#NMNM18: Welcome Back, Laura! (CC in English)
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#NMNM18: Welcome Back, Laura! (CC in English)

November 18, 2019

Laura, welcome to Nove Mesto – it’s a return at a special venue for you? Absolutely, I’m really happy to come back to Nove Mesto, I have a lot of memories of this place, 2011 I had my first YJWCHs here, my first big International competition was during the World Championships in 2013 and I celebrated my first World Cup victory in Nove Mesto in 2015. It really is a special place
and exactly the right place to attack again. When it came to your return to the World Cup, did it play a particular role for you to return here –
in a place with so many good memories? No, for a long time not at all. It was a difficult summer for me. didn’t know when I was going to come back – or if I was going to be able to perform at the level that I want to perform at in professional sports. I didn’t know if it was going to happen
this year or next year. It was only during the last few weeks
that I felt a real improvement and it was a pretty spontaneous decision. After I talked to the trainers and the team and after we decided
that I will give it a go in Nove Mesto, it was good for me to know that I will return
in a place associated with so many positive emotions. When we met in early October you had just gotten over a cold but you were full of hope and anticipating the winter – what happened afterwards? Well, I had a pretty difficult summer from late July onwards, I had a bike crash. Then I got a bacterial infection, like a wound infection and ever since things have been rocky. I fought back, had issues, got sick again. I had a few weird things, complications
and it was a really difficult period and for a long time I just didn’t feel
healthy enough for high performance sports. I made the conscious decision to step back and I needed that break. I tried to train calmly but mentally it was pretty tough. But I’m really happy that I’m able to stand here today. I can imagine for a professional athlete losing faith in your own body
must be the worst case scenario. Absolutely. I was always able to rely
on myself and on my body. I always knew that if I wanted to and if I had the motivation, I would be able to do whatever I wanted – and for a while that just wasn’t the case. I had to adjust to a different rhythm and it was a tough time. But I’m very happy that it’s different now and I’ve gotten past this difficult period. Did it make you start thinking and pondering about everything? Well, who wouldn’t start thinking and pondering? Once you felt you were on the way back, when did you find the motivation to say ‘ok, continuous build-up and then return to competition? Without motivation it would not have been possible. I was always motivated. I was motivated every day because it just wasn’t fun that way. I wanted to come back, I wanted to be healthy again, I wanted to feel good – irrespective of the outcome: high performance sports, biathlon or everyday life. But it was a situation and a feeling that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone and I never thought I would find myself in this position. Still, I was always motivated to fight for things to get better. I stayed with it, I didn’t take my eye of the ball and that was really important. Did you find reasons why you ended up in such a difficult place? Yes, there very a few different reasons, but I think elaborating those is going a little far. Now you will be starting again in Nove Mesto. When you are an Olympic Champion, you want to do as well as possible. But what is Laura Dahlmeier able to do? It was an incredibly nice time in autumn. I was in Obertilliach with the Junior team and with people from my home base. I travelled with the B-Team and competed in the IBU Cup. That is very grounding. Right now, I don’t feel like a reigning Olympic Champion, who comes back and has to save the world. I rather want to have a couple of good competitions for myself. I want to have fun and show what I’m capable of. Run as fast as possible, shoot as clean as possible. I don’t have any big expectations and try not to put pressure on myself. Just trying to have fun, as this is what I learned from the young athletes in the last couple of weeks. Looking at several Facebook Pages, many of your fans are worrying that you might be returning too soon rather than expecting you to win. Does this make it a little easier and put your own expectations into perspective? Yes, it is nice and it just shows the human side to it. And it is also the statement I want to make: you can’t expect too much. Maybe it will go well after one race, maybe after two races but I also don’t feel like I will just go full throttle through the entire World Cup winter yet. I feel like I am progressing and improving step by step but I’m not at 100% yet. What is your plan for the next few weeks and months? There is no fixed plan to speak of yet. I think we will just have to see, depending on the situation. Sometimes it all comes together rather quickly. What matters most to me is to have a few competitions before Christmas, so I can see where I am at. What is working well? Where do I need to improve? Afterwards we will decide as a team how to proceed. The World Championships are obviously the season highlight but they are fairly late – and until March we still have some time to go. How much are you anticipating your return? I am really happy to be back. I already noticed it during yesterday’s training. So many athletes came up to me and said “welcome back”, “good to see you again” and “great that you are here”. This leaves you with a good feeling and I’m really looking forward to the competitions.

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