3 May 2022

People of Antholz-Anterselva: Linda’s Story

Reading 7min
Foto di Linda, una bambina abitante di Anterselva/Antholz

She’s 11 years old, grew up in Antholz-Anterselva, and has a big dream: to follow in the steps of champion Dorothea Wierer.

At the primary school in Antholz, about fifty children are studying the future of the valley. The walls are covered with drawings and, in all of them, there are mountains. Growing up in this part of the Puster Valley means learning from an early age to live in contact with nature, spending the afternoons in the Stube at high altitude or on the farm with grandparents, even learning to ski before talking. During breaktime in the courtyard you can hear German spoken. It is the first language for all these children who, however, have no doubt about the fact that they are Italian. 

Linda is 11 years old, she is in the fifth grade and is the best in her class at Italian. She still gets a few verbs wrong and when the words don’t come she looks to the teacher for help. She has blonde hair tied up with a headband that Dorothea Wierer gave her.

"She is my myth: she is good, she is beautiful and I would like to be a champion like her one day. She once came to watch one of our biathlon training sessions and gave everyone something. I have this headband that I keep like a treasure''.


Foto di Linda, una bambina abitante di Anterselva/Antholz


When did you start biathlon?

Here in Antholz you can start at the age of six, I started last year. It's my favourite sport. I train twice a week for two and a half hours and, from next year, three times a week. Soon I'll also start racing.


Why did you choose this sport?

The biathlon stadium is close to home, I tried it because it was convenient and I immediately loved it. I am the first in our family, but in my class a lot of children do it.


What do you like most about biathlon?

I'm not very good at cross-country skiing but I like shooting with the... Miss, how do you say "Gewehr" in Italian?

Linda looks at the teacher: "It's called a rifle".


How did you learn Italian?

"We started studying Italian in first grade, two hours a week. Now we do five hours a week in fifth grade, and last year we also started studying English. There are 13 of us in class, 8 girls and five boys, but I'm the best. With my friends and at home, however, I speak German".


What is your favourite word in Italian?

Friendship. My best friend's name is Elena, we do everything together, we go to Lake Anterselva, we go for walks, we ski together.


Foto di Linda, una bambina abitante di Anterselva/Antholz


What do you want to be when you grow up?

I'd like to work in a sawmill like my Dad. At the weekend my grandfather teaches me how to drive the forklift and makes me move the wood, it’s lots of fun. Or I would like to become a biathlon champion.


What's your favourite dish?

Il Tirtlan! It is a large pastry filled with spinach, ricotta and fried sauerkraut. My grandmother always cooks it.


Do you know that the Olympics will be held here in Antholz?

As soon as the news came out, everyone was talking about it! And they told us at school too. I think it's going to be like a big party and I imagine people from all over the world will come. Every now and then we rent rooms at home to tourists who come to Antholz, everyone tells many interesting stories and with the Olympics being here even more people will come.


What do you imagine it will be like?

Amazing. At the 2026 Olympics I'll probably still be too young, but at the ones after maybe I'll be able to compete!

What's the very first place you'd take a little girl your age, coming from abroad to watch the Olympics?
First I would take her for a walk to Staller Saddle, at the end of the valley, and we would go all the way to Lake Obersee. I would also go to Lake Antholz, it's my favourite place to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the view.


Where would you like to live when you grow up?

In Antholz, I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world.


Foto panoramica di Anterselva/Antholz
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