When the biathlon competitions at the Olympic Games in Beijing begin on February 5, 2022, the German ski hunters will not be among the hot contenders for a medal. However, the biathlon nation Germany does not go to China completely hopelessly. What is worrying? What is hope? What are the chances of precious metal?
One win, two more podium places and a total of 22 more top 10 places: If you look at the individual races of the winter so far, the results of the German biathletes don’t read that bad at all. If you now consider that with Franziska Preuss, one of the strongest DSV ski hunters, missed two World Cups as a result of falling down the stairs and an infection with the corona virus, and with Arnd Peiffer, a constant hope for the podium ended her career before the season, this adds even more to the balance sheet.
However, it is also true that only medals count at the Olympics and that everything has to go perfectly for the German participants to get a place on the podium.
If everything goes “normal”, the athletes from France, Norway and Sweden will be in the lead this winter. In addition, the ski hunters from Belarus deliver brilliant performances in rows. In addition to the absolute top favorites, up to 20 starters can be considered serious contenders for Olympic medals for both men and women – including some from the DSV team.
Biathlon: Will Franziska Preuss win the race against time?
At the beginning of the winter, Denise Herrmann and Franziska Preuss in particular were believed to have a say in the fight for the medals. However, after Herrmann started the winter in third place, the shape curve slowly but steadily went downhill. The past home World Cup in Ruhpolding represented the negative highlight. After a weak 24th place in the sprint, Herrmann even dispensed with the pursuer.
In conversation with the “kicker”, however, the 33-year-old remained calm. “I know there’s not much missing for me to bring it across in the competition,” Herrmann reassured the worried biathlon fans: “The day will come when it’ll work out.” Putting pressure on yourself before the games doesn’t help either. “It’s getting worse,” said Herrmann. National coach Mark Kirchner also warned that one must “keep calm”.
And Prussia? It is currently not possible to predict whether last year’s third place in the overall World Cup will be fit for the games. Before the Olympic dress rehearsal in Antholz, Bernd Eisenbichler, sports director of the German biathlon team, said that there were still “certain question marks” about Preuss. You will “decide from day to day what the load options are,” said Eisenbichler, who emphasized: “The starting position is not optimal.”
The situation seems better for the only German winner of the winter, Johannes Kühn. The 30-year-old also had to leave Ruhpolding after a corona infection, but will return in Antholz.
Surprise by the biathlon routines?
Meanwhile, the two veterans Erik Lesser (33) and Benedikt Doll (31) could cause a surprise in Beijing. The form curve of both has recently shown a steep uphill, Lesser in particular is known for being in top form at major events. While Lesser started the winter with a run time beyond the top 30, he recently delivered the twelfth best time on the cross-country ski run. Should Lesser successfully complete one of his famous rapid-fire routines on the shooting range, he could well win his second individual Olympic medal in 2022. Especially since one or the other top favorite at the Olympics shows nerves.
Ultimately, however, the greatest opportunities should again be offered by the relay teams. In order to have a chance of winning, the outstanding Norwegians and French would have to make a mistake.
Above all, of course, the sword of Damocles Corona swings. “If you have to be in quarantine now, it’s over with the Olympics,” quoted the “image“Lesser recently. It is unlikely that all the stars of the scene will be spared.
By the way, the German biathletes will travel to Beijing on January 31st. In the luggage: the dream of Olympic medals and a few worries.