Biathlon: Doll rewards herself with World Cup bronze: “I’m crying inside”

Benedikt Doll took a close look at his first precious metal after a six-year dry spell on the winner's podium.

Biathlon: Doll rewards herself with World Cup bronze: “I’m crying inside”

Benedikt Doll took a close look at his first precious metal after a six-year dry spell on the winner's podium.

“It feels really, really good to show after so many years that you can still win a medal,” said the 33-year-old biathlete after his surprising bronze coup in the individual in Nove Mesto. But there were no tears of joy. “I’m crying inside,” grinned the veteran of the German team. After his biggest success since the two Olympic bronze medals in 2018, he was most looking forward to the food in the accommodation: "Let's see what the chefs have conjured up."

One day after Janina Hettich-Walz's silver medal at the World Championships in the Czech Republic, Doll stepped up and redeemed the men's team, which had been extremely disappointed after the sprint and pursuit. “It makes me really proud and so happy for the team that we have shown that we are there,” said the Black Forester, who at the moment of his personal triumph focused on the team, including the technicians who were also publicly criticized.

"I'm incredibly proud that I stayed so cool at the shooting range," said Doll, who only had to admit defeat to the Norwegian brothers Johannes Thingnes Bö and Tarjei Bö after a shooting error. For him it was his second individual World Cup medal after his sprint gold in 2017.

Does the success motivate Doll to continue?

Doll's wish before the World Cup was to attend an award ceremony. "I'm really happy for Benni. He didn't have an easy time after the sensational start to the season. Today he showed it to everyone," said sports director Felix Bitterling.

He and national coach Uros Velepec now hope that the success will encourage Doll to continue. Doll wants to announce the decision after the World Cup. Bitterling hopes that the former sprint world champion “comes to the right decision, which from our point of view is of course that he sticks around for another year.” Velepec knows who to turn to: "We have to talk to his wife, then maybe it will work," said the Slovenian with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Bö successfully defended his title and also won the 19th World Championship gold of his career. It was his second triumph in the Czech Republic. Now he is just one title away from catching up with record world champion Ole Einar Björndalen. The Norwegians had previously celebrated a triple success in the sprint and a five-fold triumph in the chase race. Doll became the first non-Norwegian to win an individual medal in Nove Mesto.

No other Germans in the top ten

The other Germans had nothing to do with the decision and some clearly missed the top ten. Roman Rees was the second best German with two errors in 13th place. Johannes Kühn (4) and Philipp Horn (5) took places 19 and 43.

After a great start to the season with two sprint victories, Doll had high hopes for the highlight of the season. At the World Championships, however, he had only finished 13th (sprint) and 16th (pursuit). With three perfect shooting performances, the Black Forester then increased the pressure on the competition in the longest of all biathlon races. In the atmospheric Vysocina Arena he was initially in the lead, but despite a penalty minute Bö overtook him after the third shooting. Doll made a mistake in the last standing stage, but since the competition also made mistakes, it almost didn't matter in the end.

Doll recently had major problems at the shooting range

In the last races before the World Championships, Doll had major problems on the shooting range and had to make adjustments. He shot technically incorrectly, the basic elements no longer fit. We went back to fine tuning with the laser. But in Nove Mesto he initially made two mistakes in the sprint and four mistakes in the chase race.

Even before that, penalties or penalty minutes had often cost him better results in his career. Before this winter he had a new weapon built. It remains to be seen whether he will continue to use this beyond the end of the season or whether he will devote more time to his wife and their son. Now he wants to show again what he is capable of on Saturday in the relay and on Sunday in the mass start and, above all, annoy the Norwegians.

The Germans' next chance to win a medal comes on Thursday (6 p.m./ZDF and Eurosport) in the single mixed relay. Almost a month after their first World Cup victory, Vanessa Voigt and Justus Strelow are among the favorites after their recent strong shooting performances.