Category Archives: Interview

Nicole Gontier: The Interview!

Nicole Gontier is an Italian biathlete from the Aosta Valley. The 27-year-old made her World Cup debut in 2012 and achieved her personal best result in 2015 when she finished third in the Oberhof Sprint. She has 2 bronze medals from the World Championships in 2013 and 2015 as a member of the Women’s relay team. She has represented Italy twice at the Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang.

Follow Nicole on Instagram

Why did you become a biathlete?

I started to do biathlon thanks to my father and my grandfather who were in charge of the Aosta valley biathlon and also thanks to the atmosphere and training of the coaches of Aosta valley biathlon.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? Was there anything that disappointed you?

Last season I was happy about my shape on skis, I had good feelings but I have to improve my shooting on the range.

The World Championships are in Antholz! How excited are you about that?

I’m really happy that the World Championships will be in Antholz. I really like there and I hope that it will be sunny and it will be perfect. The Italian ambience is the best.

The Italian women have a really strong team at the moment. What are your expectations for the World Championships in particular the women’s relay?

Yes the Italian women are really strong but for the moment I expect nothing. I prefer to concentrate on training and then I will see my shape with the first races!

What have you been doing for summer training?

In summer we train on the shooting range and with the roller ski,running,hiking and with the bike.

What are your goals for this season on the World Cup?

Like I said before I don’t have any goals. My goal is to improve myself and I work for this, then I will see in winter where I am.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength is that my head is really hard to break so I continue to work hard also in the worst moments because I love what I do. My weakness is that I don’t really trust in me! I will have to trust more in my abilities.

What are your hobbies?

I like to read, to study, to knit and to stay with my dog! The best is to stay on the sofa with him watching the TV. I like to travel in Italy and to discover new little places and eat the special dish and drink the local wine.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

I really like Antholz, it is a hard track but I had good feelings with it.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

I really respect Martin Fourcade, he always has the situation under control and he does what he wants. I like so much Doro(Wierer) and Lisa (Vittozzi)! They are really strong.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ahah.. no for the moment no, we have a relationship of love and hate.

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiling,stubborn,sweet.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): French
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Lukas Hofer – last year’s rifle
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy’s suits of last year’s Championship
Lucky bib number: Mmm… I don’t have one.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Sarah Beaudry
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Simon Fourcade (but he stopped).
Best thing about being a biathlete: We never get bored!

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Johannes Dale: The Interview!

Johannes Dale is a Norwegian biathlete who burst onto the World Cup last season. In his debut WC race in Nove Mesto he finished 15th in the Sprint and eventually got a personal best finish of 10th in the Soldier Hollow Sprint. These results meant the 22-year-old from Lørenskog finished 50th in the Total Score and won the IBU’s Rookie of the Season award.

Follow Johannes on Instagram.

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because of my father. My father was doing biathlon back in the day. I remember the time I decided to start doing biathlon. I was in the basement of our house and looking at the medals he had won. I remember thinking that I also wanted to win these medals. I went up and told my dad that I wanted to start with biathlon, and from there, there was no way back.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? Was there anything that disappointed you?

Last season was in many ways my breakthrough. I started racing in the senior class in IBU-Cup and World Cup, and started to race against the best. I am happy that I have gotten to a level that I can compete with the best athletes in the world, and also already doing some good races. The most disappointing part of the season was actually in the beginning. I was doing bad races, and I didn’t qualify for anything..

You got to race a World Cup in Holmenkollen for the first time last season. What was that like?

To race in Holmenkollen was a great experience. To race at home in front of the home crowd is an amazing experience and everybody is cheering for you. It was also a special moment, because my whole family and my friends were there cheering for me during a World Cup race. A moment I have been working towards for a long time.

What have you been doing for summer training?

For the summer training I have been putting down a lot of hard work. It started in May with a lot of training hours, and during the summer and fall it gets more and more specific. I am very satisfied with the hard work I have done, and hope it will pay off.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for this season is mainly to race in the World Cup. And when I race there, I know what kind of results I can achieve. I also have a goal of reaching the podium this winter in World Cup. I think that it can be realistic.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength has been the speed on the track over the past years. What I have to improve is to be more stable in the shooting, and control challenging situations better.

What is it like being on a team with Johannes Boe? Does it inspire you to be like him or does it make your life harder trying to keep up with him?! 😉

To be on team with Johannes Boe is great. He is a great guy, and someone I can learn from. Of course he is a good biathlete, and I can’t challenge him all the time.

