Östersund: Swede Emotions!

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It’s back! Biathlon came back with a bang in Östersund! Wow and what a Mixed Relay they delivered for us to get the new season underway. They kept us guessing right until the end but as usual “the shark” Martin Fourcade waited until the last moment to seize his prey(you can almost hear the music from Jaws as he sneaks up behind people!!!). Norway came in second despite a penalty loop and the German team were third. A great win for France and a great opening race. Well OK so it wasn’t great for everyone just ask Ondrej Moravec and Jakov Fak among others but everyone has their bad days even the best.

Which is exactly what happened to Fourcade himself in the Individual Race! Another Östersund meltdown on the shooting range to add to his collection. It’s how he likes to start the season! At the opposite end of the scale was Emil! Wow one of the best shooting performances I have seen from Svendsen and he was the only man to shoot 0. Second was a surprising yet brilliant display from Serhiy Semenov and it was great to see Michal Slesingr back on the podium after a rough year last season. Italian youngster Thomas Bormolini made a rather impressive World Cup debut finishing 19th.

Unfortunately for the other women in the Individual race star of last year’s Olympics Darya Domracheva seems to be continuing her amazing form into this season. Her ski speed is great as usual but she is shooting really well too. She took the win and was followed by Kaisa Makarainen who is also in great form and this race will probably set the tone for an ongoing battle between these two over the season. Valj Semerenko produced a clear shoot to come in third. Home girl Elisabeth Hoegberg gave the crowd something to cheer about finishing 9th and two World Cup debutants made it look easy by finishing in the TOP 20, France’s Enora Latuilliere in 13th and Luise Kummer of Germany in 18th.

Everyone had Friday off for good behaviour and so we had to wait until Saturday to see the first Sprints of the season. The men started things off and the real Martin Fourcade showed up again after his 81st place in the Individual and won easily with 28 seconds to spare! I was also happy to see Moravec and Fak recovering from their Relay nightmare on the range to both shoot clean and come home second and third. The women’s Sprint saw Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff storm home to win her first ever World Cup race. I am sure her brother and coach Stian will be trying to take all the credit – you know what brother’s are like! The Czech Republic’s Veronika Vitkova took second further adding to the her teams fantastic start to the season and third was Kaisa Makarainen. Latuilliere again showed what a great young talent she is by coming 10th.

So that left us with just the Pursuit races to go and the men’s looked like it was going to be an easy win for Fourcade. Bless him though he missed his first two shots to make it exciting for us to watch but inevitably he still won. Anton Shipulin produced a very calm and collected race to get second and Emil Svendsen came home third to keep the yellow bib on his back. Canada’s Nathan Smith ran a great race until the final shoot when I think the exertions of keeping up with Svendsen caused him to miss 3 shots and he ended up 16th. Back down the field a little there were some tremendous performances from Dominik Landertinger 30th-5th, Andi Birnbacher 22nd-7th, Klemen Bauer 26th-12th, Freddie Lindstrom 36th-13th and Vetle Christiansen 45th -15th!

The women’s race was won in great style by Kaisa Makarainen. On the third shoot when everyone around her was missing targets she took her time and used all her valuable experience to shoot clear and ski to victory. Valj Semerenko continued her good form by beating Dorothea Wierer into second although the Italian is just coming back from illness. Other impressive moves came from Ekaterina Glazyrina 20th-9th, Franziska Preuss 22nd-9th, Susan Dunklee 41st-19th and Elise Ringen 55th-23rd!

Östersund proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride throughout the week with people performing well one day and terribly the next but that’s the first races of the season for you! We are now off to Hochfilzen where there is currently no snow but luckily in Austria you can just go up a mountain and get some! Kaisa and Emil have come out best from the weekend and will wear the yellow bibs but it’s still very early in the season. After all the ups and downs in Sweden the others will be hoping for a bit more consistency. It has been quite the week in Östersund and with all the drama on the range it has been full of Swede Emotions!

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Maddie Phaneuf: The Interview!

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In the first in a new series of interviews with young biathletes Biathlon23 talked to the USA’s Maddie Phaneuf about her experiences in the sport so far. Maddie is 19 and was born in Virginia and now lives in Lake Placid. She had a great Youth/Junior World Championships in Presque Isle and I am looking forward to seeing what she can achieve this season.

