The preparation went well until November, when I fell ill with COVID-19. It hit me after the training camp in Oberhof.
“I had to stay 19 days at home. It was very long.” – Lisa was telling to Corriere dello Sport.
“I spent the whole November at home and could not train because of a coronavirus. I was physically ill, I felt weak. Even in Kontiolahti, I still didn’t feel 100% strong.”
She also explained what symptoms she had during the illness: – “I have had sinusitis, headaches, bone pain and back pain, as well as not feeling the flavors. Even now when I’m healed, I dont really feel flavors, at least I don’t feel them 100% and I have yet to fully regain my appetite”.
So I had almost all symptoms, but the disease did not affect the lungs, the respiratory system. I felt very tired, everything hurt. After that, it was not easy to recover, even in order to just go to the start. Of course, I’m trying to show my maximum now, but it’s very difficult.
The season didn’t start well and I still don’t feel very well. Every day is unpredictable: either everything is normal, or I feel worse than I would normally do. One of the worst things is that I don’t even know how I am supposed to feel or what to expect going forward, because no one knows how the recovery from this disease goes.
– There are several examples of a coronavirus crippling athletes. The world class cross country skier, Sergei Ustyugov, is struggling badly to recover anything like his former level of skiing and he has even said that this is an illness which potentially can end your career. Biathletes like the Fialkova sisters are also struggling badly and have gone back to their native Slovakia to have more test conducted, while other athletes like the winner of the final climb stage of the cross country skiing’s tour de ski, Denis Spitsov, have recovered well. What did you feel when you first started skiing after coming back from your illness?
“I agree with Ustyugov. Coming back for the first few races, I had no strength at all, I could not do anything for another month after the test showed a negative result. That is, yes, I trained, but it at a level far inferior to my normal training.”
Ahead the World Championship in Slovenian Pokljuka, what are your thoughts considering the situation?
“The illness hasn’t changed my goals for the season – it’s still the World Cup in Pokljuka. I know that I can show good results there, I have always performed well there. Therefore, this is still my main goal.” – said the Italian.
That Lisa Vittozzi’s performance has been impacted by her spell with the Covid19 -virus seems very plausible when we take a look at our predictions coming into the season. Our biathlon model predicted her as the sixth most likely winner for the very first race of the season the 15 KM individual in Kontiolahti.
For the second race of the season, the first sprint in Kontiolahti our model had downgraded her to the twelfth most likely winner.
The input data of our model did not take into account that she had been Covid-19 positive, but was purely based on her performance from the previous seasons.
Sportindepth wishes Lisa Vittozzi the best of luck for the Pokljuka 2021 world championships and with the rest of her biathlon career.
Full Lisa Vittozzi profile is available here.