In the end, Denise Herrmann-Wick’s battery was empty, and it wasn’t enough for more than a short greeting to the 23,500 biathlon fans at what was probably her last big World Cup appearance.

Nevertheless, the 34-year-old was one of the stars of Oberhof’s home title fights with one gold and two silver medals. Five mistakes and 24th place in the final mass start with the victory of the Swede Hanna Öberg did not change that.

Especially second place in the relay with the World Cup debutants Vanessa Voigt, Sophia Schneider and Hanna Kebinger the day before caused great emotions in the sprint world champion. “It’s a medal for the whole of biathlon Germany,” said 34-year-old Herrmann-Wick, for whom the home game at Rennsteig could have been the crowning glory of her career.

Men without a medal for the first time in 47 years

Meanwhile, the men experienced a historic low: For the first time since 1976, they remained without a medal in a World Championship race. Justus Strelow was the best in the mass start as 13th, in the relay it was only enough for fifth place in a wind lottery.

The association did not specify a medal. But while the women picked up two more plaques than in Pokljuka in 2021, the men’s title fights turned into a debacle. In the Olympic year 1976, a separate world championship competition had taken place for the then non-Olympic sprint in Antholz, at that time without Germans on the podium. Since then there has always been at least one medal for the men.

Meanwhile, Norway’s superstar Johannes Thingnes Bö became the first male biathlete to win seven medals in seven races – in the end there were five titles in all, one silver and one bronze. The organizers gave him a place-name sign that said “Boeberhof”.

“If someone had told me that beforehand, I would of course have signed it straight away. It’s a unique experience at the home World Cup – and it stays that way,” said the sprint world champion, who was “totally knocked out” muscularly at the end: “That won’t spoil the World Cup.”

Symbol of the German sadness was the experienced Benedikt Doll, who after 26th place in the mass start was completely dejected and watched the award ceremony of the new world champion Sebastian Samuelsson from Sweden. “There were a lot of lows, few highs,” said the 32-year-old.

Herrmann-Wick wears DSV team

Without Herrmann-Wick, however, the women’s record would have been sobering. “I’m not scared, but if Denise were taken away this year, it wouldn’t look so rosy,” said two-time Olympic champion Laura Dahlmeier of the German Press Agency. Herrmann-Wick had so far provided the only individual podium places in the World Cup with two wins and a third place. The conclusion of the World Cup was “very good”, said Dahlmeier: “This relay medal welds together and can ensure that we push and motivate each other.”

Above all, the World Cup debutants Schneider (25) with places five in the pursuit and seventh in the sprint as well as Kebinger (25), who started the season in the lower-class German Cup as eighth in the pursuit and twelfth in the mass start, withstood the pressure. Voigt (25) and Janina Hettich-Walz (26) also play a role in future planning.

DSV sees rays of hope

The experiences of the home World Cup should inspire the youngsters. “It’s not just an experience for a World Cup, but a lot that you can take with you. It will definitely pay off in the next few years,” said Herrmann-Wick, second in the pursuit. Women’s coach Kristian Mehringer also sees the future of the biathlon women positively: “We are very well positioned.”

“It’s disappointing. But I have to say clearly that we’re not as bad as zero medals look now,” said sports director Felix Bitterling about the men’s poor performance on paper: “We have to draw the conclusions so that we can strengthen Come back.” The protégés of national coach Mark Kirchner only managed five top ten places, the best result was fifth place for Doll in the individual at the start.

For the men, there is no pressure from the offspring. Doll will probably not be there for too long either, said Kirchner: “So there is a small dent to overcome.”

World Championship newcomer Strelow (26) made four good top 15 finishes, but is not yet competitive in terms of skiing. Roman Rees (29) acted solidly, but nothing more. And David Zobel (26), who was convincing at the start of the season with third place in the individual, disappeared completely as before in the World Cup with places 35, 41 and 73. Johannes Kühn (31), alongside Doll (2 laps) in the relay with three penalty laps, the unlucky raven, made it into the top ten twice. In the two mixed competitions, the DSV team only managed sixth place.