Category Archives: Interview

Clare Egan: The Interview!

Clare Egan is an American biathlete from Cape Elizabeth in Maine. She was born on the 19th of November 1987. She is part of the US Women’s Relay Team and has taken part in two World Championships. She had three Top 40 points finishes last season and achieved her personal best so far of 16th. This meant that she came 67th in the Total Score at the end of the season an improvement of 29 places from season 2014/15.

Like her Facebook Page: Clare Egan Biathlete
Read her blog: http://lclareegan.blogspot.co.uk

How did you discover biathlon and why did you want to become a biathlete?

When I was 25, I was a slightly bored cross-country skier, questioning whether to continue with the sport. It was perfect timing when US Biathlon’s regional development coach, Algis Shalna, asked if I wanted to learn how to shoot. He is a former Lithuanian biathlete who was part of a gold medal-winning relay team for the Soviet Union. I took him up on his offer because I was inspired by the success of biathletes Hannah Dreissigacker and Susan Dunklee, who, like me, started shooting after university and trained in Craftsbury, Vermont with the Green Racing Project ski team. I had a great experience working with Algis and learning the skills of shooting, so it was a good fit.

You had a really good season last year getting your personal best result of 16th in the Oestersund Sprint. Can you describe that race?

I went into that race with only one goal: to shoot well. I took my time making 10 good shots, and the downhill range approach helped me make that happen. I just wanted to make the pursuit but it was a nice surprise to clean a World Cup race for the first time and get my first top-20.

You also got two great results at your home race in Presque Isle. What was it like competing at home? Did you feel the pressure or did you enjoy it?

I had two great races in Presque-Isle, finishing 32nd in the sprint and then 23rd in the pursuit. I did not feel more pressure than usual, because biathlon is not well known in the US. But I am glad I had the experience of doing a biathlon World Cup in my home country and home state. Even though Presque-Isle is a 6-hour drive from where I grew up, there were some familiar faces in the crowd. My whole team did great that weekend, including Susan’s 2nd place in the sprint, and we were very proud.

Annalise Cook and Hannah Dreissigacker have both retired. How do you think the women’s team will cope with losing two great biathletes?

I really miss Annelies and Hannah even more than I thought I would. It is a very different team environment without those two! They lived and trained in Lake Placid, where our national team is based and where I live. Now that they are not here, I am one of the senior members of the team so I am learning how to be in that role. I miss them not only at training but also outside of training because they are great friends. Now, Susan and I are joined on the national team by two talented biathletes, Maddie Phaneuf and Joanne Reid, both of whom have already raced World Cups, so I have no doubt that our team will continue to move forward and improve, following in the footsteps of Hannah and Annelies.

What did you learn about yourself last season? Are you working on anything specific that you want to improve for the coming season?

I put a lot of pressure on myself, so I am working on staying relaxed and focussing on the positive aspects of each performance. In terms of specific biathlon skills I am working on my standing shooting and physical strength.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to consistently make the pursuits and score World Cup points. I would also like to qualify for a mass start!


Who has been the biggest inspiration or supporter of your biathlon career and why?

I think Algis Shalna, my first biathlon coach, is the person most responsible for where I am now. I learned so much from him even though we only worked together for one year. I wrote everything down in a little book that I travel with all winter so I can remember the most important basic lessons he taught me.

You sang in a biathlonworld video last season with Lowell and Jean-Gui. Have you always sung? Are you replacing Gabriela and will we see more of your singing next season?!

Gabriela was a little busy winning the overall World Cup title! I was just her substitute. I love singing and playing music with other people so I am always ready for the next video. I learned many instruments growing up… I don’t do anything super well, but I can do a little bit of everything.


Do you have a favourite race (sprint, pursuit etc.)? Which is it and why?

I like anything that is head-to-head, so pursuits and relays are my favorite so far. I hope to do a mass start one day because I think that would be my favorite.

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

Andrea Henkel Burke!!! She is a great athlete, a great person and a great mentor. We are so lucky to have her living in Lake Placid.

Does your rifle have a name?

She is called Rifey.