You can follow Maddie on Twitter: @MaddieBiathlete, find her on Facebook and I highly recommend reading her blog:
http://maddiebiathlon.blogspot.co.uk/

Biathlon is not that popular in America, cheerleading is! How did you escape the pom-poms to become a biathlete?

It’s funny because I actually started out dancing and doing ballet when I was younger, but then my family and I moved to my current hometown (in New York State) and they did not have a good dance program there. They did have a lot of snow and skiing though, so that’s when I learned how to ski…and eventually picked up biathlon.

How do you balance training and competing with your education and social life? Are there things you would like to do but can’t because of training?

Currently, I am not doing full-time school, but instead I am just doing a few online college classes. So during my down time from training I work on my school. It seems to be working well, and I will be done with the classes by the time the race season begins. For my social life, most of my friends are within the biathlon community, so it is very easy to continue that social life during training and competitions. Although, I do have friends from high school that are not in biathlon, and it’s a bit harder to keep up with their lives. Usually if I am home for a while I try to hang out with them and catch up, otherwise I just see what they are up to by checking their Facebook. If I were not training, I would definitely have more of a social life, and sometimes I miss that. I usually cannot just meet up with a friend for the weekend, or stay out too late because of training, which can be not so fun.

Will you be competing in Raubichi in the World Youth/Junior Championships? What is the selection criteria for your country?

Yes, I will be competing in Raubichi! I am very excited to compete in my second ever World Youth/Junior Championships. It will be interesting to see how different the competition is compared to last season in the USA, and now this year as a Junior rather than a Youth. The selection criteria for my country (USA) is that we have a set of three races in December over a week. To make the team you have to be a certain percent back from the winner of each race, and they count the two best of three races. Sean Doherty and I have pre qualified for these races because of our performance at the last World Youth/Junior Championships, so we will not be competing at the selection races.

Do you receive any funding? If not how do you pay for equipment, travel etc?

I receive some funding, but currently unsure on how much funding I will receive this season. I did get a good deal from Rossignol on my equipment, but I pay for my equipment myself with the help of my parents. With travel my parents help a lot, because I do not have a job because of training…so I don’t have an income. Also, for training, I live in Lake Placid, NY at the Olympic Training Center with the National Team, so our housing and food is all paid for…so training is basically free, which is very helpful.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a biathlete?

I think the best part about being a biathlete is that I get to travel around the world and meet people from different cultures while doing the thing I enjoy most! There really aren’t many things that make being a biathlete a bad thing. Maybe the worst thing about being a biathlete would be having to carry your large ski bag and rifle case while traveling in the airport…which can be tiring and take a long time.

If you could steal one characteristic from another biathlete, what would it be, who from and why?

If I could steal one characteristic from another biathlete, I would want to be able to look as beautiful as Gabriela Soukalova does when she’s competing. It’s impressive how she can look so pretty while competing and win! I don’t know how she does it…but it’s a skill I’d like to have. I’m already a natural blonde, so I’m part-way there!

What would you like to change about biathlon? (the rules, equipment, schedule etc).

I don’t think there is really anything I would choose to change about biathlon. Maybe the only thing would be for the relay, if a team does not have 4 people, they could use one of their teammates twice. I know this is an issue for the USA Women’s team this season, because they will only have three women competing on the first World Cup races. They all really want to compete in the relays this season, but they do not have enough women, so it would be cool if they could race Susan, Hannah, Annelies, Susan.

Who is your role model? (in biathlon or in general)

Steve Prefontaine, I have been inspired by him since I was younger. I was more into running before biathlon, and he was a phenomenal track star. I would watch the movie Prefontaine on repeat, and know his story as well as I know my story! To be as good as an athlete as he was and to have the passion for a sport like he did for running, would mean everything to me.

To learn more about Steve Prefontaine see his website: http://prefontainerun.com/index.php

What’s your typical day like?

