For Denise Herrmann-Wick the past year was already the culmination of her biathlon career. unforgettable: The golden moment in Beijing 2022, Hermann-Wick surprisingly managed to win the Olympics in singles. With the Olympic victory, a childhood dream has come true for the former cross-country skier.
In Oslo, on the legendary Holmenkollen, where Herrmann-Wick once competed in her first world championship as a cross-country skier, the 34-year-old ended her remarkable career on Sunday. Last Tuesday, Hermann-Wick announced on social networks: “After 16 years of cross-country skiing and seven years of biathlon, it’s time to start a new chapter.”
And Herrmann-Wick could not have closed the biathlon chapter better. With a furious victory in the last sprint race of her career, she secured the small crystal globe in this discipline on Saturday. “I’m going to enjoy everything now,” Herrmann-Wick said before her last appearance as a biathlete. In the fog of Oslo, the 34-year-old finished sixth in the mass start with three penalties in her last race on Sunday. The emotions at the finish line were correspondingly high. “It’s all overwhelming right now. It’s not really in my head that it should be over now,” she said on ARD.
In 2014 Herrmann-Wick won cross-country bronze in Sochi
The fight for the top started early. Hermann-Wick’s talent for cross-country skiing was recognized early on and as a child she took part in Saxony-wide competitions. At the age of 12 she switched to the sports boarding school in Oberwiesenthal. But her career as a cross-country skier was not only to be characterized by success. In November 2007, the then 18-year-old Herrmann-Wick tested positive for the banned drug Clenbuterol. The reason for this was taking a cough syrup. Hermann-Wick was banned for a year.
She then celebrated the greatest achievement of her cross-country skiing career at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. With the relay there was bronze. Altogether Herrmann-Wick was on the podium six times in a Sprint World Cup. After these successes, Herrmann-Wick matured the decision to become a biathlete.
In 2016, the transition from cross-country skiing to biathlon was perfect. Herrmann-Wick spent countless hours at the shooting range, learned weaponry and the basics. If you switch from cross-country skiing to biathlon, you first have to develop consistency at the shooting range, Herrmann-Wick once said: “It’s detailed work, it doesn’t work overnight.” Already in December 2016, in her first international race in In the IBU Cup, the second division in biathlon, the newcomer achieved her first win in the sprint.
She was rarely beaten on the cross-country ski run
And that despite the fact that Hermann-Wick had shot six penalties. She should not only benefit once from her strong running form. Herrmann-Wick “did well” from it throughout her career, she says. Through hard work and constant striving for perfection, Herrmann-Wick has developed into a solid marksman over the years. In the cross-country ski run, she was rarely beaten by the competition.
Herrmann-Wick achieved his first World Cup victory in the 2017 sprint in Östersund. It was only her second season with the top female biathletes in the world. 15 more World Cup victories were to follow, 11 of them in individual competitions. At the 2019 World Championships, also in Östersund, Herrmann-Wick’s big biathlon star finally rose. In pursuit, she grabbed gold.
She was individual Olympic champion in the supreme discipline of biathlon, became world champion in the pursuit and most recently won sprint gold at the home world championships in Oberhof in February. Herrmann-Wick has won almost everything in biathlon, only the necessary consistency is missing to win the overall World Cup.
In which position and function the exceptional athlete will remain in the German Ski Association (DSV) is still open. Herrmann-Wick now wants to devote himself “more to family, friends and building a house”. What she will definitely miss in biathlon is the thrill and aggressiveness in competition.