On the IBU website it says your hobby is Tinder but also that you are single! Do you have any other hobbies that you are more successful at? 😉

Haha! Actually that bio is a bit old. I have an girlfriend who also is doing biathlon, and we are living together in Lillehammer. Maybe I should change the bio for the upcoming season 😉

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

For the World Cups tracks I have raced on, I have to say Nove Mesto! The atmosphere there is unbelievable, and an amazing crowd. You almost can’t hear yourself breathe. That was also my first World Cup race, so an awesome memory.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

I grew up having two biathletes I looked up to. Ole Einar Bjørndalen was one of them, and a legend in biathlon. The other was Tarjei Bø, I looked very much up to him. To be on the same team as him now is awesome.

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle does not have a name, but I love my rifle very much. For me it’s very important to have a good feeling with the rifle, and almost to feel a bit of friendship with it.

Describe yourself in three words.

Funny, relaxed and engaged.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): France
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Dorothea Wierer
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy
Favourite shooting range: Holmenkollen
Lucky bib number: 5
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tarjei Bø
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: The biathlon family is full of nice people, I can’t choose one!
Best thing about being a biathlete: Living the best life I can ever imagine.

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Jake Brown: The Interview!

Jake Brown is an American biathlete from Minnesota. The 27-year-old was a cross country skier until 2016 when he saw sense and became a biathlete! His progress has been rapid making his World Cup debut last season and scoring his first point when he finished 40th in the Antholz Sprint.

Follow Jake on Instagram.

Why did you become a biathlete?

I have always been a strong skate distance skier and had always wanted to try biathlon- I got the chance after racing NCAA skiing through the US Biathlon’s development program of post-collegiate cross-country skiers. Growing up I loved running, training, and pushing my limits, seeing how hard I could go. Yet I was still drawn to the great moments of team sports, like the buzzer beater in a basketball game or the 2-out at-bat in the bottom of the baseball’s ninth inning. I love that biathlon has a bit of both.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? Was there anything that disappointed you?

Last season surpassed my expectations for 2018-2019. I had previously raced in four IBU cups, and so was shooting for a full IBU Cup season with the goal of making top-15s and a dream goal of racing our home World Cup in Utah. I hit 15th in my first IBU Cup race and spent most of the season racing World Cups, plus World Championships. It was a season I won’t forget!

I was really happy with how I trained last year, both in preparation for and throughout the winter. However, this year I’ll seek to do a better job of staying healthy. Lucky for me, sickness struck mostly during breaks in the race schedule last year, but I don’t think the frequency with which I was getting sick would be sustainable in the long term. I want to be more intentional this year about keeping sleep, nutrition, and healthy habits a priority.

You got to race at a home World Cup in Soldier Hollow for the first time last season. What was that like?

I was glued to the 2002 Olympics which were held in Salt Lake (with XC and Biathlon at Soldier Hollow) when I was 10, so to get to race there last year was special. Biathlon is growing in the US, and hosting a World Cup in close proximity to a metro area like Salt Lake City is a great way to spread the hype for this sport.

Your best result was in Antholz where the World Championships are being held! Is that a good track and range for you? Do you like the altitude?

In general I like racing hilly courses, and a lot of courses at altitude tend to have hills. Antholz has a good variety of terrain and is definitely tough, I like that. I needed at least three breaths between shots last year, so I wouldn’t say the range is easy for me, but I enjoyed racing there last year and look forward to racing there again- what a beautiful place.

We thought Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke had finished biathlon but they are both still working with the US team. How important is it for you to still have them around?

It’s been great. We in the US often need to recruit Europeans to lead our programs, and we do benefit from having European coaches. But Lowell and Tim have as much experience as anyone, and they understand better than anyone the challenges that American biathletes face. Lowell, having spent a year in Montana leading the Cross-Cut program at the club level, and Tim, now in a development-director role, are more invested in the grassroots growth of biathlon in the US, not just trying to fast track college skiers to the World Cup (as I was). I think that’s important long term.

What have you been doing for summer training?

I dealt with lower body injuries this spring, so I did a ton of upper body aerobic training early on: mostly Ski-Erg with a little surf-ski paddling with Paul Schommer. In late June I was able to get back on roller skis and double pole plus introduce a bit a gravel biking. I’ve never been a big cyclist, but I found I really enjoy long solo gravel riding for my over distance workouts in the Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

What are your goals for this season?

