All posts by biathlon23

I’m a Bøliever!


Imagine you are a young Norwegian biathlete. You turn up for a competition and who do you see – Ole Einar Bjorndalen, probably the best biathlete ever, then you turn around and there is Emil Hegle Svendsen, and who is that next to him, oh yes Lars Berger and there is Halvard Hanevold in the corner. That is exactly what Tarjei Bø saw when he debuted for the Norwegian team in 2009. No pressure then!

But you know that if Norway put you into that kind of situation they must have found something a bit special. And so it proved when it took him just over a year to win his first World Cup race and another year to win the overall title.

Tarjei Bø was born in Stryn on the 29th of July 1988. At the age of 24 he has already won 7 World Championship gold medals and 1 Olympic gold medal. He missed a lot of races last season due to a virus but came back to win gold in the World Championships in Nove Mesto in the mass start and in both relays. He went on to win the sprint and take second in the pursuit in his home race in Oslo. A remarkable achievement considering a lack of summer training and competing against others whose season was in full swing.

Tarjei is one of the top biathletes of his generation. He has the advantage of being from Norway which helps as I think the vast majority of the population are born on skis! It also provides great facilities like Holmenkollen and Lillehammer and has a great tradition of winter sports to inspire and motivate their athletes. On the other hand it brings a lot of pressure. Winter sports stars in Norway are treated basically like footballers in other countries. They appear on the back and front of newspapers and go on sports shows and talk shows. Then you have the added problem of keeping your place in the Norwegian team. There is a constant production line of great young biathletes and for Tarjei he even has to watch out for his younger brother Johannes trying to steal his place!

However he seems like the type of character who can handle this type of pressure pretty well. His bromance with teammate Emil Hegel Svendsen I imagine helps him a lot. Although they may seem like the comedy double act of biathlon I am sure having a teammate who has gone through all the same things you have is a great help. There are not a lot of people out there who understand the difficulties of being an elite athlete and having one as a roommate and friend can only be a good thing, even if he does occasionally post unflattering pictures of you on instagram.

Expectation will be high for next season. An Olympic year and probably one of the hardest world cup seasons ever, what are Tarjei’s prospects? He definitely has the ability to beat Svendsen and Fourcade over a single race. He has also proven in the past that he can win consistently over the course of a season and hopefully with an illness free summer of training he will be back to his very best. I just hope all the athletes stay fit and well all season so we can see some amazing races starting in November.

So might we see a few Chrystal globes and Olympic medals for Tarjei next season, you never know for sure but I for one am a Bøliever!


Magic Miri!



Not only is she a biathlete but 22 year old Miriam Gössner is also a cross-country skier. One of few people who choose to compete in both events she has won an Olympic silver medal in cross-country skiing and two biathlon world championship titles all in relay events.

Miriam was born in the German alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Her father is German and her mother Norwegian. Could there be a better combination for producing a top biathlete! However this wasn’t her original choice of winter sport. She aimed for a career in alpine skiing, but following an accident during slalom training she changed disciplines to biathlon at the age of 14. Let’s just say alpine’s loss is biathlon’s gain.

Being German, a very fast skier and blonde, she is inevitably compared to Magdalena Neuner. This is a lot of pressure to heap on a young athlete. They are quite similar in that they are both better at skiing than shooting but Miri has plenty of time to improve. And she will have to improve because no matter how fast you ski you can’t make up for missing too many targets. However she is her own person and although comparisons to Neuner may be flattering they may not be helpful. She should be judged on her own performances and against her own expectations rather than other peoples. Too much pressure on young shoulders can sometimes have a negative effect, but Miri seems to be the kind of athlete who can handle it and use it to her advantage.

Next season could be a huge one for Miriam. She has the Olympics to come as well as the regular World Cup season. She also has the option of competing in two disciplines in Sochi. Will she be tempted to enter any cross-country events as well as the biathlon programme? I think it comes down to how well she shoots. If she can improve her shooting statistics to over 80% for both disciplines then she will have a great chance of winning medals next February especially in the sprint which has so far been her best event. However if she doesn’t maybe she could consider giving the cross-country a go.

