - four times in the Sprint and twice in the Pursuit - the most among active men. Dorothea Wierer counts two wins in Hochfilzen to her name, both in the Sprint, the most among active women.
We analysed the last Olympic cycle to determine who backed up a win in the Season opening with another triumph in Hochfilzen, where the snow conditions are usually (much) different. In the 2018/2019 season, Kaisa Makarainen won in the Pursuit in Pokljuka and Hochfilzen; JT Boe did the same in the Sprint. In the 2019/2020 season, Dorothea Wierer and JT won back-to-back sprints in Oestersund and Hochfilzen. Two winters ago, no one succeeded in the same discipline in Kontiolahti and Hochfilzen. In the Olympic 2021/2022, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland kicked off what turned out to be one of the best seasons ever performed by anybody. She won in the Pursuit in Oestersund and Hochfilzen.
Photo: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Hendrik Osula, IBU Archive