Instead of the party heater, Denise Herrmann-Wick was the consolation this time. After the 34-year-old clearly missed her third world championship medal due to four shooting errors in the Oberhof biathlon individual and only finished 15th, she later hugged Anna Weidel, who was in tears.
The 26-year-old finished her world championship debut on the Rennsteig as 87th of 90 starters. She made eight mistakes and was more than 14 minutes behind the new world champion Hanna Öberg from Sweden.
After sprint gold and pursuit silver from Herrmann-Wick, it was a used day for the German biathletes - the six Germans accumulated a total of 27 shooting errors.
Trouble with the gun
"You're actually a bit helpless there," said Olympic champion Herrmann-Wick in the direction of Weidel: "Of course, the day was over." What happened? "I couldn't see clearly anymore," said the Bavarian. After she noticed something in the sights of her rifle during dry practice in the morning and removed it, everything was fine when zeroing before the 15 km race.
The first two shootings went smoothly. But then she lay on the mat for what felt like an eternity in front of the 13,500 spectators at the third shooting. She blew into the diopter, wanted to make things better somehow and called the referees for help.
"I tried to make the best of it, but it went haywire," said the Austrian, who only hit one target. When I ran out onto the track, "I was in tears. And then my legs went completely dead and it was just a struggle for survival."
15th place bearable
While Weidel has to deal with her completely screwed up World Cup debut, Herrmann-Wick had to get over 15th place a year after her sensational gold coup at the Winter Games in China. "Of course I'm not satisfied, but that doesn't cloud the whole season so much and doesn't overshadow what has already happened here," said the Saxon. The two double penalties in standing still annoyed her particularly: "It hasn't happened to me for a long time."
In the end, Herrmann-Wick was 3:25.1 minutes behind the winner Öberg (1 penalty). Her compatriot Linn Persson (0) secured silver ahead of Italy's Lisa Vittozzi (1).
Herrmann-Wick started the race with number 31 as one of the last medal candidates in a deafening roar. Temperatures of up to seven degrees and bright sunshine made the third individual competition in Oberhof extremely physically demanding, also because the distance is becoming increasingly difficult to walk due to the heat.
Single mixed on Thursday
And that has consequences. Herrmann-Wick will not run in the single mixed on Thursday (15.10/ARD and Eurosport). Sophia Schneider and Philipp Nawrath start there.
"My legs really hurt on Sunday evening," said Herrmann-Wick. The single mixed, which has been part of the World Cup program since 2019, is a World Cup race. "But the whole program is really tough, the conditions demand everything, today again. The highlights are at the weekend with the relay and mass start," Herrman-Wick said immediately after the individual race and thus already indicated her waiver.
So far, the last German world champion in the most traditional race of the ski chasers was Laura Dahlmeier in 2017 in Hochfilzen, the last medal was won by Vanessa Hinz in Antholz in 2020 with silver. Best German on the Rennsteig was World Cup debutant Sophia Schneider (4), who finished 13th. Vanessa Voigt (2) was 19th, Hanna Kebinger (4) 30th and Janina Hettich-Walz (5) finished 42nd.