Describe yourself in three words.

outgoing, energetic, pig-lover

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Everybody is great
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Johannes Thingnes Boe’s pink rifle
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Belarus 2015 World Championships
Favourite shooting range: Ostersund, because the approach is downhill!
Lucky bib number: 11
Best use of the IBU Athlete Guidebook: checking out who is single, hot and has interesting hobbies.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Stefani Popova (BUL) and Amanda Lightfoot (GB)
Best dancers on the World/IBU Cup: 1st Place: Team Manager from Kazakstan (AMAZING!!!), 2nd Place (tie): Lithuanian biathletes Gabriele Lescinskaite and Vytautas Strolia.
Best World Cup food: dense hot chocolate available in Italy and Slovenia
Friendliest Wax Tech: Gregoire Deschamps
Favourite song on stadium playlist: “Walking on sunshine”
Most annoying song on stadium playlist: “Hey baby I wanna know if you’ll be my girl”
Best thing about being a biathlete: Having the opportunity to represent the best side of my country, when the world often only sees the worst.

(Please note Clare added some of her own quick fire questions here! If only all the biathletes were so conscientious!:-)

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Tobias Arwidson: The Interview!

arwidson1

Tobias Arwidson is a Swedish biathlete. He was born in Mora on the 7th of June 1988 but grew up in Lima in Dalarna County in the west of Sweden. He has a medal from the European Open Championships in 2013 where he won silver in the Individual. His best result so far on the World Cup is 17th from the Ruhpolding Individual in 2014. He is the son of double Olympic bronze medal winner Lars-Göran Arwidson.

Follow Tobias on Twitter: @TArwidson
Like his Facebook Page: Tobias Arwidson (Sportsperson)
Look at his website: tobiasarwidson.com

Did your father encourage you to become a biathlete or is it something you decided to do yourself?

I have always liked sports, from soccer, handball, hockey and skiing/biathlon. When I was younger, I did many sports and dreamed about succeeding in my sports. For example I played handball well, but my hometown Lima was a bit too far to the big sports teams therefore I think the natural path was skiing/biathlon. My father helped me a lot, and my small hometown has a skiing spirit with many old world stars, several medallists in the World Championships and Olympic Games. For example the biggest star Sixten Jernberg and also my father have 2 Olympic medals.

I did choose the sport by myself, but sure I had a lot of knowledge from the start when I was a child! From the art of shooting to the skiing. The most help was my parents time, I’m sure many athletes recognize this. If you have support in what you do, for example getting a lift to training when you are young, or taking part in the competitions or equipment problems, then you have a good standard to try and reach your dreams. Sure anyone can succeed alone, but the support and knowledge in my family made the decision to do biathlon an easy one.

Can you explain your situation at the moment as you are no longer in the national team. What is going on?

I wasn’t picked for the national team, so now my focus is on the Swedish Military team. We have some good cross-country skiers and biathletes who are aiming for the World Military Games in Sochi 2017.
Sure, I hope to take podium places in the World Cup too, but I need to take a step forward in the skiing part. Hopefully I am more healthy this season than the last two, I had some real problems and struggled to get healthy. Now, mostly I train in my hometown or in Östersund with different people. I have also discussed with private teams and other national teams, so I have possibilities to train with them in the future, but for now in the short term I don’t have any news. But I am open to being in a team and working more together. Many people ask about my technique and thinking in the shooting, so I’m glad to share with other teams for developing together.

You took part in the Single Mixed Relay last season. Do you like the new event?

1) I like the thinking about new interesting competitions that can take focus in bigger places. Single mixed relays are closer to, for example, the arena race in Schalke. If I think one more step, what if this kind of competition took place in London? Paris? New York? Short races, fast and with shooting. Two sports combined that I think many ”new” people want to watch live. Biathlon has the spirit and action to grow in these non-winter cities.

