Vittozzi Tops in 15 km; First Individual Gold Medal

Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi’s shooting range perfection and solid track performance carried her to a 40:29.9 time and her first-ever individual IBU World Championships Gold medal this evening, taking the title in the Women’s 15 km Individual. The Gold medal came on the heels of her Silver medal in Sunday’s Women’s 10 km Pursuit. With tonight’s victory, Vittozzi now has a full set of IBU WCH medals in the 15 km, having previously won Bronze last year in Oberhof and Silver at Oestersund in 2019.

“Right place, right moment”

Vittozzi, beyond delighted with her victory called it, “really amazing. I did perfect race, maybe the best ever, in the right place, in the right moment. So, it’s fantastic, unbelievable.”

“Everything went perfect”

Upon hearing she had the third fastest ski time, the very surprised Vittozzi, added, “Oh, yes…incredible! I felt good. Everything went perfect. I am really proud of myself. I managed all the things in the right way. It is amazing.”

“Now I am on top of the world”

The World Championships title closed the comeback circle for Vittozzi, who two years ago struggled with confidence resulting in a career-low point 74% shooting (versus 92% this year), and no individual podiums. She admitted not imagining a day like today back then. “It is in the past, but now I am on top of the world. What is passed is passed, I just see this which is incredible.”

Janina Hettich-Walz matched Vittozzi on the shooting range but finished 20.5 seconds back winning the Silver medal. The second-place finish marked a career-best and first-ever podium for the 27-year-old German. France’s Julia Simon with one penalty in the last standing stage, finished 29.6 seconds back winning her fourth medal of these Championships: this time Bronze after three consecutive Gold medals in the previous competitions.

Hettich-Walz’s 19-year-old teammate Selina Grotian recorded a huge personal-best, shooting clean for fourth place, 1:01.2 back. Grotian’s previous best World Cup level result was 21st in the sprint and pursuit at Oestersund this season. Her teammate Vanessa Voigt also shot clean in fifth place, 1:06.2 back. France’s Lou Jeanmonnot with one penalty finished sixth, 1:10.6 back.

Perfect Evening

The women had a perfect evening for their most challenging competition: light winds, clear skies, and a pleasant +3C. Vittozzi inauspiciously cleaned the first prone after fumbling with her magazine, leaving 30th. Unsurprisingly, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Simon were 1-2 after shooting clean.

Vittozzi climbed to fifth after a perfect first standing, with Simon leading. The Italian and her French rivals both cleaned the second prone. Vittozzi moved to fourth, 25 seconds back and Hettich-Walz cleaned, leaving second.

Header icon2024 BMW IBU World Championships Nove Mesto na Morave Women's 15 km Individual

20-for-20 Clinches Victory

Simon had a chance to clinch the victory in the last standing but missed one shot. The 29-year-old Vittozzi went to 20-for-20, taking the lead and skiing to the Gold medal. Hettich-Walz cleaned her fourth stage, sealing the Silver medal, relegating Simon to Bronze.

Photos: IBU/ Vianney Thibaut, Nordic Focus

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