Well, my typical day is as follows:

1)Wake up 7:00
2)Breakfast 7:30-8:30
3)Morning training 9:00
4)Shower
5)Lunch 12:00-13:00
6)Recovery/Free 13:00-15:30
7)Afternoon training 15:30
8)Shower
9)Dinner 18:00-19:00
10)Dry fire
11)Bed 21:30

You are on a team with Susan Dunklee, Hannah Dreissigacker and Annelies Cook. Do they help you with tips and advice or are they super competitive and don’t want you to steal their place in the team?! 😉

It has been a great experience training with Susan, Annelies, and Hannah after watching them compete on the World Cup and looking up to them the past few years. They have been extremely helpful! If I ever need help with anything or if I ever have a question they are always there for me. I don’t think they are too worried about me stealing their place on the team, because they are all so much older than I am. I am still only 19 and in my developing years, they are each in their late 20’s early 30’s and have been in this sport longer than me! I also don’t see them as the type of people that are super competitive when it comes to teammates. They are competitive when they need to be, during training and competitions, but when you need help or are just hanging out as a team, they are all so friendly and caring. It has been a fun experience, and I’m excited to see how they do this season!

Does your rifle have a name?

It currently does not, but I’ll take suggestions!! I never thought about naming my rifle before…do people actually do that?

Describe yourself in three words.

I am…happy, outgoing, determined.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Favourite biathlete (past or present): Franziska Hildebrand, GER
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Relay
Favourite/best race of your career so far? 4th place (shooting clean!) in Youth Women Sprint at Youth/Junior World Championships 2014 in Presque Isle, Maine USA

Favourite food: Chocolate
Favourite singer/band: Vance Joy
Favourite film: Into The Wild
Favourite sports team: USA Women’s Soccer
Favourite TV show: The Vampire Diaries (guilty pleasure)

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Gunning for Glory Part 2: Men

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Well the start of the season is not far away now so it’s time to look at the main contenders for the Overall title. There is of course one outstanding candidate – Martin Fourcade. He is aiming to win the title for the fourth year in a row and continue to stamp his dominance on male biathlon. Normally I would say that no one can beat him but this time round there may just be a few chinks in his armour that might give someone else the opportunity to win the Total Score.

Two reasons leap out as to why Martin may find his title more difficult than normal to defend. The first is his bout of mononucleosis or glandular fever as it’s more commonly known. He had to scale back his training in the summer and this is bound to affect his fitness. It will probably catch up to him around mid-season as I expect him to make his usual good start in Oestersund. He will also find it hard going as he is considering competing in Falun in the cross country World Championships and so he might do some races on the FIS calendar to prepare for this. So an extra work load along with his summer illness just opens a crack in the door that might be big enough for one of the other guys to sneak through and take victory.

Ah a chance then for Emil Svendsen to regain the title he won for the only time in 2009/10 and put an end to his 4 second places in a row! Well maybe but reports out of Norway suggest that Svendsen is struggling for motivation after last year’s Olympics and is considering his retirement before the next Games in 2018. He definitely has the talent and experience to win but does he have the mental fortitude and motivation to do it. Well only he can answer that.

I am really looking forward to seeing what young Johannes Bø has got to offer this season. He was remarkable last year and a real breath of fresh air on the World Cup and with his confidence and fast shooting he is great to watch. He finished third last time, a long way behind Fourcade but only 5 points behind Svendsen who was second. He got five wins in the previous season and I can see him exceeding that this year and it will put him in a great position to win. I hope his big brother Tarjei can also return to his old form which saw him win the Overall title in 2010/11. There is nothing like a bit of “friendly” inter-family competition!!!

Three top Norwegians there for Fourcade to contend with but he better watch his back for the Austrians as well. Fourth and fifth in the Total Score last year were Dominik Landertinger and Simon Eder. Both of them are good enough to win and have a lot of experience. If either of them can put together a really consistent season they will be in with a chance. They have to start taking podiums from the beginning though to be able to challenge for the top spot. Austria’s neighbours also boast a couple of potential winners. Germany had Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp in the Top 10 last season and it’s about time we had another German winner of the big Crystal Globe. Peiffer did well to come back from an abysmal season two years ago and Schempp has finally got the victories his talent had promised.

Russia have Anton Shipulin to look to for victory. Like the others he can be great on his day but has been lacking the consistency to really push for overall glory. There are also many other top male biathletes who can take points off the top guys and make their chances of winning really difficult. Jakov Fak, Lukas Hofer, Ondrej Moravec, Jean-Guillaume Beatrix, Tim Burke and Freddie Lindstrom are all capable of winning races and taking podiums and will hopefully get more involved in the Total Score, if not right at the top then at least to shake up the TOP 5.

