. The victory was precarious because the Italian team could make up for much of their deficit on the track at the range. As in Oberhof, the Swedish team placed third.
A week ago in Oberhof, Franziska Preuß, who is still not quite up Olympic standard, demonstrated that she can be relied upon completely in the relay. Ten shots, ten hits. Preuß handed over five seconds after Lisa Vitozzi, who also shot without flaw, to Denise Herrmann, who was then up against the individual winner Dorothea Wierer. “In the relay I don’t feel pressure for the Olympics. Everything came easily to me today. Now I finally need to apply that in the individual race in Antholz. But the race today was really good for me mentally.” Even the national trainer Gerald Hönig was visibly relieved after the weak performance in the individual competition. Especially since he is counting on Franziska Preuß, “I would not want to forgo having a great athlete such as Franzi along in Pyeongchang.”
Herrmann against Wierer
Denise Herrmann was stronger on the track than Dorothea Wierer. This was as little a surprise as that Wierer was stronger at the range and didn’t miss a shot. “I wanted to challenge her a bit skiing,” said Herrmann, “but she was not impressed. Thankfully, I was able to compensate for the two reloads in the final round.” She passed her and won with only a three second advantage.
The last exchange: Switzerland in the lead
Franziska Hildebrand erwischte als dritte Läuferin einen gebrauchten Tag. She fell in the first round, she needed all three reloads in the prone position shooting, and in the second round she lost her pole because she did not secure the strap properly. She was able to reduce the damage to 25 seconds by reloading only once in the standing position. Sensationally, at the time, Switzerland was in the lead. Selina Gasparin handed over to her younger sister Aita with 17 seconds lead. She was not able to hold the position. Switzerland finished eighth.
Dahlmaier struggles to beat Sanfilippo
As the last to start in the relay, Laura Dahlmeier, went into the last round somewhat stilted. Having to reload only once, she took the lead slightly ahead of Swedish athlete Hanna Oeberg, and did not leave her a chance. Still, the tougher competition was from Italy. Federica Sanfilippo shot two bouts perfectly, whereas Dahlmeier missed her first two shots in the standing position. The Italian and German entered the final round simultaneously. But those who thought that Dahlmeier would leave Sanfilippo far behind in the first incline were wrong. She tried, but she was up against a true fighter.
Sanfilippo fought with tooth and nail, but ultimately fell behind by 2.5 seconds. “I gave it my best. I know I am often really strong in the last round,” she said after the race, “but Laura was a bit stronger.” She was almost as happy with winning the silver medal as with a gold. “Nicole (Gontier) and I can celebrate today because we are not starting in the mass start tomorrow. We can enjoy some Glühwein,” she joked. It will not be too much because next week their home World Cup will take place in Antholz. Just like the rest of her team, Laura Dahlmeier feels satisfied about the victory along with the rest of the team. “The duel with Federica was really tough. But the win was really important for all of us because we were not so convincing in the individual race.”
Sweden wins third place yet again
The Swedes were able to repeat their third place win from Oberhof. They only had to reload five times, and thereby laid the basis for their spot on the podium. Mona Brorsson was totally happy saying, “Ruhpolding is our second home. We get great support here from the fans. It was a super match!”
This seems to be the case for the Norwegians and the Poles as well, even if they are often under the radar. The French team, having won in Oberhof, but now competing without their strongest athlete Justine Braisaz, were amongst the leader for a long time. The two penalty loops the final relay Celia Aymonier, earned brought them to a disappointing ninth place.