When the result board turned to the next page and showed her final result Haley Johnson could not help but crying. To see that historic 21st place on the score board in Pokljuka after the women’s individual today was a relief in many ways. Not only was it the best result for the US women this season but it also was the direct qualification for the US Olympic Team. “I made it”, Haley screamed, “I made it. Unbelievable!”
It was once again that famous last shot that did not hit the target. “I probably did not drink enough and I somehow was sweating and couldn’t see that last target so I just shot somewhere”, Haley tried to explain. Ranking 16th she left the shooting range not knowing which position she was at. “The team on the track didn’t tell me how I did so far. So I was wondering, if I could me in a good position because that’s normally the time when team manager Bernd Eisenbichler doesn’t give me any hints just to be sure that I am not under too much pressure at the last shooting!”
On the last lap though he finally told her the position. “I tried to go faster to stay up front there but I just couldn’t. I was just empty and probably skied slower than the laps before!” When she crossed the finish line, Haley couldn’t stop shaking. She really gave everything during those 15k that turned out to be her career best. “It is nice to know that you gave everything and did not just end up in a 70th place or something like that. With that result it even feels good to be so empty.”
Haley Johnson - Video comment
3:41.8 minutes she was behind today’s winner and the current best biathlete of the world, Helena Jonsson from Sweden leaving biathlon legends like Kati Wilhelm and Simone Hauswald from Germany behind her.
“I am very impressed with Haley’s race. We did know that she is able to finish in a good position but it was only during the last days that Haley really calmed down. She was confident of herself and her ability on the shooting range and what she showed today seemed just like a normal and perfect training race! It’s just amazing how she pulled that off”, head coach Per Nilsson expressed after the race.
“Haley put together a fantastic performance today hitting 19 of her 20 targets and finishing 21st in the WC. She has worked so hard this year and it's really wonderful to see her have this breakthrough. She's our first woman to make the qualification for the Olympic Team”, stated USBA-executive director Max Cobb.