2) I don’t like the ”middle” of everything. For example, single mixed has the same distance as a relay, 7.5 km. If you want to do a sprint, then make it a sprint.. Fast, explosive, action. Like in cross-country skiing.
Look at the times and relate it to Athletics. In Athletics 800m isn’t a sprint, it’s a middle distance race, 2 minutes of work. Cross-country and biathlon have much more time in the competitions, it’s actually funny that it’s called a sprint or super sprint. If we wants sprints, then make it”100m” like Usain Bolt. Not something between just because the old rules are making the standard ”What we did before”. Think outside the box, then I think biathlon can take place in the big worldwide arenas.

You are consistently one of the best shots on the World Cup. Have you ever considered competing in the Summer Olympics in the shooting events?

Actually I have. I competed when I was young in shooting competitions, but this is normal in our small village. When I grew up, the thing to do was sports. So we did everything possible, many of my friends also competed in shooting. In the standard ”30-30” biathlon test, I have done around 550 sometimes but my record is 555p. In prone, 30 shots, my record is 298p, every shot in the 10 points, in the middle except two.
If I count: This was of course with my biathlon rifle (5 shots/rounds), and biathlon suit/t-shirt. For example, real shooting clothes give much more accuracy. Also a normal competition rifle gives more stability.
Therefore, I think I could have the chance to get good results. Sure I want to try, and not only because it’s fun to try, it’s because I believe I can achieve good results.
Last season I did less training in shooting, much less than normal, almost no shooting until autumn. That made me struggle a bit in the biathlon races to reach 100%. But still I shoot quite well without training, just follow my intuition.
If I just start to shoot more (last season was more focussed on skiing, but unfortunately I was sick a lot), I know I will take one step more.
The only thing is that I need help with the real shooting gear. I have some contacts in Sweden that I speak with, but still, you need a rifle.
If I get a rifle and ”starting” help in the shooting sports, then I will try and reach a good performance. Sure with a goal like the next Summer Olympics. I know what a lot of training is about. I’m not a thinker, I’m a doer and will try 100% if I get the chance. But of course the first step is good results in Sweden, it’s a long road even to a Swedish Championships, but I think I have something in this and I am willing to try.

What are your plans for summer training?

Now I am training a bit with some cross-country skiers, no fixed place for now. Just now I’m in Lima and training, also in Torsby. In the middle of June I also finished my degree, a Masters in Science in Education. It’s good to have good university results, but now in the future I hope that I can focus more on biathlon.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to say medals and podium places, but for the first time I will say it’s to be healthy. If you aren’t healthy you cant get good results.

What kind of food do you eat when you are training? Is there anything you can’t eat? Do you have a nutritionist?

I had one before the Sochi Olympics, but now I have no support from the Swedish team. I am going it alone with some other friends, its tough but you need to be creative and think outside the box.
For now I eat a lot of ecological food with no artificial ingredients. These days its scary how many things you can eat if you buy some meat in the store. Many products are some % meat but 70-80% are sugar and other strange things. That’s a shame. I like local and new companies that think healthy and with basic, normal, natural ingredients.
If you eat bread, then it should be bread, not a lot of artificial ingredients and a lot of sugar because the company wants to earn more money.

What is your best/favourite race in your career so far? Why?

The first big feeling in a race was my first international race, Sweden vs Norway vs Finland, in Norway. I think I was 14 years old and was third in the big biathlon race. The best young athletes from Finland, Sweden and Norway, around 200 competitors were there and I managed to get third place, 2 seconds from second place and not far from the victory.
For the first time I felt that I had the possibility to reach my dreams. That was a fantastic feeling.

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

I need to say the track in my hometown. You feel the old spirits from the old biathlon and cross-country stars when you go there, and every session as youngster you dreamed about reaching the national team. Perhaps even the Olympic Games. Then, when you do that, the feeling and your memory of the old times grows stronger then ever.
I think you need to be proud of the old times and the memories, it gives you a sign and mark what you want to do in the future.

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

At the same time when I succeeded in the big competition as a 14 year old boy, my friends and I had some favourites. The athlete who made the strongest impression was Michi Greiss that had really fast shooting, that pushed me and my friends to shoot fast at a young age, sometimes faster than ”on the television”, but still with good accuracy.


Does your rifle have a name?