Watch out this year for Nathan Smith, Andrejs Rastorgujevs and Simon Desthieux to start mixing with the top men for podiums and victories. Have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes there is a guy called Ole Einar Bjørndalen that you may have heard of. I hear he is quite good at biathlon! Keep an eye out for him and his fancy new ski poles! He was meant to retire last season along with Bjorn Ferry, Carl Johan Bergman and Cristoph Sumann but changed his mind after Sochi. Quite right too! There are still wins left in the old legs yet!

It will be an intriguing season for the men to see if any of them can beat Fourcade to the title although possibly not as unpredictable and exciting as the women’s side. However I look forward to seeing how Martin copes with the aftermath of his illness and his possible extra commitments in cross county. We will just have to watch and see what happens with so many great men Gunning for Glory!!!

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Gunning for Glory Part 1: Women

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Intrigue, uncertainty, unpredictability ,mystery and suspense! No it’s not the latest thriller at the cinema- it’s the Women’s World Cup!!! This season is going to be one of the best yet. Who is going to finish with the Overall Title 2014/15? Your guess is as good as mine. Anybody could win it but there are some with a better chance than others.

There have been some big changes on the Women’s Tour this year which is why it is so exciting. Tora Berger, Andrea Henkel, Ann Kristin Flatland and Marie-Laure Brunet have retired, Selina Gasparin is pregnant and will miss the season, Marie-Dorin Habert has a new daughter and we are not sure when she will return. Olga Vilukhina has also decided to sit out the season to heal from some injuries. That means four of the Top 11 finishers in the Overall will not be on the start line this season. So we better take a look at the other eight!

Last year’s winner by 4 points was Kaisa Makarainen. An amazing end of season run saw her just pip Tora Berger and totally ruin her retirement! 😉 Can she defend her title this year? Well of course she is capable and she has more experience than her competitors but she also has a home World Championships in Kontiolahti to prepare for. It is likely to be her final year in the sport and the World Championships might mean her main focus is not on the World Cup.

In third place last season was Darya Domracheva. Her stunning performances in Sochi must make her one of the favourites to take the title this year. However I am not so sure. She can be fantastic over a race weekend but can she sustain that level over a whole season? In the last 3 years she has finished second twice, and third once in the Total Score but seems to lack just that little something to push her up to first. She seems to have sorted out her shooting issues but with all the attention she has received after her Olympic glory and all the extra engagements outside of biathlon it has brought her, will she be able to keep her focus all the way to Khanty?

This is an issue that will also affect Gabriela Soukalova who was fourth last year. She has become very popular over the last couple of seasons and that can bring it’s own pressure. The other biathletes will be watching out for her and like Domracheva she will have to try and maintain a good level throughout the season.

Sixth last time around was Anastasiya Kuzmina. She had a pretty average season but came good for the Olympics and brilliantly defended her Sprint gold. Actually sixth is her best ever position in the Total Score but her lack of consistency means to win it would be quite unlikely. Just behind her in seventh was Norway’s new sensation Tiril Echoff. Talk about pressure, taking on Berger’s mantle and the intense scrutiny of the Norwegian press will be a lot to handle for this young lady. They breed them tough in Norway though and she could be up in the Top 3 by the end of March.

In 8th and 9th places were Valj Semerenko and Veronika Vitkova. They had great seasons both finishing with their highest ever placings on the Total Score. They will be dangerous again this time round but may lack the number of podiums required to get to the very top. Outside the Top 11 are more dangers lurking to thwart the favourites. The experience of Teja Gregorin, Vita Semerenko and Olga Zaitseva could prove vital over the season. They may not win overall but they are capable of taking valuable points off the favourites by knocking them off the podium.

Then there is the raft of young talent coming on or back to the scene. Dorothea Wierer had a great season last time out and her double victory in Sjusjoen suggests she will be challenging for more podiums this time around. The young Germans like Dahlmeier, Hildebrand and Preuss will also be in the mix. Miriam Goessner is back from injury and if she has learned to shoot better in her absence she will be a real contender to win a lot of races. Elsewhere Nadezhda Skardino, Juliya Dzhyma and Susan Dunklee were really impressive last time and I am sure will take more points and get better results this season.

So basically I am saying that I have absolutely no idea who is going to win this year’s big Crystal Globe! That is why it is going to be such a great season to watch the women. The favourites have to be Makarainen, Domracheva and Soukalova but only one of these has won it before. I am really looking forward to this season to see whether one of these ladies can win it or if someone will take us by surprise and come from nowhere to claim victory. Anything could happen! I advise you to put all bets on each way because it’s going to be one hell of a season with all these outstanding women Gunning for Glory!!!

