The Biathlon23 Awards 2022/23!

Hello and welcome to the 10th annual Biathlon23 awards. The alternative awards for biathlon which represent the important things in the sport like the ski suits and rifle design. They are among the most prestigious and most sought after awards. Who wants a crystal globe when you can win one of these!

The awards are of course subject to a rigorous system used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree! ๐Ÿ˜€

Most hits on the blog (most popular):

We had a mixture of returning biathletes for interviews this season like Clare Egan, Mark Arendz, Emma Lunder and Johanna Taliherm and some new faces like Blagoy Todev and Johanna Puff and of course we must always feature a Finnish coach or the coach of Finland this time Erik Kulstad. The most popular interview however was from the very small team of one biathlete on the IBU Cup. He did sneak into the World Championships too as Great Britain’s sole representative!

Winner: Marcus Bolin Webb

Golden shot:

We all know who the good shooters are on the World Cup. Simon Eder, Sebastian Stalder, Sturla Laegreid and Niklas Hartweg for the men and Dunja Zdouc, Vannessa Voight and Karoline Knotten for the women. However according to the IBU the two biathletes with the best shooting statistics are Ella Halvarsson and Nikita Romanov with a 93% hit rate each. So how do you choose between them? The simple answer is you don’t and go for the person with a 100% hit rate. At World Championships she hit 50/50 and at World Cup finals she did the same. Admittedly she doesn’t have as many races to compete in but she does compete in them using just arm power. Imagine how hard it is to ski with only your upper body and then use your arms not only to shoot but to lift yourself back off the mat and never miss!

Winner: Kendall Gretsch

Fair Play:

There is only one choice for this season’s fair play award. At the Open European Championships in Lenzerheide this biathlete thought that she had hit all her targets in the Individual race on her standing shoot but it turns out she had missed two as she was cross firing onto another target. No one else realised either and she was declared the winner of the race. That was until her coach came forward to confirm the missed targets that cost her a two minute penalty and instead of claiming the gold she was 11th instead. It was a perfect example of fair play and both the biathlete and coach deserve a lot of respect. The organising committee in Lenzerheide gave them an award for fair play and I am too.

Winner: Michaela Carrara and Edoardo Mezzaro.

Epic Fail:

There are two contenders for this award. The first relates to the previous award when most of biathlon Twitter proclaimed Carrara as the winner of the race. They declared the winner before the jury had met and made the results official so they all had to backtrack and explain the error. Speaking of bad communication the winner of this award did exactly that. At the World Championships after most teams had announced their four athletes to compete in the sprint races it turned out they could field more in some cases thanks to a rule change. I don’t know if it got missed by the teams when all the new points rules were announced or it just wasn’t explained properly but it was a right kerfuffle!

Winner: The IBU

Best social media:

The IBU has a strong social media game and that Biathlon23 blog isn’t bad either!๐Ÿ˜‰ One however stands out. We all know and love him as a really funny guy. His photoshop wizardry was on point this season too transforming his teammates into superheroes. It even spilled over into real life with his Incredible Hulk gloves. I can neither confirm or deny that this award was won for a video of half naked Norwegian biathletes in a sauna in Kontiolathi!

Winner: Vetle Christiansen

Best fall:

I think nearly all of the Finnish team had a fall at World Championships and there were many others throughout the year. The best came in the men’s Pursuit in Oberhof where this biathlete fell face first into the snow and then skidded right off the edge of the track and continued down the snow bank. He had to be helped back up on to the tracks but no damage was done to him or his equipment. Ironically this is the one time it would have been acceptable not know his whereabouts but it seems he knew exactly where he was! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Winner: Andrejs Rastorgujevs

Best rifle design:

BORING! That is the best way to describe most of the rifle designs this season. We had to search hard for new contenders to rival previous winners like Marketa Davidova and Michal Krcmar. Ambroise Meunier has a Jackson Pollock inspired paint job. Either that or all his paint tins fell of a shelf onto his rifle but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was intentional! The other contenders are both ex-cross country skiers who are showing the biathletes how it’s done. Anamarija Lampic in her first season has a leopard print design but not any old leopard no, it’s a snow leopard for winter! See she has thought about it! ๐Ÿ˜† The winner is an example to all. She started the season with a Christmas design with Santa on his sleigh with his reindeer and also some snowflakes. After Christmas she changed it to just the snowflakes. Changing design mid season is proper dedication to rifle design. Shame on everyone else – SHAME! And thank goodness for our well deserved winner!

Winner: Stina Nilsson

Best ski suit:

There were quite a few good ski suits this season. The Czechs and the Slovaks both looked pretty snazzy. The Norwegian suit was a grower. It didn’t impress me at the start but I did come to like it. Bulgaria upped their ski suit game too from the horrors of previous seasons. The winner though is a cool design depicting something very famous from the country, a beautiful white fern design on the lower leg and arm and it’s unique as there is only one of them!