No name. But yes, when I was younger, I used to speak with it, haha. But sure, we have one power greater than everything, it’s our brain. I think my connection with the rifle gave me good results when I was young.

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined. Flexible. Calm. Nature 😉

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): My own, a classic bass (fish) spike inspired contour (I like to fish)
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Swedish from the time of Sixten Jernberg (Google it!)
Favourite shooting range: Nove Mesto, amazing crowd.
Lucky bib number: Doesn’t matter 😉 (…ahem, yes it does!)
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: We are all so similar but all so different.
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Everyone is nice!
Best thing about being a biathlete: You get a lot of friends and contacts around the world.

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Baiba Bendika: The Interview!

bendika

Baiba Bendika is a Latvian biathlete who was born on the 27th of June 1991 in Cesis. She made her international debut in 2008 and her World Cup debut in 2011. She has participated in three Junior World Championships and four World Championships. Last season she finished 49th in the Total Score and has a personal best finish of fifth.

You can follow Baiba on Twitter: @biathleteLV

Why did you decide to become a biathlete?

My father was a biathlete for a few years and his coach was looking for kids for a new biathlon group. He called his old biathletes and so I started to go to biathlon training with my brother!

Is biathlon popular in Latvia? Do you get any funding from your country or do you have to find it yourself?

There are many people who enjoy watching biathlon, but there are not too many biathletes competing in Latvian races. There is a little money from sport schools, but mainly all the money comes from parents until you get to the national team, then there is money from federation sponsors and the country’s sport committee.

Last season was your best ever with a top finish of 5th in the Canmore Sprint. Can you describe the race and how you felt?

The race was with a strong and changing wind, but I got lucky and when I shot it wasn’t so bad, so I did a fast shooting and felt really free and with a clear mind on the track. It was a perfect day for me when everything came together, only on the last loop I heard my result from the Ukraine coach and was really surprised and even thought for some seconds that this information was not for me. So it was a crazy feeling to change your best result from 41st place to 5th!

Why did you have such a good season last year? Did you change anything about your skiing, shooting or training?

Yes, I changed coaches and also my preparation was different. I had better skis from Madshus sponsored by Sportland and also good help from the wax team. I improved my shooting and skiing technique, but the big part I guess is that all the hard work that I had put in in those many years just finally paid off.

What are your plans for summer training?

This year I will have some camps without the team at high altitude, so this again will be something new for me and I’m already discovering new training places. There is the Summer World Championships in Estonia, Otepaa in August, so it’s almost home and I hope to be ready for this event too.

What are you goals for this season?

I want to be consistent all season and to be in the points as much as I can, so that at the end of the season I can be in the overall Top 30, but also I finally want to do well at the World Championships.

Do you like the Single Mixed Relay? Could you do well in it with Andrejs Rastorgujevs?

Yes, I really enjoy this race because it’s fast and dynamic and it’s also a good possibility for small nations like Latvia to get good results and I am sure that we can do even better than last season’s two 8th places.

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

First I would like to say that it’s Canmore, I would love to see this track every season. But from the regular stadiums I enjoy Antholz like almost every biathlete and also Hochfilzen, so I’m happy that the World Championships will be there. And from IBU tracks I’d like to mention Beitostolen.

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

For the men it’s the King Ole, because I grew up watching him and he is still so good and it’s incredible how you can stay motivated for so many years. For the women it’s Andrea Burke (Henkel) because she showed me that also small biathletes can be on top (she is 158 cm, I’m 155cm).

Does your rifle have a name?

No, it’s just a good friend of mine, but maybe I need to give it a name!

Describe yourself in three words.

Short, positive, motivated.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite teammate: Ilmars Bricis
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): It’s hard to imagine now, but let’s say- Quentin Fillon Maillet.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Latvia and Italy
Favourite shooting range: Oslo
Lucky bib number: 63
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Johannes Thingnes Boe
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tiril Eckhoff
Best thing about being a biathlete: Biathletes are the best and it’s fun!

