Well, I did it. I DID IT! I DID IT!
Today was the woman's 7.5km Sprint in Oberhof Germany. It was chilly, -10, windy and foggy. Very difficult conditions for shooting. I was starter 54 out of 95 or so. Group 3 was very popular as many believed the track would get faster and faster. I chose group 3 because I can only choose between group 3 and 4 and starting last is lame. Welcome to the back of the pack, you faster athletes. Get on the party train.
I was able to get some physio the night before from the Swedish teams physio because I did not want my leg to act up again. It was good and I was feeling great the next day. I had been having some problems with my sights not moving great on my rifle all week, and the same thing happened this morning so I was so frustrated at zero and left to start the race not so pleased.
So 2:54pm rolls around and I start. The Oberhof World Cup was sold out, around 17000 spectators or something crazy. Usually I have no one on the hills cheering for me and all the coaches stare at me like I am from outer space, but TODAY I had HUNDREDS of people cheering. Maybe not for me, but it still felt awesome. Haha.
So my first shooting I came in and wasn't sure about the wind. I don't remember if I clicked or not, but I missed my first prone and thought "crap, this is going to be awful". But then I hit the next 4. Woo! Around the penalty loop and back out on track. Peter Zidek was on the big hill and it was SO exciting having a coach to run out on course and yell who-knows-what in my general direction. It was very motivating, even if I didn't hear what he was saying. In to the range again for standing and I was a bit nervous as my standing has not been top-notch this year. The wind was...You know what, I don't really remember. The best races, at least for me, are the ones that just happen without thinking. So the wind was doing something, and I hit all 5! Yessss....I do remember thinking I was cross-firing or doing something wrong because they were all going down and nothing ever seems to go so smoothly for me! So, no penalty loops and I ate that last loop up. I don't know how awesome I looked but I skied like a mad woman, or tried to atleast.
I finished in 31st position. This was very exciting for me as usually I finish on my number (ie. 54th) or after it (57th). But today I finished ahead! I ended up 45th position and 12.06% behind the leaders. What is the New Zealand qualification? 12.5%. Which means....I DID IT! I qualified for the 2010 Olympics. Ballin.
Now, don't get excited everyone. There is still one more thing. The IBU has set this nation ranking thing. Top 27 nations have definite spots, and if they do not fill their quota then they do a countback. I am nation #33. We will not find out if I have a spot until January 25th. 3 more weeks and we will know if I will go or not. AHHHHHHHHH!
What a day!