Winners: New Zealand.

Worst ski suit:

Well what can I say we all know who has won this but special mention has to go to Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Canada for basically having the same suit so you could hardly tell who was who! Surely there should be some vetting process preseason to make sure this doesn’t happen as it’s a nightmare for the spectators. France’s ski suit was also a bit weird as from one side you think they are Italy in blue and the other side Norway in red. Our winner is of course that total debacle of red, white and green splashed across the crotch looking like a horrible accident at dinner! How this country can still claim to be fashionable I don’t know. This is the second season in a row they have won this after their abominable ski jacket from the Olympics last year!!!

Winner: Italy

Best biathlete23:

There are two contenders both from the Ruhpolding Individual. Vetle Christiansen was second hitting 19 and only beaten by JTB like everyone else this season. The winner however won the Ruhpolding Individual with 20/20. It was her first win in 4 years putting the icing on the cake of her comeback season and it also contributed to her winning the Individual crystal globe which was the cherry on top! All thanks to bib23 of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Winner: Lisa Vittozzi

Biggest improver:

There was a lot of new talent on the World Cup this season like Lou Jeanmonnot and Sophie Chauveau. However it’s their first full year so they don’t have anything to compare to. Anna Magnusson had a great season getting her first win and went from 33rd to 14th in the total score. Sebastian Stalder went from 40th to 17th in his second season and teammate Niklas Hartweg went from 74th to 11th but his first season on the World Cup wasn’t a full one. The winner went from 99th to 28th in the total score helped by two top 10 finishes and a new personal best of 8th.

Winner: Polona Klemencic

Best team performance:

There were a lot of good team perfomances this season. The Czech Youth men’s relay team had a stunning race in Kazakhstan at the World Championships using just 3 spares in atrocious conditions to win gold. The Norwegian men’s Relay team were strong again but then the French were great to beat them at Worlds. The Swedish women’s team were tough to beat again as were the French team who won the overall title. The winners had a stellar competition at Worlds. They won the women’s relay, they were second in the mixed relay and third in the single mixed relay and 7th in the men’s relay.

Winner: The Italian Relay teams.

Performance of the season:

There were many great performances this season. Basically every race Johannes Thingnes Boe did! Lisa Vittozzi’s Individual win. Denise Herrmann’s sprint gold at home in Oberhof. Anna Magnussson’s debut win. Niklas Hartweg for both his podiums, the list goes on. The winner had to comeback from bitter disappointment to triumph at World Championships. After being distraught after a problem with his rifle cost his team a medal in the mixed relay he turned it around to come third in the sprint and pursuit and then win gold in the mass start hitting 20/20 to beat Johannes Thingnes Boe and his speedy teammate Martin Ponsilouma. It is a fantastic lesson in self belief for any young athlete.

Winner: Sebastian Samuelsson

Biathlete of the year:

Well you might expect this to go to Johannes Thingnes Boe for his exceptional season. He won 19 races, all the sprints and seven out of eight pursuits as well as 7 medals at World Championships four of them gold. But in the words of Shania Twain “that don’t impress me much!” I mean it does but it isn’t a shock. We know how good he is and we expected a great comeback this season but it was better than anyone thought. The winner of this award however has made herself into a brilliant biathlete. We knew on any given day she could win races but they were maybe three or four days maximum a season. This season her shooting has clicked and propelled her to the top of women’s biathlon with a consistency she has never had before. That is the fruit of many years of hard work and indeed a lot of failure. Now it is success. With the Overall Title and World Championship pursuit gold there was only one winner of this award.

Winner: Julia Simon

Para-biathlete of the year:

Again there were many impressive biathletes in the para races this season. Mark Arendz, Kendall Gretsch, Linn Kazmaier and the Ukrainians Taras Rad, Bohdana Konashuk, Oleksandr Kazik and Anatolii Kovalevskyi all enjoyed success on the World Cup and at World Championships. There is one biathlete who I have to give this award to though. It’s really tough to be successful in biathlon when you are from a small nation and even harder when most of your funding gets cut. It didn’t stop this man however from getting to the World Championships and after 8 long years finally winning the silver medal in the sitting individual. It was his first ever 20/20, his first ever biathlon medal, Scotland’s first ever biathlon medal and Great Britain’s first ever biathlon medal! There may or may not have been tears!

Winner: Scott Meenagh

Junior biathlete of the year:

There are a lot of good Juniors around at the moment. Campbell Wright earned New Zealand their first ever biathlon World Title in the sprint. Nicolo Betemps won the Junior overall title. Anna Andexer won the women’s Junior overall. The winner is so good that she doesn’t even compete on the Junior Cup she races the IBU Cup where she finished 6th and made her World Cup debut in Holmenkollen finishing 44th in the sprint. She won 4 gold medals at the Junior World Championships and technically at 19 she is still a youth but she is competing with the juniors and the seniors.