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TIMBUR!!!!!(-ke)

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With a name like Tim Burke you might have though he would have pursued a career as a lumberjack! Not so, instead he pursues other biathletes around at 12.5km course! He also seems to like creating a bit of American biathlon history along the way.

Growing up near Lake Placid has probably helped him do it. Tim comes from a place called Paul Smiths (yes I also thought it was a fashion designer!) in New York State which is a small village of around 700 people. Luckily it does get a lot of snow and meant that Tim started cross country skiing when he was a child. He took up biathlon at 13 and has gone on to carve out an outstanding career for himself.

Tim was the first ever American biathlete to wear the yellow bib as the overall World Cup leader. He did this back in 2009 when he had a fantastic start to the season coming 2nd in the Oestersund Individual race. He became only the second U.S biathlete to stand on the second step of the podium following Josh Thompson who did it in the World Championships in 1987. Not satisfied with that Tim went on to exactly match Thompson by winning a silver medal for himself in the World Championships in the Individual Race in Nove Mesto 2013.

In fact he has been second three times now after the Oberhof Mass Start in 2009/10 also saw him finish just behind the winner. He has finished third three times as well the most recent of these coming last season in the Oestersund Sprint and was his best result of the year. In season 2012/13 he came 10th in the Total Score by virtue of having six TOP 5 finishes. Make no mistake these are impressive results for an American biathlete. The only thing missing is his first win which must be one of his goals for this season.

Unfortunately his performances in Sochi were not what he was hoping for. After a strong start to the season he couldn’t sustain it through to Sochi where his top result was 19th in the Sprint. The Americans actually did really well at the Olympics as a team with Lowell Bailey coming a fantastic 8th in the Individual race and Susan Dunklee getting 11th in the Mass Start and 14th in the Sprint. They have the makings of a great Mixed Relay team with Tim, Lowell and Susan putting in such fantastic performances. Tim also has a responsibility to help out and share his experience with the new talent coming through for America like Sean Doherty and Casey Smith.

All in all US biathlon is on the up at the moment and that is in great part down to the likes of Tim. He has really made the other nations sit up and take notice of America in terms of biathlon even if America might not take much notice of its biathletes! If he can reproduce his form from 2012/13 we will be in for an exciting season. He already knows he is capable of getting a medal in the World Championships and will be aiming to go one better in Kontiolahti. He is also a great anchor for the relay team and the Men’s and Mixed teams won’t be far away from the podium. So all the other biathletes better watch out because he is coming to chop you down – TIMBUR!!!!(-ke)

Follow Tim on Twitter: @tb_burke
Like his Facebook page: ‘Tim Burke’
Check out his website: http://timburke.us/


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Kocher: One more round in her maga-Zina?

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It’s not everyone who gets to fulfil their dreams. For example my dream of world domination is not going very well at the moment! My second dream of ruling the world of biathlon has been equally unsuccessful! One person who has been lucky enough to fulfil theirs however is Zina Kocher. After being inspired by the Winter Olympics held in Alberta in 1988 she dreamed of competing for Canada at the Games one day. She has done it 3 times.

Like my dream of ruling the world, becoming a professional athlete who is good enough to be selected to compete for your country is not an easy task. In fact it takes a huge amount not just of talent, but also of motivation and determination. Zina Kocher has all 3 three of these in spades! (I do not!)

Zina has a very animal based background. She was born in Red Deer, Alberta on the 5th of December 1982. At age 7 she joined the Jackrabbit cross country ski program and she also killed a bear when she was three. No wait a minute that was Davy Crocket – easy mistake to make! 😉 She took up biathlon at age 15 and after high school moved to Canmore to train with the Rocky Mountain Racers (who disappointingly seem to have no animal connection at all!)

She made the World Junior Team the first year and the rest is history! She has gone on to compete in 3 Olympic Games including a home one in Vancouver and an incredible 11 World Championships. In season 2006/7 she came third in the Individual Race in Oestersund on the World Cup and became the first Canadian to stand on the podium in over a decade.