-Increase my shooting consistency and dial in my mental approach.
-Help our team crack the top 10 in Nations Cup for both World and IBU Cup

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A few of my strengths are hilly courses, pushing myself on the last loop, and staying positive. A few current weaknesses are staying healthy, shooting speed and shooting consistency.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, helping out with the junior ski programs at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, exploring, water skiing, and playing sports.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

Valcartier, Quebec. It’s a Nor-Am course on a military base, I love it because it is really challenging yet has great flow. It’s a narrow track through the forest with big climbs and fun, windy, wooded descents.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

I don’t have a favorite, but I like it when an underdog puts it all together and wins- it was sweet to see Lowell win in 2017 and Dominik Windisch win last year.

Does your rifle have a name?

Nope.

Describe yourself in three words.

I love sports.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Estonia
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): The Unicorn one
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Russia’s black, blue, and pink suit from last year.
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: 77
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Jules Burnotte, Canada
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Simon Fourcade, France
Best thing about being a biathlete: Becoming mentally stronger every day.

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Kristian Wulff: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Kristian Wulff.

Kristian Wulff is a Danish biathlete and biathlon commentator. Originally a cross-country skier he came to biathlon a little later in his career. He has competed in two Summer World Championships so far. He commentates for Danish TV as well as having full time job as a teacher. He is a busy man!

Follow Kristian on Twitter: @Kristian_Wulff

Why did you become a biathlete?

I probably started as every other cross-country skier – in a sled pulled by my parents and got my first pair of skis when I was three years old. In Denmark there is not a lot of snow in winter, so we went skiing primarily in Sweden and Norway and only for a few weeks per year. When I was about 10 years old I participated in the Danish National Championships in cross-country (held in Sweden) and I found out that skiing was the perfect sport. Beautiful nature, high pulse, and demanding technique – combined!
I have participated as a cross-country skier in the Youth Olympics, Junior WCH, and WCH in Oslo 2011. But with full time study and becoming a father at the age of 26 I stopped competing – and only did training for fun. Four years ago at the age of 30 I started regular Biathlon training together with other former cross-country skiers at the local club. Now I have been to two Summer World Championships – Nove Mesto and Minsk – and I still want to train and compete even though I am on the second page on the result list.
Earlier I loved cross-country skiing because of combination of the beautiful nature, high pulse and demanding technique – NOW I love Biathlon because it adds shooting – and that makes it even more fun!

Tell us about the Summer World Championships this season?

It was a very good experience. I was in good skiing shape, but not in that good shooting shape. So I know what I need to work on. It was nice together with the other nations at the hotel, so I did some networking and talked to some of the other biathletes to get even more experience and advice to bring home to Denmark. Minsk was also a part of the trip – a tourist attraction. It was good to spent some time with the team together in Minsk on the last day. We did some classic sightseeing in a city that I would not have travelled to on my own with my family – and that’s what this is all about – to get some good times and get to know the culture in other countries.

How did you become a biathlon commentator?

I started working as cross country commentator for Eurosport in 2008-2009 but got a job offer at TV2 Denmark (a national channel) for the Olympics in 2010 – both cross country skiing and biathlon. Since then I have mostly done biathlon for TV2 and I love it. It is my passion – I would watch everything anyway. The hard thing is to combine it with time with my family, my training and my other full time job as a high school teacher.

What was the best race you commentated on last season?

Uhhh… that’s a tricky one… I think it must have been WCH Östersund 15 km Mass start with the crazy victory for Dominik Windisch. I think he came in to the last shooting placed as number 10 with everyone standing in the crazy snowstorm in Östersund and he was one of the few to shoot clean and suddenly becoming world champion! That’s what biathlon is all about!

Are you going to compete on the IBU Cup this season? If not which Danish biathletes should we look out for?

I have not done the final plans for this winter. Maybe I will be at Sjusjöen at the IBU cup or maybe before the opening of the season. But I know that my teammate Jens Hulgaard wants to qualify for the WCH in Antholz, so I hope to commentate the championships with a Danish flag on the start list!

You are teacher and a commentator? When do you have time to train and what have you been doing for summer training?

Yes, I am a full time teacher I teach geography and sport science. I train very little but very hard! That’s my motto! Sometimes in my 30 minutes lunch break I do some intervals on a Thoraxtrainer (a skiergometer) before I have to do a lecture in sports science with my students. They find it OK that I am a bit sweaty starting the class I think…
This summer I have been in southern France and in Tuscany with my family – and with my bike on the bike rack behind the car. It has been great with a lot of biking and running – but no shooting practice. So that is the key for development in biathlon to train more shooting.