Winner: Selina Grotian

Youth biathlete of the year:

It’s always hard to chose the Youth biathlete as you have to base it mainly on the World Championships. There were some fabulous performances this season. For Germany Julia Kink winning two golds and Julia Tannheimer three. The winner comes from the men’s side this year with a medal in every race. He won gold in the mixed relay and the pursuit, silver in the individual and bronze in the relay and the sprint all in his first major Championships.

Winner: Sivert Gerhardsen

Best decade long biathlon blog:

It’s been 10 years that this blog has been running bringing you news, views, interviews, race reports, previews, reviews and awards. And it has championed the cause of everyone’s favourite bib – number 23! I hate to think of the amount of hours spent watching and writing about biathlon using up a lot of free time! It wouldn’t be possible without the support of everyone who has read the nonsense over the years. Some of you have been there right from the start (I question your sanity!) and many others have joined along the way. Thank you everyone for reading! You are the bullets in my magazine and the wax on my skis! It’s been a lot of work but I have loved it! And let’s face it no one else is going to award me anything so I am giving myself an award!

Winner: Biathlon23

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Season Review 2022/23: Biathlete23!

Well what a season it has been! We had the official Biathlon23 Day on 2/3/23. We had a win and a second place finish and crowned Johannes Thingnes Boe as Biathlete23. JTB won every race he started on the World Cup in 2023 and 3/4 at World Champs. He won on Biathlon23 Day! His first ever WC win was in bib23 so he is the real life Biathlete23!

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year. This season the points scoring system also changed for the top six finishers but that didn’t make much difference to us!๐Ÿ™ˆ

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points Year 6: 730 points (3 fewer races) Year 7: 957 points Year 8: 629 points

This season the total points were 784. The men scored 409 points putting them in 18th place in the total score between Sebastian Stalder and Simon Eder. The women scored 375 points which would put biathlete23 in 18th place between Paulina Batovska Fialkova and Karoline Knotten.

Kontiolahti was the first stop on the World Cup circuit and home biathlete Olli Hiidensalo was first in bib23 in the men’s individual. He got us off to a great start finishing 11th. Fuyuko Tachizachi raced in the women’s individual coming 34th. In the sprints there were no points finishes with Christian Gow in 78th and Kelsey Dickinson in 78th. Campbell Wright was 48th in the pursuit but Elisa Gasparin was 34th adding some points to the total. We left Finland with 44 points.

As usual Hochfilzen was the venue for the second round. In the sprint Suvi Minkkinnen was 38th and Justus Strelow was 9th. In the pursuits Sebastian Stalder and Sophia Schneider were both 24th so points scored in every race meant a total of 68 from Austria.

The next stop was Biathlete23’s spiritual home of Annecy. Three times bib23 has won the sprint race here but it wasn’t to be this season. Emilien Jacquelin came 13th in the sprint and Lisa Hauser was joint 22nd meaning she would also have bib23 in the pursuit! Amazingly she finished 22nd in that too! Olli Hiidensalo was 28th in the men’s race. In the first mass starts of the season Olli Hiidensalo got bib23 again and was 28th and home racer Sophie Chauveau was 5th! France gave us 130 points.

Post Christmas break we headed to Pokljuka. Karoline Knotten raced in the women’s sprint but was unfortunately 54th however Florent Claude was 18th in the men’s race. In the pursuits Vanessa Voigt was 26th and Serafin Wiestner 29th which all added up to 50 points in Slovenia.

It was then on to Ruhpolding for a little bit of bib23 magic! The best round biathlete23 has ever had (with a bit of help from the new points rules!). The men’s individual was the first race and Vetle Christiansen came second! The first podium of the season. If you thought that was good Lisa Vittozzi only went and won the women’s race!!! It was the pinnacle of her comeback season and all thanks to bib23. Well maybe a little bit thanks to her but mostly bib23!!!๐Ÿ˜‰ In the mass starts the points kept rolling in with Vytautas Strolia finishing 6th and Emma Lunder 9th. Biathlete 23 got 237 points! Unbelievable – it’s like being Johannes Thingnes Boe!๐Ÿ˜€

Antholz was the last round before the World Championships and unsurprisingly we were back to earth with a bump! Tuuli Tomingas was 65th in the women’s sprint and Sebastian Samuelsson was 30th in the men’s. Anne Juppe was 32nd in the pursuit and Tero Seppala was 36th so we only gained 25 points in Italy.

The World Championships no longer count towards the total score so there were no points to earn in Oberhof and no medals either for biathlete23.

Nove Mesto was next on the schedule and it was double French in the sprint with Antonin Guigonnat in 7th and Lou Jeanmonnot in 13th. In the pursuits Otto Invenius just missed the points in 41st but Rebecca Passler came home in 18th to make it 87 points in total.

