Not expecting much of the Trimester 1 at the start of the season, you find yourself fighting for the podiums week-in-week-out. What worked so well these first weeks?
I think it all comes down to shooting. I felt very comfortable on the range for most days. I shot with high accuracy in Kontiolahti and Hochiflzen, less so in Annecy Le Grand Bornand.
What did your summer look like? What changes - if any - have you applied to your shooting technique?
I focused on my body position for the first shot. Once you feel comfortable on the range, things get easier. I am also someone who tends to blame myself for every mistake. But last summer, I wanted to see whether some technical details can be improved. It turned out to be the case with my positioning in the standings. We also analysed my skiing technique, and I worked hard in the off-season to make it more efficient. I chose a new type of skis, and it helped as well.
Has that consequently given you a boost before the Individual in Kontiolahti, where you - so it seems - set the positive tone for the season?
Yes, definitely. I shot 20/20 in the Individual and finished second. It was a great confidence booster. In many aspects, biathlon is a mental game, and high confidence changes everything. That is why we often see one athlete win multiple medals at the IBU World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. So, when you find that flow - when you get on the horse - just keep riding it!
Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Tiril Eckhoff are missing. You are now the pivotal athlete in the Norwegian women's team. Has that changed your view on your role and your ambitions?
We trained without Marte and Tiril. And with the changing dynamics, I took more responsibility. That has, consequently, given me more confidence in the training and the competitions.
Do you feel (even) more responsibility, especially in the relay?
Yes. I felt the trust of my teammates as I took the anchor leg in the first two relays of the season. Some teams that are more powerful than us, but we gave our everything and had a lot of fun. We have done well! With Marte and Tiril, everybody expected our win every single time.
You seem more composed than in the previous seasons, more aware of the situations, and more able to do the best out of your daily form on an off-form day. Do you still meditate daily?
Yes. It is one of my many daily routines. It is sort of exhausting, trust me! But I feel that after Beijing 2022, I developed as an athlete and a person. I realised there is more to biathlon and life than just being on the podium. I enjoy the journey, being with my teammates, and loving what I do. That is a key to success in life, I think.
Photo: IBU/ C. Manzoni, J. Walter