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Andrew Chisholm: The Interview!

chisholm

Andrew Chisholm is a Canadian ski technician and former biathlete. He was born in Calgary on the 17th of November 1991 and started biathlon at age 13. He recently retired from the sport and is now preparing the skis for his former teammates.

Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewkchisholm

You gave up biathlon and became a ski technician. Why was that?

There were definitely multiple reasons as to why I quit, but one big reason was that I was just struggling to improve and keep my performances at a level I found acceptable. I’m not a small guy by any means, so I struggled a lot with the big climbs. I ended up becoming a ski technician a little bit by accident. I was attempting a transition into sliding sports (I was hoping to be a bobsleigh brakeman for the 2015/16 season) and I was actually hitting all of the testing numbers that I needed to do so (weight lifting, sprinting, jumps, throws, etc), but I ended up having a brutal hamstring injury a few days before the official tryout day. I couldn’t even walk properly, and I knew it was going to be a long road for proper recovery, so I asked our then head technician Tom Zidek if I could try to get on board with the wax team and he took me on right away. What I was thinking would be a little bit of part time work turned into an incredible opportunity, and I’m more than grateful for it!

Can you describe your typical race weekend?

We arrive a few days before the first race, get the skis cleaned and zeroed with the same wax for testing, and then it becomes a bit of a cycle of testing, cleaning, waxing, repeat! Race day is just a repeat of that process except we will test the wax and best skis for the day and get those skis out to the athletes on time.

What are the best and worst things about being a ski technician?

I honestly love everything about being a ski technician. Everything from the skiing, the testing, being on tour, the creativity we can use to try and gain an edge over the other nations… all I’ve really done is apply my love of competition to ski teching instead of racing!

The worst parts might be the long time away from your family and friends, but with how well you can keep in touch with Skype or Facetime nowadays, it’s not so bad. You have a bit of a family on the road too.

Are you responsible for certain biathletes skis or do help with them all?

I help with them all. Some days each tech will take on a certain athlete with the testing, but the team works as a whole to make sure everyone has the best skis possible.

Have you ever had any waxidents? (accidents with wax)

I’ve burned my arm with the iron once, dumped over base cleaner a few times… The only real accident I can remember was once I waxed an athlete’s skis differently that we had tested to be best, but there was plenty of time to re-wax them the way we had agreed on!

Is the world of wax very secretive? Have you ever been tempted to go and spy on what the other teams are doing? Do they spy on you?

Kind of. No. Not sure.


Do you ever get wax truck envy or are you happy with Canada’s set up?

I don’t get envy at all, we are able to do a pretty good job with what we have. I’m mostly happy with the set up, there are a few things I would have done differently if I was designing it all from the ground up, but I think that would be the same for anyone. Everyone has their own vision!

Do you have any good waxing tips for the non-expert?

Yeah, remember to do it 😉 In terms of race waxing, I’d say make sure you brush and wipe down your skis well. It doesn’t matter how fast your wax is if you don’t finish it properly!

Canada had a great season in 2015/16 with a World Championship bronze for the Men’s Relay Team and a Single Mixed Relay podium. Is it a coincidence that this happened in your first season? How much credit are you taking for the success?

With a question like that I feel like you’ve been hearing some rumours! I’d definitely say it was a coincidence. I won’t deny that I brought something new to the team, but I can’t take very much credit at all. It was the culmination of several years of hard work done by the athletes, coaches, staff, and tech crew before me. In my opinion it had been a long time coming and it just happened to all come together the year that I joined the team.

Did your rifle have a name?

Nope!

Describe yourself in three words.

I am terrible at things like this so I asked some of my best friends outside of biathlon and this is what they came up with:

“Is remarkably average.” (You can really feel the love with that one…)

Maybe the best three words that describe me are probably “Up to something”

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlete (past or present): The Canadians. I grew up training and racing with them, having them as role models, or both!
Favourite biathlon track: Whistler.
Favourite event: (sprint, pursuit etc): Pursuit
Best race you have prepared skis for: Best result: Ostersund Single Mixed Relay (also my first race with the team)
Most Fun: Relays at Presque Isle
Best skis: Obertilliach IBU Cup

Favourite wax tech: Can’t choose just one!
Favourite wax truck (not your own): The French team. They have one of the best ventilation systems in my opinion.
Favourite ski suit design (any nation): For the last season, I think the Finnish had the best.
Favourite rifle design: I liked my old stock that I built with the Van Halen style paintjob, but Nathan Smith’s is probably #1 for me right now.