It was then on to Oestersund with an up and down individual! Vanessa Voigt was 6th for some flowers but Vladimir Iliev did not start the race. In the mass starts Elisa Gasparin was 25th and Philipp Nawrath 22nd. Sweden gave us 70 points.

The final round of the World Cup was in Holmenkollen and Michal Krcmar got 10th in the men’s sprint for a good start. However the women’s race was moved from Friday to Saturday due to fog so the women’s pursuit was cancelled. In the sprint Deedra Irwin was 86th and in the men’s pursuit Vebjoern Soerum was 33rd. In the mass starts David Zobel was 17th and Elisa Gasparin was 26th so we got 73 points at the last round in Norway.

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Season Review 2022/23: Women!

The winner of the Overall Title this season is someone who was not among the top favourites at the start of the season. Julia Simon has always been capable of winning races but was not consistent enough to challenge for the Total Score. This season she sorted out her shooting issues and was brilliant on the range and super consisitent and that is what won her her first big crystal globe! She accumulated 1093 points to finish 182 points ahead of her nearest rival winning 4 races and getting 12 podium finishes. She became World Champion in the Pursuit and took bronze in the Mass Start and Mixed Relay.

Making a late charge to finish second in the overall was Dorothea Wierer with 911 points. She had a great end to the season finding her best form after Christmas. She won 3 and had another 3 podium finishes. She won gold and silver in the women’s Relay and Mixed Relay’s respectively at World Championships.

Third place on the total score went to a resurgent Lisa Vittozzi with 882 points. After a couple of tough season she has regained her confidence on the range and that translated into 1 win and 7 more podium finishes. She won the Individual score taking the crystal globe as well as the bronze medal in the World Championships Individual race. She also anchored the women’s relay team to gold in Oberhof as well as getting silver in the Mixed Relay and bronze in the Single Mixed Relay.

The blue bib was won by Elvira Oberg once again with 764 points. I’m sure she hoped for more this season but it wasn’t to be. She had illness to deal with and maybe too much expectation on her shoulders.

The Silver bib for the over 33’s was won for a second season by Denise Herrmann-Wick with 874 points and a 4th place finish in the total score.

In Oberhof at the World Championships Denise Herrmann-Wick won the Sprint gold, Julia Simon won the Pursuit, Hanna Oberg won the Individual and the Mass Start. The women’s relay gold went to Italy.

The relay score was won by France by 20 points ahead of Norway in second and Sweden in third. The nations cup also went to France with 8128 points.

We had a new winner this season and that was Anna Magnusson in the Sprint race in Annecy. New to the podium this season were Lou Jeanmonnot with a second place in the Ruhpolding Individual and the Oestersund Mass Start. Chloe Chevalier also made the podium for the first time in the Antholz Sprint finishing second.

The winner of the total score on the IBU Cup was Tilda Johansson. She finished just 2 points ahead of Gilonne Guigonnat in a very close battle that went right down to the final race. Paula Botet won the Sprint score, Marthe Krakstad Johansen won the Pursuit score, Lisa Spark came out on top in the Individual score, the Super Sprint went to Maren Kirkeeide and the Mass Start score to Gilonne Guigonnat. Norway came out ahead in the nations cup score.

For the Juniors it was Anna Andexer who won the Total Score. The Sprint and Pursuit scores went to Anaelle Bondoux and the Individual to Jeanne Richard. Germany won the nations cup score.

In para biathlon the overall titles went to Kendall Gretsch in sitting, Bohdana Konashuk in standing and Linn Kazmaier in VI.

We had more retirements this year with Vanessa Hinz hanging up her skis half way through the season. Federica Sanfilippo decided to change code to cross country after not being selected for the Italian team for Oberhof. At the end of the season Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Anais Chevalier-Bouchet and Denise Herrmann-Wick all ended their stellar careers. Fuyuko Tachizachi retired too and the Finnish duo of Nastassia Kinnunen and Mari Eder also decided to finish!

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Season Review 2022/23: Men!

He’s back! I was going to say he’s back to normal but actually he is better than ever. Of course it’s Johannes Thingnes Boe we are talking about. What a season he has had. His best ever and biathlon’s best ever.

In the first race of the season, the Individual in Kontiolahti, he missed four shots and finished 12th and we thought maybe last season’s troubles hadn’t gone away. Very wrong! As soon as he raced the Kontiolahti Sprint we knew that Boe was back and how! This season he won 19 races which is new record for the amount of wins in a season. It was his own record of 16 that he broke! At the World Championships he won the Sprint, the Pursuit, the Individual, the Mixed Relay, the Single Mixed Relay and was second in the Men’s relay and third in the mass start. He is the first man to win seven medals in seven races at the World Championships.

