Kadri Lehtla: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Kadri Lehtla.

Kadri Lehtla is an Estonian biathlete from Tallinn. She was born on the 3rd of May 1985 and started biathlon in 2006. She made her World Cup debut in 2007 and achieved her career best result in the Oestersund individual in 2013 when she finished 14th. She has represented Estonia at two Olympic Games in Vancouver and Sochi as well as at nine World Championships.

Follow Kadri on Instagram: kadrilehtla

Why did you become a biathlete?

I used to be a cross country skier until the age of 21. I was in a bit of a difficult situation. A friend of mine insisted that I try biathlon because there are much more opportunities. Best decision ever!

How do you assess last season? What was good and what was bad?

Since I haven’t had any good results in a long time (there are reasons why) and my last season didn’t seem different, I noticed the difference. I enjoyed racing again and gained back my confidence. Also my shooting was pretty nice.

What have you been doing for summer training? Has the corona virus affected the plans or the way you train?

Actually my summer has gone very well. Quite possibly my best summer ever. So far the virus situation hasn’t affected my plans much. Not sure about the next months. I hope I will have the possibility to train in the Alps as well.

What are your goals for this season?

My goal is to come back strong and healthy again. I wish to reach at least those results I made a long time ago.

How has biathlon in Estonia changed since you started competing?

Biathlon is much more popular now. When I started, nobody really knew what was going on there. Cross country was number 1 and nobody cared about the rifles. Now it’s the opposite. The World Cup races are on national TV and the interest is very high. Love to see that. Sadly our winters are getting worse and worse and kids don’t want to ski on mud, so the future is fragile.

You have had a long career in biathlon. How long do you think you will continue and do you have any plans for afterwards like coaching for example?

I think it has been a long career. But to me it doesn’t seem so. Time flies so fast, it’s terrifying. I would love to do one more Olympics. To be honest I have never planned my career ending. I never set the exact date. It comes when it’s time.
I have some plans for afterwards. Coaching might be one of them. Also I’m into photography. And I would like to try Ironman!

You are having a dinner party with 3 other biathletes. Who would you invite and why?

I would invite Kaisa Mäkeräinen, because she is one of my favourites since the beginning. Susan Dunklee, it’s always nice to talk to her. And last, if it would be possible, Halvard Hanevold. His humour would make the dinner party fabulous. May he rest in peace. There’s going to be a “design your own pizza party” with some good wine. 😉

What song would you add to the stadium playlist and what song would you remove?

I don’t think I would remove anything. But I would add Rudimental ft. John Newman – ‘Not giving in’ and Kanye West – ‘Stronger’.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

It’s glorious Antholz-Anterselva. Fell in love with that place the very first time I got there back in 2008.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

Kaisa Mäkeräinen as I mentioned before. Always root for your neighbours. I have a strong connection with Finland.


Does your rifle have a name?

Unfortunately no. But Mustang would be cool name. Maybe I will start calling him that.

Describe yourself in three words.

Strong headed, Calm, Positive

Quick fire choices:
Choose one:

skiing or shooting? Both. You can’t do biathlon with just one.
prone or standing? Standing.
against the clock or head to head racing? Head to head.
uphill or downhill? Yay! Downhill it is!
mixed relay or women’s relay? Mixed.
morning or night? Morning.
sun or snow? Both. Sun is where you get the energy. On snow you use the energy.
roller skiing or cycling? Roller skiing. Actually I like mountainbiking too but not road.
alcohol or chocolate? Umm, I’m not much into chocolate. So I’d say a bottle of cold beer after tough week is good.

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