You are heavily involved in trying to get more people to do biathlon in Denmark. How is it going so far?

At the summer WCH last year we were only two participants. This year we were 5 participants – 3 seniors together with 2 juniors. So that’s progress! Next year we plan to bring one or two junior girls to the summer WCH. So we are still trying to improve

What are your strengths and weaknesses? (biathlon or commentary!)

My strength is being enthusiastic – both in biathlon and in commentary!
I love skiing full speed and sometime find it difficult to calm down entering the shooting range. So maybe this is also my weakness.
And I love biathlon so much that I maybe talk a bit too much doing my commentary. So maybe that’s also my weakness.
Being enthusiastic about biathlon is both my strength and apparently also my weakness!

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

I love the track in Holmenkollen because of the crowd – I participated as a cross country skier in WCH Oslo 2011 and it was amazing to hear the “Kollenbrølet” (Kollen roar). And I commentated the WCH Oslo in biathlon in 2016 live on site at the stadium and experienced once again the crazy “Kollenbrøl”!

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

Like everyone else I have to say Ole Einar Bjørndalen because he could always find some small details to improve. And because he went on for so many years. I am 34 years old, so he motivates me to continue improving even though I’m not getting any younger.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ahh… nope… I actually don’t have my own rifle yet. I always use the same rifle at my club so it’s kind of mine, but I have not bought my own yet.

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic, Social, Ambitious

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): hahah… Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy (IN BLUE)
Favourite shooting range: Antholz because of the surroundings
Lucky bib number: 23…
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Johannes Bø
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup:Klemen Bauer
Best thing about being a biathlete: Seeing places that you would not normally see as a tourist and training with some cool stuff – skis and a rifle – what’s not to like!

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Nils-Erik Ulset: The Interview!

Photo Credit: Biathlon23!!!

Nils-Erik Ulset is para-biathlon legend! The 36-year-old Norwegian has competed in 5 Paralympic Games from Salt Lake City 2002 to PyeongChang 2018. He has won biathlon medals at four of those Games including gold in Vancouver in 2010. He has 10 World Championship medals three of which are gold. He was born with a genetic condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease that affects the muscle strength in his legs. He has also been a World and Paralympic Champion in cross-country skiing.

Follow Nils-Erik on Instagram!

Why did you become a biathlete?

I have an older brother who started biathlon, and of course since he was a role model for me I had to follow in his steps.
(His brother is John Ola Ulset who represented Norway at IBU World Cup level.)

How did you assess last season? What were you happy with and what disappointed you?

Last season was a little up and down. The good races were very good winning world cup races, taking a medal in the world championship and finishing second in the overall cup. But my main goal was the world championship sprint and being so far from the podium in this race was a disappointment.

The first World Cup this season is in Lillehammer! Are you excited about that? Do you know the course there well?

It will be awesome starting the World Cup in Lillehammer. I know the area well since I lived for 7 years in Lillehammer, but I think we are going to use the FIS world cup tracks which I haven’t tested out yet. But I know they will be tough!

Are you focusing only on biathlon now? Will you do any cross country races this season?

Yes, I’m only focusing on biathlon now. I’ll never do cross country World Cup races again.

How does your impairment affect your skiing?

I have maybe 25% of normal muscle strength in my lower legs and my balance is very bad. So for me the hardest parts are flat areas where you benefit from having good balance. Also very soft(spring) conditions and icy tracks is some thing that I can struggle with.

What have you been doing for summer training? Are training with any of the IBU biathletes this summer?

This summer I have been focusing much more on strength training, a lot of roller skiing and some trail running.
I’m doing all my training camps with the Norwegian development (B-team), this is something that really suits me and helps me a lot in pushing forward.

When Norwegian biathletes retire they seem to become your coach! Lars Berger then Martin Eng. Who will coach you this season – L’Abbe Lund, Svendsen or Bjoerndalen?!!! Seriously though what is it like having ex-biathletes as your coach? How have they helped you?

Well actually Lars Berger is back again as my coach and in previous seasons, especially towards PyeongChang I got a lot of help and advice from Ole Einar. It’s great to have the possibility to ask these athletes for advice and to learn from them.

What are your goals for this season?

The main goal this season is the biathlon World Championships in Østersund.

Do you have a job? If so how do you fit your training around it?

I work part time in a sports shop that specializes in mountain sports like ski mountaineering, climbing and trail running.

