Denise Herrmann-Wick is also running for precious metal in her second individual race at the Biathlon World Championships in Thuringia: gold in the sprint is followed by silver in the pursuit race. At the last shooting, the Saxon even has chances for the second World Championship title.
Overjoyed, Denise Herrmann-Wick hugged her teammates and celebrated her well-deserved second medal at the home World Championships in Oberhof. The biathlon Olympic champion won silver in the pursuit two days after her gold coup in the sprint on Sunday. For a long time, the second title at the atmospheric home game in Thuringia would have been possible for the Saxon, but two penalties in the decisive final shooting were too much. With a total of four penalties, the 34-year-old was 27.0 seconds behind French overall World Cup leader Julia Simon (1 penalty), who won gold. Bronze went to Marte Olsbu Röiseland (3) from Norway.
"It was really tough today. It was a cool race and right from the start the atmosphere is really, really cool," said Herrmann-Wick on ZDF. "I wanted to score at the end, but I got the short end of the stick." It was "not that easy" given the enormous burden. "I gave it my all again on the final lap," she said. But the exertion didn't bring her close enough to Simon. "I've noticed that my legs need a little rest," said Herrmann-Wick and praised the German fans: "That was the peak of the atmosphere."
From a German point of view, Laura Dahlmeier last won medals in sprint and pursuit at the same World Cup in Östersund in 2019. Herrmann-Wick has already won the pursuit title in the same title fights, and the former cross-country skier has now won a total of eight World Championship medals. For the German team it was the second medal in the fourth competition in Oberhof. Sophia Schneider (4) in fifth place and Hanna Kebinger (2) in eighth place ensured a strong team result.
In fog in front of more than 23,000 spectators, Herrmann-Wick left the track two seconds ahead of sprint runner-up Hanna Öberg. The day before, they had received their medals at an emotional ceremony in Oberhof's Kurpark. In addition to the entire German team, 5,500 fans also came and created a very special atmosphere. "It's unbelievable. I almost had a higher pulse than at the competition," said Herrmann-Wick: "It's so nice when you see the faces. There's just nothing more beautiful."
Herrmann-Wick danced to the unofficial German World Cup anthem "The train has no brakes" in the spotlight. "It just stays forever. You have to enjoy the moment sometimes," said Herrmann-Wick, who got teary-eyed at the national anthem: "It shows up what you've been through and invested in."
Back on the course, the two leaders had to do a penalty loop right after the first shooting. Öberg took the lead ahead of Herrmann-Wick, followed by Linn Person, who was third in the sprint, and Simon, the overall World Cup leader. Schneider, who surprisingly finished seventh in the first World Championship race of her career on Friday, also held up well after a flawless shooting as an interim fifth.
On the difficult course with the dreaded Birxsteig as the steepest climb, a close race developed in which the front runners pushed together and Herrmann-Wick was in the lead again before the second shooting. Because Öberg had to go into the penalty loop twice and Persson three times in diffuse light, the Saxon clearly pulled away without a blunder and was 23 seconds ahead of fast shooter Simon. In the cross-country ski run, the German showed her strong form and extended the lead to about half a minute before the first standing stage. This was gone after the second shooting error because Simon cleared all the targets for the third time and just took the lead. She was followed by Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold in third and Schneider, who was strong again, in fourth.
After another fast lap, Herrmann-Wick went into the decisive fourth stage with a narrow lead. Two penalties destroyed all gold dreams and Simon was able to secure victory, but the Ruhpolding native was happy about the deserved precious metal at the finish line.