"I can’t believe it!"
Following the race, Vanessa Voigt appeared quite amazed by both the victory and the crowd's reactions.
"This is my first-ever World Cup victory; it feels incredible. It was so loud at the stadium, especially at the shooting range. With every hit, the crowd was cheering so loudly."
Strelow also had never experienced the thrill of standing on the highest podium in a World Cup competition. He took responsibility for the lone missed shot by the German duo in Saturday's race.
"I left one for the mixed relay team so that they can do it better. I wasn’t sure if Vetle was still chasing me, so I pushed hard to the last meter. It was amazing to carry the German flag crossing the finish line. I have to watch the TV broadcast again to see if it is not a dream."
Seizing the lead after the initial round of shooting, the German team demonstrated early prowess in the competition. While the French initially kept pace, the Germans widened their lead with impeccable shooting in the subsequent rounds, establishing a considerable advantage over the other competing teams. By the time the last shooting round approached, Strelow had amassed a lead of over half a minute against Norway and Austria. The German squad harboured the potential to etch their names in history as the first relay team to achieve a perfect 40-40 shooting record. However, this historic feat remained out of reach as Strelov needed one additional bullet during the final shooting.
Norway and Austria's relay teams were engaged in a competition for the second position. Simon Eder entered the final lap with a marginal lead. Still, the Austrian veteran could not withstand the relentless assault launched by Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, ultimately securing a third-place finish. Despite this outcome, it remains undeniable that both Lisa Theresa Hauser and Simon Eder stand as the most successful duo in the history of Single Mixed Relay. With eleven podium finishes for her and nine for him, they hold the record for the highest number of TOP 3 finishes in the history of this discipline.
Italy, Latvia, and Finland's relay teams trailed just behind the podium, falling short by less than a minute. A much more significant loss was recorded by the Swedish team, who had clinched victory in the previous Single Mixed Relay in Ostersund. Mona Brorsson and Sebastian Samuelsson struggled to maintain pace with the leaders from the early stages, ultimately finishing only in seventeenth place.
Photos: IBU/Thibaut, Nordic Focus