Do you have a favourite track? Where is it and why?

My all time favourite tracks are Natrudstilen Sjusjøen, Canmore, Whistler Olympic Park and Nordmarka Surnadal. All these tracks really suit me and my strengths, and are located in really nice places.


Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present/IBU or IPC) and why?

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (of course) and Martin Fourcade. They are both amazing athletes who always push themselves forward and are ahead of everybody in their development as athletes. They are fair athletes who also take a clear stand for clean and fair sports.

Does your rifle have a name?

No I’ve never named any of my rifles.

Describe yourself in three words.

Stubborn, curious and childish.


Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): France
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Lukas Hofer
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Norway
Favourite shooting range: Martell
Lucky bib number: Any
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Gregory Vovchinskiy
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Mark Arendz and Benjamin Daviet
Best thing about being a biathlete: You get to ski around and shoot.

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Joanne Reid: The Interview!

Joanne Reid is an American biathlete who was born in Madison, Wisconsin on the 28th June 1992. Last season she achieved her career best result finishing 10th in the Mass Start in Oestersund and finished 49th on the Overall World Cup. She started biathlon in 2015 and represented the USA at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018. She is the third Olympian in her family following her mother and uncle who were speed skaters. At university she studied applied mathematics and engineering.

Follow Joanne on Instagram for comedy ramblings and maths!

Why did you become a biathlete?

My grandfather was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s (dementia) and as such his biathlon rifle passed to me, the only competitive nordic skier in the family. I had the means then, and the ability to do the skiing part, though I had never fired a rifle before. They told me I wouldn’t have any bad shooting habits, however, so I wouldn’t have to unlearn, just learn. I actually used his rifle my first season on the World Cup.

Your career best result came in Oestersund last season when you finished 10th in the mass start. What do you remember about that race?

Susan screaming her face off at me to hurry the heck up, and running next to me up the hill, because I left the range in 12th. I hurried the heck up. Something about that has stuck with me the most, because it’s a beautiful part of Susan’s soul that she is just as genuinely excited for her teammate’s accomplishments as her own, and she wanted that result for me as badly as I did.

As a funny side note, the targets in Sweden were so slow to fall that I thought I had missed three the second prone, and looked up at the end to see only one miss. (My shooting in the race was 1-1-1-1).


All the US women had a great season last year. What do you think made the difference for all of you?

You know how at pools there are sometimes competitions for biggest splash, usually for kids? Well, our new coach Armin Auchentaller made the biggest splash in our team’s history. In fact, it’s about the splash equivalent of dropping a killer whale into a pool.

What have you been doing for summer training and what is the plan up until winter?

This is a really interesting question, doesn’t everyone give the same answer to this always? Rollerski. Shoot. Repeat. Rollerski. Shoot. Sleep. After about eight months, do an aggressive snow dance and some serious wishful thinking.

Since we are on a two week on, two week off travel schedule and I live very far from anything, and anyone, I have a high airline premier status, so that’s really what I might declare my season goal.

What are your other goals for this season? 😉

Goals are just hopes you’re demanding from yourself to feel a sense of completeness. I am complete without such a thing. (But I do not look negatively upon people who set goals). I hope our relay team puts it all together, because I know we can. Whatever that result is, it doesn’t matter as much as the performance. I want to race in joy with my star-clad girls in solidarity. Who wouldn’t?

You are Joanne Firesteel Reid. Where does the “firesteel” come from? Is it a family name or did your parents think it would make you tough?! 😉

The Firesteel River is a river that cuts through the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, which is where I spent my early childhood. As to whether or not I’m tough, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.

You have a cool rifle design. Where did the idea come from for that?

My mother designed and did the entire thing, with some input from me. She sanded, burned, and re-varnished the entire stock. She and my dad also built all the carbon fiber pieces, which are based off of the original French parts, but a little stronger, lighter, and more fitted to my tiny little hands.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

Soldier Hollow, of course! I saw that venue grow from ten years of ignored infancy into World Cup level. They poured so much work and time and man-hours into that course and that week that I can’t help but love it. With its high speed downhills and sweeping turns with beautiful mountain views, what’s not to love?

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

Susan Dunklee, because she carved the way for us all. She changed the way that USBA viewed its female biathletes, and created a foundation of belief. No matter what she does in the rest of her career and the rest of her life, she has already done something for us all that has made a difference.