Of course all these results mean he won the Overall Title comfortably with 1589 points. That’s 491 more than his nearest rival. It’s his fourth big crystal globe. Along with that he won the small crystal globes for the Sprint and Pursuit winning all eight Sprint races and seven out of eight Pursuits.

Second place overall went to Sturla Laegreid with 1098 points. He matches his finish from last season when he was runner up to Quentin Fillon Maillet. He had a stellar season again with 1 win and 15 podiums. At World Championships he won gold in the Mixed Relay, silver in the Pursuit, Individual and Men’s Relay and bronze in the Sprint. There was nothing he could do against Johannes Boe but his season was still amazing.

Third place in the overall went to Vetle Christiansen. He finished fourth last season so has made it on to the podium this time. He finished with 935 points, 1 win and 7 podiums. He also won his first discipline titles taking the small crystal globe for the Individual and the Mass Start which is a fantastic achievement in this JTB dominated season.

The blue bib for the under 25’s was hotly contested this season and at the final World Cup round it was clinched by Niklas Hartweg with 608 points ahead of Tommaso Giacomel in second with 592 points.

The Silver bib for the over 33’s was retained by Tarjei Boe. He finished the season with 684 points and was 6th in the total score.

Unfortunately with Johannes Boe’s dominance on the World Cup there was no room for any first time winners. The only other men who won a race were Vetle Christiansen, Sturla Laegreid, Johannes Dale, Benedikt Doll, Martin Ponsiluoma and importantly Sebastian Samuelsson who won the gold medal in the Mass Start at the World Championships.

Happily we did see some new faces on the podium though. In Kontiolahti Niklas Hartweg and David Zobel were second and third in the Individual. Tommaso Giacomel was second in the Oestersund Individual and Eric Perrot was third in the Oestersund Mass Start.

The men’s relay title went to Norway again with 450 points ahead of Germany and France. The Mixed Relay Score was won by France in front of Norway and Switzerland. Norway were the winners of the Nations Cup with 8993 points.

On the IBU Cup Endre Stroemsheim won the Total Score. He was also the winner of the Sprint and Individual standings. The Pursuit and Mass Start scores went to Martin Uldal. The Super Sprint score went to Lucas Fratzcher.

On the Junior Cup Nicolo’ Betemps won the Total Score as well as the Sprint and shared the Pursuit score with Martin Nevland. Hans Koellner won the Individual Score.

In the Para biathlon the winners of the crystal globes were Taras Rad in the sitting, Mark Arendz in the standing and Anatolii Kovalevskyi in the VI.

There was one retirement midway through the season and that was Jules Burnotte. At the end of the season Serafin Wiestner also decided to end his career.

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Holmenkollen 2023: Mass Starts!

It was a miserable day for the mass starts reflecting the mood of all the biathlon fans knowing this was the final day of the season. It was foggy and wet for the final two races of 2022/23.

Out if the gloom 30 men emerged to race the first mass start of the day and out of those two men emerged at the front of the pack. Taking off into the distance was of course Johannes Thingnes Boe but keeping up with him was Martin Ponsiluoma.

At the first prone they both missed one target so the first lap was a complete waste of energy as they ended up back in the pack! Taking over the lead was Benedikt Doll with Quentin Fillon Maillet and Fabien Claude in close attendance.

It was all change again after the second prone with Niklas Hartweg moving ahead and Vetle Christiansen just behind and Johannes Boe already back into third spot.

Boe soon retook the lead on track and then extended it with a clean shoot in the first standing. Christiansen and Hartweg swapped positions now 14 and 19 seconds behind Boe.

At the final standing Boe missed his first shot but hit the remaining four and was out of the penalty loop before the other two even started shooting. His 19th win of the season was in the bag! Incredible!

Back on the range it was another swap around with Hartweg back into second place and Christiansen third both men having hit 20/20. With under three seconds between them we were expecting a fight on the tracks. It didn’t happen however with a tired looking Christiansen just about hanging on to his third place instead of challenging for second.

Hartweg was brilliant in second with back to back 20/20’s after cleaning in the pursuit yesterday too. It is his second podium of the season and with it he clinched the blue bib for best under 25. Christiansen was third and that meant he won the mass start score. Winning 2 small globes in a season dominated by Boe is a fantastic achievement.

Quentin Fillon Maillet was 4th, Sturla Laegreid 5th and Martin Ponsiluoma was 6th even with 4 misses!

The visibility for the women’s race was even worse but luckily it was still able to go ahead. Despite the conditions there was a lot of clean shooting in the first prone.

Hanna Oberg came out first followed by Julia Simon and another 11 clean shooters behind them.

At the second prone the top two were clean again with Simon shooting slightly faster to leave in the lead. Lou Jeanmonnot was in third and Hanna Kebinger fourth after they also went 10 for 10 in prone.