One motto of hers is to “live the life you love”. A great philosophy to have and it seems as though she is doing it. You can see how much she enjoys competing and the skiing in particular. I am really looking forward to following her progress next season and I’m expecting a bit of Miri magic in the Olympics too.

Selected results:

1st Sprint 2012/13 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Sprint 2012/13 Oberhof (GER)
1st Pursuit 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Mass Start 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Sprint 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Sprint 2010/11 Fort Kent, ME (USA)

Lukas: A lot to Hofer!



Lukas Hofer is an Italian biathlete. Born in Brunico on the 30th of September 1989, the 24 year old is a member of the Italian military. With a bronze medal to his name from the 2011 World championships in the mass start, I would argue that he is one of the best biathletes never to have won an individual race on the World Cup.

Selected results:
2nd Sprint 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
7th Pursuit 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
7th Individual 2012/13 Nove Mesto (CZE)
4th Sprint 2011/12 Oberhof (GER)
6th Sprint 2010/11 Pokljuka (SLO)
3rd Mass Start 2010/11 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)

However I don’t think that assertion will last very long. Finishing the season well with a win and a second place in the Military Championships in Annecy and a second in the last round of the World Cup, Lukas had a very positive end to the season. His ski speed is up there with the best of them and his prone shooting has always been good.

Where he sometimes frustrates is in the standing shoot. He has lost some opportunities at victory from good positions by missing one or two targets in the last standing shoot. Fortunately for Lukas he still young and I am sure these experiences will prove to make him a stronger athlete. Also shooting is arguably an easier skill to improve than ski speed so it’s something that is possible to resolve.

It is not easy for most of the current crop of biathletes to compete in an era with so many outstanding competitors. It is probably more difficult than ever to win a World Cup race. If you manage to beat Fourcade, you still have Svendsen ,Boe, Fak, Birnbacher and an assortment of Russians to get past. Difficult however is not the same as impossible. For Lukas and the other biathletes it’s a chance to test themselves against the very best and easy motivation to push themselves on to great achievements.

However as a member of the Carabinieri, Lukas could also use the tactic of arresting a few of those mentioned above when they compete in Italy giving himself a much easier chance of victory! Such underhand tactics aside I am hoping for a great season and Olympic Games for Lukas. With an improvement in his shooting stats I see no reason why he can’t give the others a run for their money.

He’s young, he’s talented and I for one think he has a lot to Hofer!!!

Also check out his website in Italian and German. It has a very cool opening page!



FAKt 1: Unmissable in his yellow ski suit, Jakov Fak has become one of the most recognisable biathletes around and one of the most popular, which is a little surprising as he doesn’t come from one of the “big” biathlon nations.

FAKt 2: Jakov was born on 1 August 1987 in Rijeka, Croatia. He originally competed for Croatia but trained with the Slovenian team. With this system he won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2009 and a bronze medal at the last Olympics in 2010.

FAKt 3: Later in 2010 he switched to compete for Slovenia. This brought more success in the form of a gold medal in the individual and a silver in the mixed relay at the 2012 World Championships in Ruhpolding. And this year he won the sprint in his home race in Pokljuka.

FAKt 4: Jakov is one of the faster skiers on the World Cup tour. He also has a pretty consistent shooting record both in the prone and stand positions. This is pretty impressive for someone who almost lost his trigger finger due to 3rd degree frostbite in 2011.

FAKt 5: Jakov finished the season 4th overall, a personal best, behind Fourcade, Svendsen and Landertinger. A significant progression from his 17th in the previous year. He was on the podium seven times including his sprint Bronze at the IBU World Championships.

