Helena Ekholm Quietly Retires; Video Interview
|10.04.2012, Ostersund / IBU Info. Dept. JK|
|Medals, Life at Home and a New Job for Swedish Star|
|In case anyone missed it, the women’s mass start in Khanty Mansiysk marked the final World Cup start for more than one biathlon star in the prime of her career. That competition was the “last hurrah” for 27-year-old Helena Ekholm, as well as the much-more heralded career wrap-up for Magdalena Neuner.
Closing her career quietly in Khanty Mansiysk was full of symbolism. It was exactly five years to the day before this year’s mass start, that Ekholm scored the first of her thirteen World Cup victories in the 2007 Khanty Mansiysk mass start.
Ekholm was no overnight star on the World Cup circuit, until that 2007 season when she led off for the Swedish team that won the World Championship mixed relay in Antholz. “I do not remember much about that day, except that I was really, really nervous. The other three were really good and I had to do my very best.”
What she considers a “special” highlight in her career was also in the mixed relay, a Silver medal with her husband-to-be David. Now three years later, a big smile comes from Helena as she recalls that day. “That we have a medal together is pretty cool. Not many couples have that.”
World Cup Total Score Title
The pinnacle of Ekholm’s career came when she won the World Cup Total Score in the 2008-09 season. In typical Ekholm style, she moved rather quietly from the shadows to the number one spot. “I just hoped to be better than 9th (her spot the previous year). I never expected it; I never even dreamed of it! It was so far away…I was climbing up all season, but I still never thought that I would win.”
From that point on, Ekholm stayed in the top ranks of the sport, finishing third twice and fifth this season in the Total Score, while winning Gold and Bronze medals, both in the 15K individual at the 2011 and 2012 IBU World Championships.
Now during the peak of her career, Ekholm is moving on from biathlon and looking forward to new challenges in her life. She has a job in economics waiting for her and is in the process of building a new house with her husband near Östersund. Regarding this new stage in her life, she said, “I hope it will be nice and I will have new goals to work toward. Of course I will miss biathlon.”
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A more extensive interview with Helena Ekholm can be found in the next issue of Biathlonworld Magazine, which will be published later this month. Subscriptions to Biathlonworld Magazine are available by following this link: http://www.webaboshop.de/webaboshop/subscriptionDetail.do?positionId=433004&productCategory=scwAboshopBiathlonWorld
Biathlonworld.com TV sat down with Helena Ekholm for the following interview, just before her final World Cup appearance in Khanty Mansiysk.