Oberg and Simon shot together in the first standing but this time only one was clean. Oberg was quick and accurate but Simon missed two. Another clean shoot from both Jeanmonnot and Kebinger moved them into second and third.

Oberg had around a 20 second lead by the final shoot. She hit the first four but missed the final target and was on the penalty loop. Luckily for her no one could take advantage of her mistake. Jeanmonnot had a nightmare with four misses. Kebinger missed one and that let Marte Olsbu Roeiseland back in the game. She had missed once in the prone but did the classic Marte of hitting her final five to go into second place in her last ever race.

Also in her final race was Anais Chevalier-Bouchet. She also missed one on the final shoot but came off the penalty loop within striking distance of Kebinger who was in third position.

Hanna skied to a comfortable win and Marte was second. Chevalier-Bouchet was too strong for Kebinger and overtook her to finish third. It was a shame for Kebinger to miss the podium but it was fitting that Chevalier-Bouchet along with Olsbu Roeiseland and Denise Herrmann-Wick all took podiums in their final World Cup round.

The young German still achieved her personal best in 4th and will have many more chances in the future to make the podium. Julia Simon was 5th and secured the mass start title and another globe. Herrmann-Wick finished 6th in her final biathlon race.

Anna Gandler fiinished 7th earning her personal best result and Mari Eder was 29th in her last race after she also decided to retire.

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Homenkollen 2023: Women’s Sprint!

The women’s sprint was postponed on Friday due to poor visibility in the Holmenkollen fog. That meant it had to be raced on Saturday and the women’s pursuit was cancelled.

Thankfully the weather was good today and especially pleased about that was Denise Herrmann-Wick. After announcing her retirement this was her last ever sprint race and she won it! She hit all ten targets and skied well for the victory. As she said herself she began her career as a cross country sprinter and had ended as a biathlon sprinter winning not only the race today but the sprint score crystal globe to add to her World Championship title.

In second place was Hanna Oberg who also hit 10/10 and was just 3.5 seconds behind Herrmann-Wick. Hanna has finished the season really strong and will be a danger in the final race tomorrow.

There was a super close battle for third between Anna Magnusson and Chloe Chevalier. Again both women hit all 10 targets but Magnusson just held on for third spot by 0.3 of a second from the French woman. They have both had great seasons and it’s a shame only one of them could get on the podium today.

Julia Simon with one miss came fourth which was enough to guarantee her victory in the total score with one race to spare. It’s her first ever big crystal globe and France’s first since Sandrine Bailly in 2004/05.

In sixth place was Tereza Vobornikova with 10/10 to get her personal best result.

Making her World Cup debut at home was Marthe Krakstad Johansen and she finished a magnificent 18th shooting 10/10. Paula Botet got her PB in 21st with a single miss. Another Norwegian youngster Maren Kirkeeide got her PB in 25th. Sweden’s Sara Andersson making her World Cup debut was 31st with no mistakes.

Maya Cloetens got her PB in 36th with perfect shooting. 18 year old Selina Grotian made her World Cup debut and came home in 44th and her teammate Lisa Marie Spark was 53rd in her first World Cup race. Gilonne Guigonnat was also racing at this level for the first time and she was 59th which would have qualified her for the pursuit if it hadn’t been cancelled!

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Holmenkollen 2023: Men’s Pursuit!

Well it wasn’t the most exciting pursuit ever but that’s what happens when Johannes Thingnes Boe has a 24 second head start and only misses one target. It was another brilliant performance from Boe winning his 7th pursuit of the season and his 18th race.

The highlight of his race was telling the crowd to be quiet between his fourth and fifth shots on his final shoot! And he still hit the final target. It would have been a bit embarrassing if he had missed!

There was a bit of a fight for the rest of the podium but again there were big gaps everywhere. Benedikt Doll moved into second place after the first shoot after Martin Ponsiluoma missed three. Sturla Laegreid then took over in second place right up until the final shoot when he missed one.That let Quentin Fillon Maillet, who had been in third since shoot two, past to take only his second podium of the season! He hit all 20 but has left his good form a bit late this season. Laegreid held on to third for yet another podium finish in a great season for him.

Doll finished 4th with 18/20. Fabien Claude came from 19th with 19 hits to finish 5th and Niklas Hartweg shot 20/20 to move from 32nd to 6th!

The surprise of the day however was Peppe Femling hitting 20/20 to move from 45th to 17th! If you have seen his shooting stats you will know how rare this is for Femling so well done to him. Anton Dudchenko was the only other man to hit the perfect 20 moving up from 58th to 39th.

The result just confirmed another small globe for Johannes Boe winning the pursuit score to add to the sprint score and the total score. He has one more race to try and get his hands on the mass start score tomorrow.

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Holmenkollen 2023: Men’s Sprint!

