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Kati Wilhelm: Taking Decisions, Teamwork, Motivation & Leadership

From the Thuringian Forest to the World’s Top in Biathlon – Kati Wilhelm: Multi-talent from the Thuringian Forest.

Her roots lie in the Thuringian Forest. Kati Wilhelm was born there in Schmalkalden on August 2, 1976. Her school career was pretty normal, but from the first grade on with a special focus on sports and especially on cross-country skiing. She gained her first cross-country skiing experience in 1983 at the Steinbach-Hallenberg training center, where she still lives today. At the age of 14, Kati Wilhelm transferred to the sports high school in Oberhof, where she graduated in 1995. Immediately afterwards, Kati Wilhelm joined the German Armed Forces’ sports support group in Oberhof, where she earned the rank of sergeant major over the course of time.

Kati Wilhelm – The change to ski hunter.

Kati Wilhelm started in the biathlon field in 1999, and the change to skijägerin was marked by a key event: “That was at the Military World Championships, where I was still a cross-country skier. I was watching biathlon training and someone asked me if I wanted to do ten shots.”

For Kati Wilhelm, this was her first contact with a biathlon weapon. And at the latest when she hit the bull’s eye nine times in ten attempts, she was infected by the “biathlon virus”. Since her previous cross-country skiing season had not gone as she had wished, the decision to switch to biathlon was relatively easy for her. “I thought to myself, I’ll just try it and if it doesn’t work out, I can always quit; then at least I’ll know I tried everything.” A good decision: already in her first World Cup year in 2000, the first successes set in. “That’s when I finished third for the first time and all of a sudden I knew: It was worth it and I did exactly the right thing.”

Kati Wilhelm Lecture topic:

Taking decisions – achieving goals.
Along personal experiences and exciting competitions Kati Wilhelm conveys how decisions influence life. She encourages you to make decisions yourself and not to wait until others (or circumstances) take over. Her motto is: Become active yourself! The best way to grasp decisions and their opportunities anew is to
best out of practical experience. Making decisions requires courage, which is rewarded. Kati Wilhelm explains what goes on between the head and the gut, and that decisiveness can be learned.

Kati Wilhelm has mastered the exit from cross-country skiing well and is now successful in other areas. And she has been doing so for many years now – hardly believable in view of the fact that the Thuringian in racing suit and on cross-country skis is still so immensely present in one’s mind. This may be due, among other things, to the fact that Kati has remained connected to the biathlon – visible to the public above all in the context of ARD’s live broadcasts of the competitions. At Michael Antwerpes’ side, she has been accompanying the races on site for TV viewers as a biathlon expert since the 2010/2011 season. “It’s a great job that I really enjoy and can bring a lot to the table. I’m still close to the athletes, which makes my job a lot easier.”

Kati Wilhelm has won just about everything there was to win. With three gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal, she is one of the best biathletes ever at the Olympics.

Olympic Games:
3 gold medals: 2 x 2002 (individual, relay), 2006 (pursuit).
3 silver medals: 2002 (pursuit), 2 x 2006 (mass start, relay)
1 bronze medal: 2010 (relay)

World Championships:
5 gold medals: 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009 (3 x individual, 2 x relay).
4 silver medals: 2001, 2005, 2009 (1 x pursuit, 3 x relay)
4 bronze medals: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 (3 x relay, 1 x individual)

World Cup:
Overall World Cup winner: 2005/06 & second in overall World Cup: 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09.

Then, of course, there’s life away from the cameras, which is enriched by her two children Jakob (2014) and daughter Lotta (2011). Both are present at the World Cup dates as often as they can. The goal: family reunion. At the same time, dad Andreas Emslander is making sure the skis are properly sharpened in the German team at the World Cups.

The qualities that distinguished her as an athlete are helping Kati Wilhelm to reconcile all of these things in her new phase of life – including the appointments she still keeps for sponsors. Ambition, hard work and a positive attitude have always been her constant companions in everything she does. She benefits from this in every situation in life.

Added to this are her experiences from her time as an active athlete. Change of location, new coaches, defeats and deadline stress: Kati Wilhelm has experienced a number of changes – and coped with them in the best possible way. Especially in the moments when the attention was particularly focused on her, Kati has proven that she can withstand public and personal pressure in equal measure. This mental strength has always been underlined by her sporting successes. Because a look at her collection of titles shows: The Steinbach-Hallenberger has won just about everything there is to win. With three gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal, she is one of the best biathletes ever at the Olympic Games. With the bronze medal for her relay team at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Kati Wilhelm put a worthy end to an outstanding career.

Kati Wilhelm: “I have achieved everything there is to achieve. It was the right time to stop”.

In the fall of 2014, Kati Wilhelm fulfilled another small dream and opened her own restaurant – the HEIMATLON – in her hometown. “Steinbach-Hallenberg is my home and I wanted to give something back for the many years of support during my athletic career. I’m an honorary citizen, I feel comfortable here and I wanted to create something for the people from here and for tourists.”

There is a lot to do! Fun in diversity – this motto also characterizes Kati Wilhelm in her “new” life.

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