Biathlon World Cup 2020: Dorothea Wierer is particularly under pressure in Antholz

Biathlon World Cup 2020: Dorothea Wierer is particularly under pressure in Antholz

The Biathlon World Cup in Antholz for Dorothea Wierer can hardly start better. Second place with the mixed relay despite having two spare rounds, silver in the first race was "sensational. The fans cheered us on from start to finish, they were a huge support for all of us," said Wierer after the race. Even the state government congratulated.

It was a made-to-measure debut, after "hard days," as Wierer said. The next few days will not be easier. The pressure on them is too great, the headlights too bright. The 29-year-old was born in Bruneck, just a few kilometers away from the Antholz facility. It is a special world championship for them. Not only because of that. Italy's most successful biathlete wants to stop after this season.

Last winter she was still the overall World Cup winner. She will probably not succeed this year. Norwegian competitor Tiril Eckhoff is too strong. They also plagued physical problems too much. The intervertebral discs always made trouble. That is why Wierer did not really get in shape in spring, her two wins of the season come from the beginning of winter.

Wierer loved the staging – sport benefited

Despite everything, the expectations of them in Antholz are enormous. After that, Wierer wants to end her career, she has already announced in 2017, Antholz is the ideal place, she said, the place where it all started and where she has the best memories. At the age of ten, she started sport with two of the four siblings. Only she stayed true to the biathlon. The whole family should now come to the stadium to say goodbye.

And then? "It is enough to be a biathlete up to the age of 30," said Wierer the "Gazetta dello Sport" two years ago. There are many other beautiful things in life. "Above all, I want to have children and be a full-time mother at some point. I can't imagine that I'll be doing professional sports again after mothering."

Her appearance as an IT girl in the scene brought attention to Wierer, but she sometimes shifted her focus from the sport. Reports about her were sometimes more about the "sexy biathlete" than the outstanding athlete. The fact that Wierer won two relay bronze medals at the Olympic Games and six medals at the world championships, including gold in the 2019 mass start, was often hardly mentioned in addition to summer photos in a bikini.

Recently there was a fight in the team

Wierer has brought all the lucrative advertising deals with global brands such as Red Bull and Adidas. Sport has also benefited from the show. He will probably feel Wierer's farewell. Biathlon has lost a bit of its faces and glamor, the characters that showcase themselves and the sport. Women like Gabriela Koukalová, Darya Domracheva – and soon also Dorothea Wierer.

The talents that follow are all represented on Instagram and other social media. But so far the new successful generation seems to be more reserved when it comes to show: ambitious, down-to-earth, fully focused on sport. And despite similar successes, it is less noticed internationally.

Before the World Cup, the internal Italian dispute with Lisa Vittozzi also made headlines. The young team colleague fired a few days ago in an interview with "Messaggero Veneto" because of the last World Cup in Östersund. Wierer did not start the season, supposedly for health reasons. The next day she won gold in the mass start.

Vittozzi sensed an unfair advantage because she was not granted a break. The relay also clearly missed the medals. Vittozzi was also out of the race for the overall World Cup – Wierer won. "Me and Dorothea have two very different characters. And two different characters don't always get along well." They have been "no friends since then," said Vittozzi. The timing of the attack surprised not only the domestic media before the World Cup, which was so important for both.

Wierer does not seem to have been upset by the affair. She has big plans for the competitions in Antholz. The first individual medal is already in her sights this Friday. The women's sprint starts in the afternoon (2.45 p.m., live ticker on SPIEGEL.de). She has already won two of them this winter. Thanks to their accustomed quick-shot deposit and knowledge of the system from twenty years of experience, their chances of a successful exit are good.

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