You know at the end of the season when you are tired and lose focus and start to make mistakes because maybe you have one eye on your holidays. Well not today in the men’s sprint! 26 biathletes hit 10/10! It’s what Yosemite Sam might refer to as the rootinist,tootinist,shootinist men’s sprint this side of the Pecos!!! ๐Ÿคฃ

Of course the winner didn’t need to hit all 10! 9 was enough today for Sprint King Johannes Thingnes Boe to take the victory. After his brush with Covid he is back and he seems to have not ill effects. He skied like a bullet out of a gun once again to secure his 8th sprint win, which is all of them this season and an incredible 17th win of the season breaking his own record of 16. Obviously that won him the crystal globe for the sprint standings. Not a bad day at the home office!

In second place with a performance which would normally easily guarantee the win was Martin Ponsiluoma. He hit all 10 and he isn’t slow but still finished almost 24 seconds behind Boe. Still it’s another great result in his impressive season.

Third place went to another clean shooter Benedikt Doll. He was 5 seconds from second place. He has hit form at the end of the season but it’s such a shame he wasn’t in this shape in Oberhof for his home World Championships because they don’t come round very often.

Andrejs Rastorgujevs continued his strong end to the season with 4th place shooting 9/10. Sturla Laegreid was 5th with 10 hits but seems to have lost a bit of ski speed after having Covid. Johannes Kuehn also shot clean in 6th place.

There were some new personal bests today too. Otto Invenius was 12th with a great race shooting clean. Anton Vidmar got his PB in 15th with 10/10. Vebjoern Soerum was 23rd with one penalty taking his best World Cup finish so far and his young teammate making his World Cup debut Einar Hedegart was 28th with 10/10. George Coltea pushed his PB to 30th with a clean shoot and Kristo Siimer moved his to 42nd. After a bronze medal at Junior Worlds Maxime Germain took his PB in 47th.

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Junior World Champs: Shchuchinsk 2023!

The Junior World Championships was held alongside the Youth competition from the 4th to the 12th of March in Kazakhstan. Shchuchinsk is a very windy venue and the range was difficult for everyone.

The first event was the Mixed Relay. The gold went to very strong German team of Johanna Puff, Selina Grotian, Benjamin Menz and Hans Koellner uisng 12 spares. Silver went to the talented French quartet of Leonie Jeannier, Jeanne Richard, Theo Guiraud Poillot and Jacques Jefferies who only needed 7 spares. Norway took bronze despite two penalty loops from the team of Maren Bakken, Tuva Aas Straete, Martin Nevland and Isak Frey.

The Individuals were next and the gold medal went to Slovenia! Even with three misses all in her second standing shoot Kaja Zorc took the win ahead of Jeanne Richard with 16/20 in second and Leonie Jeannier with the same shooting score in third.

The winner of the men’s Individual also hit 17/20 to win. Benjamin Menz won gold by 7 seconds from Norway’s Einar Hedegart in silver who shot 18/20. His teammate Isak Frey took bronze with 17 hits.

The relays were on Wednesday and they have four in a team like the seniors. The weather was much better for the Juniors compared to the Youth race on Tuesday with a sunny day but still of course windy. Germany came out on top again in the women’s relay. With a single penalty loop the team of Selina Marie Kastl, Johanna Puff, Marlene Fichtner and Selina Grotian finished 52 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals. Those rivals were France taking silver also with one penalty loop. The team of Fany Bertrand, Camille Coupe, Jeanne Richard and Leonie Jeannier managed to stay ahead of Norway to take silver. Despite shooting better than the teams ahead of them with just 8 spares Linnea Winsvold, Maren Bakken, Siri Skar and Tuva Ass Straete had to settle for bronze.

There was a great battle for the gold in the men’s relay. It all came down to the last loop between Norway and Germany. With a penalty loop for Isak Frey it looked like Germany would win but he skied really well to catch and pass a tired looking Hans Koellner to win the gold medal. The rest of the Norwegian team, Trym Gerhardsen, Einar Hedegart and Martin Nevland, were very happy at the finish line. Koellner’s teammates Franz Schaser, Fabien Kaskel and Benjamin Menz had to help him up after end of the race after he gave his all trying for gold but it was silver in the end for the Germans. Italy took bronze after a close battle with the USA. Christoph Pircher, Fabio Piller Cottrer, Nicolo Betemps and Marco Barale held off the Americans who got their best finish at this level in fourth.

After two rest days the Juniors were back on course for the sprints on Saturday. In the women’s race it was yet another gold for Germany with Selina Grotian taking the title. She hit 8/10 but with her superior ski speed she still won by 52 seconds. The silver medal went to Jeanne Richard with 9/10 on the range and we finally got a new nation on the podium with Sara Andersson taking bronze for Sweden also with 9 hits.