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Jillian Colebourn: The Interview!

colebourn

Jillian Colebourn is an Australian biathlete. She was born in Sydney on the 9th of January 1995. She has already competed in two Youth/Junior World Championships in Raubichi and Chiele Gradistei. Last season she also took part in the new Junior IBU Cup.

Follow Jillian on Twitter: @JillColebourn

How did you discover biathlon and why did you want to become a biathlete?

I started downhill skiing with my family when I was a child then decided to focus on cross country skiing when I was about 16. That same year I discovered biathlon through the cross country community and decided to try the sport as I had experience with rifle shooting as a Scout, and it sounded like fun!

Is biathlon becoming more popular in Australia? Do you get help from any sports institutes or do you need to raise your own funds?

Australian Biathlon is encouraging more kids to try out the sport and holds training camps and other opportunities to develop the sport. Biathlon in Australia is slowly developing more interest in the areas where members live and are able to volunteer, however the sport is still very small with only about 100 biathletes in total ranging from children to masters and the elite athletes to novices. Some institutes such as my University help to support my training, and the athletes also receive some help from Australian Biathlon, however most of my funds for training and races are raised by myself. I am also very lucky to have KV+ Australia as a sponsor of mine, as they have helped me to access the best poles, race skis and other cross country ski gear.


Can you concentrate solely on biathlon at the moment or are you still in education too?

I am currently studying Full-Time Mechatronic Engineering and Commerce at the University of Sydney, as well as training. However, I have found that I am not able to focus on biathlon as much as I would like, and so have reduced my study load for the next year to part-time so that I can concentrate on biathlon.

Do you train in Australia in the off season? It is winter there so can you train on snow quite a lot? What are the facilities like at Hotham?

I train in Australia for most of the year, except for the Northern-hemisphere winter. In Autumn and the Spring, I do normal summer training at home while I attend university such as roller skiing, shooting, swimming, biking and running. I will spend the majority of winter staying in the ski resort Hotham, as it has the only biathlon range in Australia. Hotham is about 10 hours drive from Sydney, so I will stay there for a few weeks at a time. My university is very supportive, so I continue to stay and train when the semester starts and keep up to date with my studies online. I will also occasionally go to Perisher, another skiing resort closer to Sydney (about 5 hours) as it has good cross-country tracks but no shooting range unfortunately. Currently the range at Hotham has about 12 lanes, with mechanical targets. The facilities are not perfect, but we are a small sport and we have everything that we need, we even have an outdoor drop-dunny!


Can you tell me about last season, what races did you take part in and what results did you get?

Last season I was based in Livigno, Italy where my coach lives and competed in some European National cups such as the Swiss Cup, Italian Cup, Junior IBU cups and the Youth/Junior World Championships in Romania. Unfortunately, I peaked early in the season so I did not perform my best at the JWCH and was disappointed with my results. However at the Junior IBU cups earlier in the season, I consistently place around 40th to 50th position out of about 100 competitors. I was pleased with this result as it is hard to develop as a biathlete in Australia and it was a positive step in the direction of my goals.

What did you learn about yourself last season? Are you working on anything specific that you want to improve for the coming season?

Last season I learned that during competitions I am quite reliably a good shooter. However this came at the cost of having very slow shooting times. I have been working on improving my shooting speed during summer training and aim to improve my racing shooting times during the upcoming Australian Winter season.


What are your goals for this season?

This coming Northern Hemisphere season, I plan to compete in a few IBU cups, some European National Cups and the World University Games. This will be my first time at an IBU Cup so my goal is simply to get a feel for the competition and standards so that I know how to improve for the coming years.

Who has been the biggest inspiration or supporter of your biathlon career and why?

