After finishing third overall in last season's IBU Biathlon World Cup, following successful knee surgery, Dominik Landertinger is full of optimism for the upcoming season. We spoke to him ahead of the opening event in Östersund, Sweden, where he will be hoping to go one better than last season's second place.
Red Bull: What was your childhood like?
Dominik: I had to help out a lot at home. My father had a lot of stress running his Alm [a traditional Alpine mountain hut] and it was quite frequent that I got back from a four-hour bike ride and already saw dozens of cars in his parking lot. I was still exhausted from training when my Dad said: “Son, put on your apron, time to do some real work!” I soon made it clear to my parents what my vocation in life really was. It took them a while, however, to understand that my sport is my profession and not washing dishes.
How did you get started with biathlon?
Dominik: My neighbour, an ex-biathlete, asked me if I wanted to go shooting with him, so he took me along and I started off right away into biathlon. I hadn’t even done cross-country before.
Are you very ambitious?
Dominik: When I started out in this sport, we were a group of pals who constantly pushed each other to the best performance. Over the years I learned to master pain and to go into a final lap even though your entire body is aching. I regard this as one of my assets: to endure even under immense strain. To be honest, I can always find something extra if I’m not first, and if I’m not on top of my game for more than one race, I’ll step things up in training, that’s for sure!
Do you ever overtrain?
Dominik: Yes, actually I do train too hard and too long sometimes and push my body over the limit. My old trainer said it’s better to do more than to do less. If you’re exhausted you can always slip in a day of rest. But having watched Rocky as a kid, I got a lot of motivation from his attitude. Of course it’s exaggerated, but I can really dig his example [smiles].
Who are your prime challengers?
Dominik: Whenever I’m in a race with biathletes like Emil Hegle Svendsen or Martin Fourcarde, I always know it’s going to be a hell of a fight. But whenever I win against one of these two, I tend to be completely satisfied with my performance at the end of the day!
What’s your take on the phenomenon of Fourcade?
Dominik: His performance throughout the last season was just mad! He has been running on a different level and his preparations must have been perfectly balanced. Also, once you’re on a winning streak like he was last year, you tend to take things in your stride: it really puts you at ease and successes keep coming your way.
How do you deal with losing?
Dominik: You can learn a lot more from defeat than victory, I believe. What have I learned from it? To listen more closely to my inner voice and my body’s needs. The most sophisticated training schedule can get in the way of your own intuition, so what I try is to get as much of my own personal experience and my knowledge into my training. That seems to work out fine now. I work closely with trainer Günter Schmidt in fine tuning my workout to my own demands.