2012/13 Selected Results:

1st SPRINT Pokljuka (SLO)
1ST PURSUIT Hochfilzen (AUT)
3RD SPRINT Hochfilzen (AUT)
2ND PURSUIT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Nove Mesto (CZE)

So those are the fakts what about some opinion. As you can see from the results, Jakov has probably done best in the Sprint event. Considering the group of biathletes he is competing against that is no easy feat. For this reason I would give him a big chance of upgrading his Olympic sprint bronze to gold next year. I would love to see him challenge for the Chrystal globe in this event too. Let’s face it someone needs to wrestle a few of those globes from Fourcade and I reckon he is the man for the job in the sprint if not some of the other events too.

Also it can’t be easy to decide to represent another country . Although having little choice if he wanted to become more successful and continue competing, I would imagine that it is still not an easy decision to make. Hopefully this has provided him with a stronger mental attitude and the added motivation of making not just 1 but 2 nations proud.

He also seems like a nice guy as he regularly updates his Facebook page and comments on or likes the fans messages which not a lot of people do. And his performance in “The Spy who loved Biathlon” was hilarious and surely a role as a comic actor awaits him after he hangs up his skis!

So in conclusion, nice guy, comedian, fast skier, good shot and the support of two nations behind him, in short a great biathlete.

And that’s a fakt!

Don’t forget you can like biathlon23 on Facebook!



Dominik Landertinger is an Austrian biathlete, born in Braunau am Inn on the 13th of March 1988. A member of the Austrian military, he currently lives in Hochfilzen.

It can’t be an easy thing competing in a winter sport for a country like Austria. Steeped in a tradition of producing some of the best skiers ever and treating winter sports like most countries treat football there is a lot of pressure on the athletes. On the other hand they have some of the best facilities and coaches in the world. So far it doesn’t seem too much of a burden to Dominik.

At 25 he has already won a silver medal in the Olympics in the relay, 1 world championship gold in the mass start and silver again in the world championship relay. Last season (2012/13) he started the season with a 2nd place in Oestersund and finished with a 2nd in Khanty-Mansiysk. During the season he had 2 fourth placed finishes in Oslo and Sochi in the sprint. Maybe not quite what he was hoping for but not bad in a season dominated by a few biathletes.

Obviously he must be a little disappointed with how the World Championships went in Nove Mesto even though he finished in the top 10 in 3 events. However biathlon is a hard game especially when a couple of missed shots can cost you dear. Decidedly stronger in the prone position, he made need to improve his shooting in the stand if he wants to be in with a chance of medalling in Sochi next year.

It seems as though Dominik is a good starter and finisher of a season so maybe if he can peak at the right time for Sochi he may have a better chance than many people think of winning something. Russia looks like a good hunting ground for Landi as he does well in Khanty and a 4th in Sochi this year is a good sign for the Olympics. In fact if they were being held in Khanty I’m sure he would be very happy!

Fingers crossed Landi can produce something great next season for Austrian biathlon. His teammates are very experienced and he can learn a lot from them but with the advantage of youth I think he is their best hope for the coming season.

So if you are a fan of Dominik you can find his page on Facebook and check out his website (if you speak German!)

Hopefully there will be a lot of good news to follow next season!

Selected results:
2nd Mass Start 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
2nd Individual 2012/13 Oestersund (SWE)
3rd Individual 2010/11 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Mass Start 2009/10 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
2nd Sprint 2009/10 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3rd Pursuit 2009/10 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3rd Pursuit 2008/09 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Mass Start 2008/09 Pyeong Chang (KOR) World Cup.

Welcome to biathlon 23!A blog dedicated to the best winter sport ever – Biathlon!

For those of you unfamiliar with biathlon it is a two discipline sport combining cross-country skiing and shooting.

It includes 4 different individual events; the sprint, the pursuit, the mass start and the individual.

There are also relays for both mens and womens teams and a mixed relay.

I hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to comment and get in touch. Lively debate is welcome but anything offensive or horrible is not!:-)