In view of her sport-historical performance, the 27-year-old also had tears in her eyes at the award ceremony, at which she had to wear the gold medals due to the coronavirus regulations. It was “incredibly nice” that the Austrian national anthem was intoned in her honor, said Hauser in an interview with ORF: “I still can’t believe that I am now one of the greats.”
Rapid rise in 2021
Her rise to the top of the world was particularly rapid this year. Hauser took her first three podium places in the World Cup at the beginning of January – and that in a row. At the World Cup dress rehearsal in Antholz – exactly one month before her mass start triumph – the 27-year-old was able to celebrate her first victory in the individual, the only second victory for an Austrian after that of Katharina Innerhofer in the 2014 sprint in Poklujka. And at the World Cup near Bled, Hauser immortalized himself in the national sports history books with silver in the mixed relay and second place in the pursuit.
The key to success in the mass start was simple: Hauser was the only one of the 30 participants to make no mistakes. “With four times zero it’s just cool. To become world champion flawlessly, it couldn’t be better. It was always so nice to be the first to run away from the shooting range, and it was so enjoyable as I ran to the finish first, “said the Tyrolean, who did not let up in the final lap on the cross-country ski run:” I was so nervous that I still gave full throttle to the highest point of the route because I was always afraid that someone would come. “
Cross-country skiing was the weak point for a long time. But this year Hauser opened the much-cited button a year late. “It is time to take the next step,” the 27-year-old had already said in 2019 – when the top ten places felt like victories.
The hard work at the shooting range and on the skis paid off. At last, all the necessary factors would fit together, and injuries or illnesses would not occur, Hauser recently said. After many small ones, a bigger step has now been taken, which has now even triggered a shower of medals.
Early successes and setbacks
The switch to biathlon took place at the Saalfelden ski school. In 2011, trainer Sandra Flunger played a key role in this, according to Hauser. Simon Eder’s cousin had the 17-year-old under her wing in Alfred Eder’s biathlon forge, which worked outside of the ÖSV structures. She was always taught to shoot by the best, said Hauser. Successful youngsters came quickly. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 she won several Junior World Championship medals. Hauser also quickly established himself in the World Cup. In the winter of 2016/17 she made her first foray into the top five.
However, before her first major successes, she had to accept setbacks. For example, the 2017 home World Cup in Hochfilzen and the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where Landertinger was the first Austrian to win gold in the mass start, went completely wrong. And two years ago at the World Championships in Östersund, Sweden, she shot the wrong targets while lying in a promising position in the sprint. A few days later, however, she was already well recovered from this blackout over 15 km and came in seventh. “Maybe I’m the type: especially after a setback,” says Hauser.
Fair play as the top priority
A seldom seen campaign four years ago earned her a lot of sympathy and the German Fair Play Prize. At that time, she selflessly gave her competitor Vanessa Hinz a ski pole during a World Cup race in a long climb after the German lost her when she accidentally touched Hauser. It was not only because of such actions that Hauser were sure to receive a lot of congratulations after their World Cup triumph. Above all those of the top stars Dorothea Wierer from Italy and the German Franziska Preuss, with whom Hauser and teammate Julia Schwaiger get along best on the World Cup tour.
The historic Pokljuka medals – before that only Andrea Grossegger with sprint bronze 1984 was in the Austrian statistics – the Tyrolean will celebrate with friends and family at home in Reith near Kitzbühel. “I think they’re all crying now,” said Hauser after the award ceremony, when her eyes were watering.