The men’s race gave us an historic result! Campbell Wright hit 10/10 to give New Zealand their first ever World Title! It was a fabulous race from the Kiwi winning by 35 seconds. Second place went to Poland with Jan Gunka also hitting the perfect 10/10. America took bronze with Maxime Germain hitting 9/10. No Norwegians  Germans or French on the podium today which might also be historic! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The final day of competition was on Sunday and it was the pursuit races. In the women’s race Selina Grotian was unstoppable taking yet another gold medal, her 4th at these Championships. She shot 16/20 for the win. The silver medal went to Jeanne Richard with 17/20 keeping her place from the sprint. Bronze was won by Tuve Aas Straete moving from 8th with 19/20.

In the men’s race it was Norway who swept the podium. With no medallists from the sprint they were determined to make amends. Martin Nevland won gold from 5th with 18/20 which is no surprise as he always wins it! He was Youth Champion in 2020 and Junior Champion last season too. Second place went to Einar Hedegart with 17/20 up from 4th and Trym Gerhardsen took bronze with 18/20 coming from 8th.

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Youth World Champs: Shchuchinsk 2023!

This year’s Youth World Championships were held in Shchuchinsk, Kazakhstan. It has to be one of the windiest biathlon ranges there is and it caused a lot of problems for some of the youngsters!

The first race was the Mixed Relay on Saturday the 4th of March. The women were first on track followed by the men. Despite 3 penalty loops it was Norway who took the gold medal. The team of Ragna Fodstad, Maren Brannare-Gran, Kasper Kalkenberg and Sivert Gerhardsen used their speed to make up for errors on the range. The German team of Julia Kink, Julia Tannheimer, Tim Nechwatal and Elias Seidl took silver with 1 penalty loop. Ukraine won bronze with Olena Horodna, Oleksandra Merkushyna, Bohdan Borkovskyi and Mykhailo Khmil incurring 2 penalty loops.

On Sunday it was the Individual. The women’s gold medal went to Julia Kink of Germany with 18/20. She finished almost a minute ahead of Switzerland’s Alessia Laager in silver with 19 hits. Bronze went to Oleksandra Merkushyna of Ukraine who despite missing 3 shots and having a pain in her leg managed to finish the race to complete the podium.

In the men’s race gold went to Slovakia and Jakub Borgula. He sealed the victory with 19/20 on the range beating Norway’s Sivert Gerhardsen into silver by 7.4 seconds. Two misses were costly for the young Norwegian but he managed to take silver by just under 3 seconds from Croatian Matija Legovic. His 18 hits secured Croatia their first ever medal at this level.

On Tuesday we were back to the relays and the youths only have three in each team. The conditions for the races were really tough with heavy snow and strong winds. Germany won the women’s gold with a team of Lea Zimmermann, Julia Tannheimer and Julia Kink. With just one penalty loop they won the race comfortably by 1 minute and 46 seconds. Italy took the silver medal even though the team of Astrid Plosch, Fabiana Carpella and Carlotta Gautero found themselves on the penalty loop three times. Lene Joeranli, Ragna Fodstad and Maren Brannare-Gran took the bronze for Norway with one penalty loop.

In the men’s race the Czech team of Jonas Kabrda, Daniel Malusek and Ferdinand Jansa were incredible. In terrible conditions with driving snow and really strong winds they amazingly used only three spares to take the gold. It was exceptional shooting and a well deserved win. Germany did enough to take silver with two penalty loops from the team of Elias Seidl, Erik Hafenmair and Albert Engelmann. Norway with four penalty loops finished third for bronze. The team of Sivert Rusten, Kasper Kalkenberg and Sivert Gerhardsen used their superior ski speed to hold off the other teams many of whom shot better than them.

After a two day break we returned with the sprint races on Friday and the winners will be familiar to you by now! For the women it was gold for Germany again with Julia Tannheimer winning with 8/10. She beat her teammate Julia Kink by 26 seconds even though Kink shot better with 9/10 for silver. Bronze went to Italian Astrid Plosch who shot the perfect 10/10.

In the men’s race Kasper Kalkenberg was victorious for Norway. He won gold with just 7/10 on the range. Matija Legovic was 6.5 seconds back with 8/10 for another Croatian medal. Sivert Gerhardsen completed the podium with 8/10 for bronze.

The final races of the Championships were the pursuits on Sunday. Julia Tannheimer completed the sprint pursuit double taking her third gold medal here in Shchuchinsk. She hit 16/20 in the windy conditions for the victory. Julia Kink kept her second place for another silver medal with 15/20 and Maren Brannare-Gran moved from 5th to take the bronze medal with 16/20.

In the men’s race it was Sivert Gerhardsen who struck gold moving from third to take the win with 18/20. Albert Engelmann came from 5th to grab silver with 17/20 and Finland’s Arttu Heikkinen went from 8th up to third for the bronze medal with 16/20.

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