German coach and athlete
Only in the race does the biathlon couple crumble
The new national coach of German biathletes, Norwegian Sverre Olsbu Röiseland, faces a challenge. He trains the Germans, but his heart beats for a competitor. His wife Marte enters the World Cup late. She pushes the duel a lot.
Of course, the Röiselands mainly have a theme. “There is a lot of biathlon in our lives,” laughs Sverre Olsbu Röiseland. Since this season, the Norwegian is not only one of the two coaches of the German women’s team, but is also married to the most successful skier in recent history. And because Marte Olsbu Röiseland is back at the World Cup for the first time this week in Slovenia after a long enforced break following a corona infection and some side effects, these will be special days for the couple on the Pokljuka plateau.
Röiseland, 32, coached the women’s B team in her home country until last year, and of course also took care of her home training partner – until an opportunity arises to try something completely new. “I didn’t want to come to Germany and change everything,” says Röiseland. Nevertheless, he brings many other impulses to the team around Olympic champion Denise Herrmann-Wick. “Germany is very important in the field of biathlon and I hope to be able to contribute some good ideas. It motivated me a lot to work here”, says Röiseland, who has a clear goal: “There is no reason for us to be in Germany. won’t become the best nation again.”
“We like to compete”
The path is long. Norway, Sweden, France – all have long had many strong athletes at all levels. The Germans have long ceased to have victories on the assembly line as in the past. Along with women’s head coach Kristian Mehringer, Röiseland must also lead a new generation to the top of the world. It is possible that Herrmann-Wick, 34, will end his career after this winter with the highlight of the World Championships at home in Oberhof. Filling this gap will be a difficult task. “I am very happy to have accepted this position”, says Röiseland, who always receives all the support imaginable from his wife. In recent months, the pair have rarely been able to see each other as Marte trained at his home in Norway while Sverre moved from World Cup to World Cup.
“We love competing against each other, even if it gets weird at first,” says Marte Olsbu Röiseland. The three-time Beijing Olympic champion and eleven-time world champion had already thought about the end of her career after the Winter Games in China. “For me, his move was an important reason to continue. I really want to compete with him at Oberhof,” said the World Cup winner last season. In 2020, she was the first ski hunter to win seven medals in seven races at the Antholz World Championships. Her whereabouts are unknown at the moment, shortly before the peak in Thuringia (February 8-19).
“Trying to learn German”
There will be first answers in the afternoon (2:20 p.m. / ZDF and Eurosport) when she makes her debut at the very end of the season in the sprint on the Pokljuka and Sverre observes her for the first time as a competition coach. For the German Ski Association, this is a whole new way to acquire know-how from abroad. “I try to learn German more and more and I understand better and better. But I speak English with the girls,” says Röiseland. A year or two in school is not enough for disciplinary instructions. “But it’s a start,” says Röiseland. In the person of the Slovenian Uros Velepec, the men of DSV now have a coach who communicates mainly in English.
Röiseland is considered an expert in technique, both running and shooting, working the finer points with great attention to detail. In Germany, however, he finds completely different conditions. “In Norway, you start skiing at the age of four, it’s part of the way of life,” he explains. The talent pool is much larger there, but that shouldn’t be an advantage. “It depends on the system and the coaches to promote properly.” That’s exactly what he wants to do. With a lot of patience and the right plan for everyone. “We want to get the best out of everyone, but not everyone can train the same way,” he says and after just a few months realizes: “There is a lot of quality in the German system.”
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