The best result she achieved in the Olympics was actually this year in Sochi. She came 25th in the Pursuit race there. The Canadian Women’s relay team finished 8th in Sochi which is a great improvement from 17th in Turin and 15th in Vancouver. Zina was in all of these teams and last season saw the Canadian ladies grab an amazing 4th place finish in the relay in Annecy up against some really strong opposition. Along with Rosanna Crawford, Megan Imrie and Megan Heinicke, Zina has helped make the team one to watch out for next season. Although there is a place up for grabs after Mehan Imrie’s retirement.

It’s not just in the relay that the Canadian ladies help each other out though. In 2009 she was part of a nude fundraising calendar called the Bold, Beautiful, Biathlon calendar along with fellow biathletes Megan Tandy, Sandra Keith, Rosanna Crawford and Megan Imrie. As well as raising funds for the biathletes it was a chance for them to promote the image of a healthy athletic body for young girls. What is also impressive is that at the time Kocher was in fact a fully funded biathlete and did it to help her fellow biathletes.

This season will see Zina take part in her 12th World Championships in Kontiolahti. The Canadian team as a whole had a great last season and they will all be looking for further improvement this time around. Their relay teams have realistic chances of winning medals at the Championships and Zina will provide the experience for them. With 3 Olympic Games under her belt already she will be a great help to the Canadian squad as well as wanting to improve her own performances. I don’t know what her plans for the future are but might she go for another Olympics in Pyeonchang – has Kocher got one more round in her maga-Zina? I hope so! It would be amazing to see her at a 4th Games!

Check out Zina’s website: http://zinakocher.com/
Follow her on Twitter: @ZinaKocher
Like her Facebook Page: ‘Zina Kocher’


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There is a Lind-Störm coming!

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Fredrik Lindström is only 25! Can you believe that? It seems like he has been on the World Cup for ages! He must have started when he was 12 or something! Actually he made his debut at age 19 in Hochfilzen and where he finished 47th in the Sprint race.

Freddie was born on the 24th of July, 1989 in a bread bin. Wait a minute that’s not right! He was born in Bredbyn of course! That’s in the Örnsköldsvik Municipality in Sweden as you all know! It also makes part sense of his Twitter name which is @bredbypajken. As for the rest you will have to ask him. I mean I guess I could have asked him but you need to retain some mystery in your life!

Freddie had great start to last season when he came second in the Sprint race at his home World Cup round in Oestersund. Many, including me, thought that this was a sign of a great year to come but unfortunately it turned out to be his best result of the whole season. After finishing 7th in the Total Score in 2012/13 big things were expected from Mr. Lindström. However after making good progress every year in his career until now he slipped back a little last year and finished only 17th overall with just that one podium to his name.

He has won a race on the World Cup though which as you know is not that easy to do and some older and more experienced athletes than him have not managed it yet. It came back in season 2011/12 in Anholtz where he took victory in the Sprint. Actually he had a lot of great results that season which is why people expect a lot from him because they know what he is capable of.

Freddie has always performed well in the World Championships and has 2 bronze medals to prove it. In Ruhpolding in 2012 he was third in the Mass Start and in 2013 in Nove Mesto he was third in the Individual. He also just missed out on a bronze in the Men’s relay in 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk when the team came in fourth. In fact last year the Swedish Men’s Relay team were on excellent form. They were twice on the podium on the World Cup coming second in Hochfilzen and Antholz and also took two fourth place finishes in Annecy and Ruhpolding. They were tipped to make the podium in Sochi too with such great form but ended up a disappointing 10th.

With the retirement of half of that relay team the pressure will be on Freddie and also Tobias Arwidson to keep up those impressive results. Without the talent and experience of Bergman and Ferry it will be hard to repeat such feats but Sweden has the likes of Peppe Femling and Ted Armgren who will finally get their chance to shine. Freddie is going to have to handle the new pressure of being Sweden’s top male biathlete and a lot will be expected from him from Sweden’s coach Johan Hagström. He will have to set the example for the rest of the team.

So will he be able to use that extra pressure to get back to his best? I think he can. He is a really talented biathlete and for someone so young he has a lot of experience to fall back on. It will be a big year for him as the leader of Team Sweden and he will be looking to add some more podiums and wins to his collection. With the World Championships “next door” in Finland he will have a lot of supporters there and if his past record is anything to go by he should get a bronze medal at the very least! The other biathletes need to keep an eye out for Freddie as I think it could potentially be his best season yet! Beware there is a Lind-Störm coming!

Follow Freddie on Twitter: @bredbypajken
Have a look at his website (in Swedish): http://www.flindstrom.se/


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