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle is named Tunkasila (pronounced duen-kah-shee-lah), which is woodburned into the back (it gets covered with the Viessmann sticker in the winter), which means Grandfather In Lakota, a tribute to my grandfather who got me into the sport. He passed just after the Winter Olympics in March of 2018 from Alzheimer’s.

The lady burned into the stock is the Lady Fortune, so sometimes people refer to it by that name instead.

Describe yourself in three words.

Sarcastic, introverted, snarky.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Quentin! What a well-designed stock that clearly took hours and hours of thought, design, iterations, and creation. I admire that immensely.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): I find the new Kazakh suits are really geometrical in an artistically abstract way, and very pleasing to my brain. (Hello, math brain).
Favourite shooting range: Antholz, I like a hard range approach at altitude! Yes please! To that effect, I also enjoy that massive climb in Finland (Kontiolahti) that is pretty close to the range. I think Finland may have been the first World Cup I ever cleaned.
Lucky bib number: Anything in the set of Natural numbers is fine by me.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Anais Bescond
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Megan Bankes
Best thing about being a biathlete: Eating mountains and mountains of food and still being hungry. Sometimes this is also the worst thing.

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Amanda Lightfoot: The Return!

Amanda Lightfoot is the next in the catch up series with previous biathlon23 interviewees. The 32-year-old British biathlete was absent from the World Cup last season but she is back and ready to race this winter. She has a career best finish of 31st from the Individual in Oestersund in 2017 and represented Great Britain at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang and 2014 in Sochi.

Follow Amanda on Instagram.

We last spoke 4 years ago!! What has changed for you since then?

4 years has flown by. I’m now engaged to a fantastic and wonderful guy that is Ilario Maddalin.
I now have 12 nephews and nieces. Lol
I got promoted to Sergeant in the British Army.

What happened last season? You didn’t compete on the World Cup, why was that?

Last season I did not compete, I needed to go back to the military and complete career courses. So last season I did not compete internationally. I did compete at the British Championships in Ruhpolding and won the women’s Overall, coming away with 6 medals and 4 trophies though.

How much did you miss racing last season? What things did you miss and was there anything that you didn’t miss?

I absolutely missed racing last season, I missed the atmosphere of the World Cup, the biathlon family and just competing in general.

Do you think missing last season will make the start of this season more difficult or could it be a positive thing?

For sure I will not be on top form this season after missing a whole summer training, shooting and a full competing season, but training has been going well this year, and it’s the right time to come back in before Beijing. I’m hoping to find myself again on the circuit and really enjoy what I love about biathlon. Next season is the big season when the Olympic qualification season starts and this is my next big goal.

What have you been doing for summer training and what are the plans up until the start of the season?

So far I have mainly based myself in Ruhpolding. This year I have put a big focus on the shooting and I can see and feel the benefits this is having on me as a biathlete. My shooting has always been my Achilles heel, so I knew this had to be my primary focus this summer.

I went to the Summer World Championship in Minsk (where unfortunately she was ill), then following that I’m doing the German Championships here in my summer home turf that is Ruhpolding.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals are to enjoy what I love doing and that’s competing. I’m not getting any younger and after Beijing it will be the end of my career.

I have goals at all levels this season and I plan to achieve them all.

Do you think biathlon is getting more popular in the UK? Do you ever get recognised by people?

Yes I believe it is, we have summer camps both in Scotland and the south of England where more and more people are discovering the crazy and awesome sport that is biathlon.

I do get recognized by people, however it is a lot more grander in Europe where you find most of your fan base.

What are you hobbies away from biathlon?

I have to say learning the piano, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I do struggle finding the time to learn. I also love a good coffee and cake on a free afternoon..
And this season I’ve just signed up to study 2 modern languages, so looking forward to trying to find the time to fit that in.. haha.

Is Oberhof still your favourite track and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen your favourite biathlete?

Did I really say Oberhof?? Wow..
Well that has definitely changed, it is now Oslo, it has to be the most beautiful place and atmosphere on the World Cup Circuit.

My favourite biathlete would now be the Olympic Champion and a great friend that is Hanna Oberg. I watched her grow into a fantastic athlete whilst training along side her and the rest of Sweden team for over 3 years. it was amazing to be part of their great inspirational journey to Olympic gold.

Does your rifle have a name yet?

Hmmm… no.. however I’m open to suggestions, send them to me via Instagram @amanda198726

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Amanda Lightfoot.. haha
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation):Japan
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: 61
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tarjei Boe
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup/IBU Cup: Mona Brorsson
Best thing about being a biathlete: competing on the World stage and being part of a huge biathlon family.

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