Hello and welcome to the 9th 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 and this season there are a few new ones. Released on the same day as the Oscars but so much better!
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! 😀
Most hits on the blog (most popular):
Another year another young female biathlete as the most popular interview on my blog! This one is talented in more ways than one. Not only is she an amazing shot in biathlon but she is also a designer of ski suits and a good one too. She qualified for her first Olympics and didn’t miss a target there all while wearing the ski suit she designed herself. Also she would feed you seal if you went round for dinner!
Winner: Ukaleq Slettemark
It’s tough to decide who is the best shot on statistics alone. For example Kadri Lehtla has a hit rate of 97% but that is 57/60 shots hit whereas Simon Eder’s is 88% but that is 448/510. So I looked at who shot best at the crucial times. The winner had 7 clean shoots this season with 4 of those in 20 shot races. In the relays he hit all 10 without spares twice on the anchor leg and one of those times was to clinch Olympic gold!
Winner: Vetle Christiansen
In the Antholz mass start Anton Smolski lost a ski on a uphill part of the course where there were no coaches around. He would have had to stop and walk back on one ski to collect the other and lost a lot of time. Luckily the man right behind him saw what had had happened picked up the ski and returned it to him so he could stay with the other athletes and not lose much time at all. He didn’t have to do it so it was a great display of sportsmanship.
Winner: Vytautas Strolia
This award was only created last year and already there are so many people trying to win it! First up is Irina Kazakevich who in the women’s relay in Antholz had a massive lead of 40 seconds, then did 3 penalty loops and lost it all and more. Then there was Justine Braisaz-Bouchet who got France disqualified in the relay by using a round from a magazine instead of a spare just when they had the chance to win the relay title in Kontiolahti. Not forgetting the debacle when Peppe Femling cross fired onto Filip Andersen’s target in the relay in Ruhpolding and no one knew what was going on including the biathletes and the officials! However the winner managed 2 epic fails on the biggest stage of all. Russia had the gold medal in their hands in the mixed and mens relays until the last leg when this guy couldn’t keep the lead either time! They got two bronze medals in the end but it should have been gold.
Winner: Eduard Latypov
Best social media:
Most of the biathletes post regularly on social media. However it is not the most exciting stuff! Pictures of training or food or, if they are lucky enough, on the podium with a medal. By far the best stuff comes from one woman. She hilariously captured behind the scenes at the Olympics and has a wicked sense of humour! She isn’t afraid to share embarrassing moments either! If you don’t follow her already do it now!
Winner: Joanne Reid
There were quite a few tangles and trips this season and also some trips and falls getting off the firing mat as usual! The best fall though was going straight off course on the downhill at Antholz and down quite a steep bank of snow! Then climbing back up the bank, not damaging the rifle and keeping the relay team in second place!
Winner: Lucie Charvatova
Best rifle design:
As is usual now the array of boring rifle designs gets ever longer! Plain wood, one block colour or if you want to get really risque maybe the colours of your national flag!!! 😱 Obviously we know about the fun ones like Marketa Davidova, Michal Krcmar and Joanne Reid but they haven’t changed for a while. Thankfully someone has a sense of fun and covered his rifle with Sonic the Hedgehog! Maybe hoping it will inspire him to faster shooting or maybe it’s a fear of Dr. Robotnik!
Winner: Bogdan Tsymbal
Best ski suit:
Well let’s face it there is not much to choose from for this category! Belguim brought out a ninja black ski suit for the Olympics that was quite cool but there were two suits that stood out. They come from neighbouring countries which in fact used to be one country and they have the same colours to work with but still came up with two great looking but different suits. History has separated them but I can’t! We have joints winners!
Winners: Czech Republic and Slovakia
Worst ski suit:
So some countries really need to get an imagination when it comes to ski suits! France and Italy are really similar and now so are Sweden and Ukraine. The new designs for Germany and Finland are worse than their previous suits and don’t get me started on Bulgaria! It’s still awful. However, and this will cause controversy, a ski suit is not going to win this season. I had to make an exception for possibly the worst piece of clothing I have ever seen! And this from a country who is supposed to be at the forefront of fashion. It must have been designed in the dark!
Winner: Italian Olympic ski jacket
It was a dire season for biathlete23. No wins and not even a single podium! The best result on the World Cup was 7th from Fabien Claude and Michal Krcmar. The best result at the Olympics was 5th from Dominik Windisch. So I has to look elsewhere and thank goodness for the youths. Winning the individual in bib23 at the Youth World Championships in Soldier Hollow saved the season!
Winner: Sara Andersson
There were a few biathletes who took big steps forward in their careers this season. Stina Nilsson took her first podium in only her second season as a biathlete. The two IBU Cup winners from last season were amazing on the World Cup stage with podiums and impressive performances from Vanessa Voigt and Filip Andersen. Jessica Jislova made a big step forward going from 68th last season on the total score to 17th with some great races especially towards the end of the season. Kristina Reztsova also made a big improvement this season getting on the podium for the first time. The winner though went from third on the IBU Cup last year to achieve a first World Cup podium. Then he went on to win his first race and a crystal globe in the mass start a he finished 9th on the total score in his first full World Cup season!
Winner: Sivert Bakken
Best team performance:
This team won every single relay apart from one. The one they did lose was when the top guys skipped the round in Ruhpolding and the second team raced. However they could still have won it if it wasn’t for all the confusion caused by the cross firing issue and subsequent delays for Alexander Andersen. It’s not easy to win so many relays even if you do have the strongest team because lots of thing can go wrong so it’s a special achievement.
Winner: Norwegian Men’s Relay Team
Performance of the season:
There were plenty of great performances this season but one stood out from the rest. The winner is someone who is capable of great things and also of terrible things! But when she is good she is incredible. At the Olympics she finished 40th in the individual, 48th in the sprint and didn’t even start in the pursuit but then pulls out the perfomance of a lifetime to win gold in the mass start. And for that one piece of brilliance amid some average results she takes the prize!
Winner: Justine Braisaz-Bouchet
Biathlete of the year:
This was so tough to decide. It has to be between Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Quentin Fillon Maillet. Both won the overall for the first time, both won the sprint and pursuit titles, both won 5 medals from six races at the Olympics! How do you separate them? With great difficulty! It came down to wins. Marte got 6 and QFM 8.
Winner: Quentin Fillon Maillet
Para-biathlete of the year:
The winner of this won two gold medals at the Paralympics in the visually impaired category at the age of 43! That made him the most decorated para biathlete ever with medals 14 medal, six of them gold. As a Ukrainian he was also racing under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
Winner: Vitalii Lukianenko
Junior biathlete of the year:
A difficult choice this season. Aleksander Kornev won the Junior Cup but then at World Championships he didn’t win anything. The winner is the man who finished second in the Junior Cup and won the gold medal in the individual at World Champs as well as gold at the Junior European Champs in the sprint and anchored his relay team to Euro Junior bronze.
Winner: Jonas Marecek
Youth biathlete of the year:
The winner of this one is just 18 years old but triumphed in the Junior World Cup. She was competing against older biathletes with more experience but still took the overall title by 2 points. She also anchored her relay team to the gold medal at the Youth World Championships in Soldier Hollow.
Winner: Sara Scattolo
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