My biggest supporter of my biathlon career has to be my parents who encouraged and supported me from day 1. When I first started biathlon they knew nothing about it, but have grown to be large parts of the community here in Australia to support not only myself but the growth of the sport as a whole. However, my biggest inspiration is definitely my coach, Luca Bormolini from Italy. He pushes me to become the best athlete I can be and believes in my abilities even when I do not and I can always trust his coaching.

Do you have a favourite race (sprint, pursuit etc.)? Which is it and why?

My favourite race is a sprint, because I am able to stay focused to ski fast and shoot very well. In longer races, my shooting accuracy tends to vary much more and I find it much harder to maintain focus on ski technique and pushing myself.

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Leandro Lutz: The Interview!

lutz

Leandro Lutz was born on the 5th of January 1982 in Brazil. He is a biathlete and also a cross-county skier (well everyone makes mistakes!) He currently competes in both disciplines and in biathlon he made his debut on the IBU Cup in 2009.

Follow Leandro on Twitter: @leandrolutz
Like his Facebook page: Leandro Lutz Biathlete & Cross Country Skier

A biathlete from Brazil! How did that happen? Tell us how you discovered biathlon and why you became a biathlete?

It all started a long time ago. I was a road cyclist in Europe at the beginning of the 2000s and saw the guys training for cross-country skiing during the cycling off-season to keep fit and it caught my attention. But I kept cycling and just tried cross-country in 2008 when I was cycling training in Germany. After that I returned to Brazil (2009), contacted our Snow Sports Federation (CBDN) and started training with roller skis by myself. That year I did some tests at CBDN and since them I have been part of the Brazilian Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Teams and I started racing in our Austral Season in July/August 2009.

Why a biathlete? Because it unites two opposing sports and combines the endurance sport (which I always practiced) and the precision sport (where the mind is very important). And of course, it’s extremely challenging.


Do you get any support from any sport institutions in Brazil? How do you fund yourself?

I have some support from CBDN and the Brazilian Ministry of Sports.

Also from my great partner Team Out There (Bjorn and Kris Hanson), a sports project from a family business (outthereshop.com) in Rice Lake-Wisconsin(USA) that helps athletes from all over the world (XC, Biathlon, Ski Jump and Nordic Combined) with sponsorship, contacts, promotion, gear and other means.

And of course my family helps me a lot. Here in Brazil I’m a lawyer and I worked really hard planning and saving money for my journey to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Now I’m a full time athlete thanks to the hard work that I did some time ago.

Can you tell me about last season, what races did you take part in and what results did you get?

My last season was really good with some personal bests and good times on snow. I did the first 3 IBU Cups (Idre, Ridnaun and Obertilliach) and after that I focused on cross-country training and races (my main goal for the 2018 Winter Olympics).


What are your plans for summer training?

I’m looking to spending more time in Europe training with top athletes and enjoying more time on snow. Also, I hope to go to the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships in Otepää.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: My endurance and focus.

Weaknesses: My technique and efficiency (it was not easy to start alone).

What are your goals for this season?

For biathlon I probably will race IBU Cups 4, 5 and 6 and the European Championships, hoping for below 200 points.

For cross-country my goals are qualifying for the 2017 XC World Championships and “B” Olympic Criteria with lots of personal bests.

Who has been the biggest inspiration or supporter of your biathlon career and why?

My family for all their support and my 2nd family Bjorn and Kristin Hanson for their vision and love of sport.

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

Obertilliach. It used to be our base in Europe and it was my first track in Europe, I think I know every inch of it!

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

Bjoerndalen, he is the King!

Does your rifle have a name?

I just call it “my Izhmash” and it’s left handed.

Describe yourself in three words.

Focused, hard worker and determined.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own):
Italy
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Germany
Favourite shooting range: Obertilliach
Lucky bib number: 22 (23-1) 😉
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Karoly “Charlie” Gombos
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Christofer Eriksson,Pietro Dutto and Tobias Arwidson.
Best thing about being a biathlete:The challenge, the atmosphere and the big biathlon family.

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