All hail Dorothea Wierer: Italy's Biathlon queen

The two-time Olympic medallist clinched the overall World Cup, as she helps raise the sport's profile in Italy.

Dorothea Wierer made history. Again.

The two-time Olympic bronze medallist became her nation's first ever biathlon overall World Cup winner. She was the first Italian woman to win a world title clinching gold in the mass start in Ostersund just seven days earlier.

Wierer finished Sunday's mass start in Oslo-Holmenkollen, Norway in twelfth position, as she held off the competition to secure the crystal globe.

Inspired by Lindsey Vonn, the 28-year-old got the better of compatriot Lisa Vittozzi and Slovakia's three-time Olympic champion Anastasiya Kuzmina, with their season-long battle going down to the wire.

"When I was a kid I couldn't imagine that one day I would win the overall World Cup. I am very proud. We are only a few biathletes in Italy but we have great passion and we always give it our all. I am so happy," Wierer said.

The last time Italy topped the podium at the worlds was in 1997, when Wilfried Pallhuber claimed the sprint crown in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia.

However back then biathlon didn't enjoy nearly the same popularity in Italy as it does today.

That biathlon is now front-page news alongside Italy's more traditional sporting loves of football, cycling and Formula 1, Doro deserves plenty of credit.

Let's find out more about her.

Biathlon in the blood

Wierer was born in Brunico in the South-Tyrol region of Italy and grew up nearby in Rasun-Anterselva.

This small town is best known for its biathlon arena, which hosts a leg of the IBU World Cup.

In late January it was the scene of thousands of jubilant Italian biathlon fans, who were cheering their hero to victory on home snow.

Skiing and carrying a rifle is common in this part of Italy and everybody in Wierer's large family (she has four siblings) took part in the sport growing up.

Her 18-year-old sister Magdalena also competes and is considered one of team Azzurro's emerging talents.

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Overcoming nerves

Wierer made her biathlon breakthrough in 2008, when she won her first gold medal at the Junior World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany.

In 2015/2016 she secured her first senior World Cup podium spot in a season that saw her finish third overall.

Last year at PyeongChang 2018, the 28-year-old was one of the favourites for a medal, but a sixth place in the mass start was her best individual result.

She blamed insomnia and nerves for her poor performance in Korea, but managed to overcome these issues in 2018/19.

"This year when I'm shooting from the firing range, I've never been so calm. I feel more relaxed, perhaps it's the age..." she told Corriere della Sera.

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#justyouandme ♥️

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A model athlete?

The five-time world medallist is one of the most popular Nordic athletes on social media.

With 364K Instagram followers she's only second to five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade (410K).

Wierer admits that her looks helped with that: "I can't deny (my looks) helped, especially with sponsors. For me it's important to highlight my feminine side in a sport which is still very male dominated", she told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Perhaps this explains why she wears mascara makeup during competitions: "It's important for me. Apart from when it's snowing and I end up looking like a clown!"

In 2015 Doro married fellow army officer Stefano Corradini, who works as a cross-country skiing coach.

She admitted starting a family is on her mind, but it will have to wait until at least February 2020.

For that is when the Biathlon World Championships will be taking place in home arena at Anterselva, and she said she simply can't miss the event.

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