PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Men’s Sprint!

This race summed up why we love biathlon! In a cold and windy PyeongChang the favourites crumbled and the steady guys won!

The Sprint race tends to throw up some surprises and it did just that. Arnd Peiffer took the gold medal with a faultless display in tricky conditions. He shot clean which was the key and thoroughly deserved the victory.

Michal Krcmar also hit 10/10 to take the silver medal for the Czech team. He finished 4.4 seconds behind Peiffer. Third place went to Dominik Windisch who gave everything on his final loop after missing 1 shot to take the bronze medal. He was just 0.7 of a second in front of Julian Eberhard who was 4th.

The best Norwegian was Erlend Bjoentegaard in 5th with Sprint World Champion Benedikt Doll in 6th. The two who everyone thought would be fighting for gold and silver, Martin Fourcade and Johannes Boe, both had a nightmare missing 3 targets on the prone! Fourcade eventually finished 8th with Boe in 31st.

There were another two men who shot the perfect 10/10 after Peiffer and Krcmar and they were Olli Hiidensalo in 19th, his personal best, and Dmytro Pidruchnyi in 21st.

There were more impressive personal bests from Tomas Kaukenas in 17th, Tero Seppala in 20th, Anton Smolski in 35th and Roman Yeremin in 43rd.

Congratulations to the medallists but expect a great race tomorrow in the Pursuit and watch out for a couple of angry guys coming from the back!!!

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Sprint!

The 23rd Winter Olympics finally got underway in PyeongChang today with the Women’s Sprint. The conditions were tough with cold temperatures and an ever changing wind. It was a hard day at the office for the ladies.

Lucky for a Miss L. Dahlmeier not only is she an amazing biathlete but had the fortune to be wearing bib23. That could only mean one thing- her first ever Olympic gold medal!!!

What a race from the German! She was the only one of the favourites to hold her nerve in the shooting range hitting 10/10 and skiing to victory by 24 seconds. She cleaned the prone without too much difficulty but on the stand she waited on shot four to make sure it went down. Amazing mental toughness!

The other big names couldn’t do the same with Domracheva missing 2 and Kuzmina and Makarainen both missing 3. That left two podium spots available and it was Marte Olsbu who swooped to win silver. The Norwegian surprised everyone by getting her best ever result here. She missed just 1 shot on the prone and skied strongly to grab a medal. The bronze went to Veronika Vitkova who also missed 1 but this time in the stand.

Marie Dorin Habert was back on form in 4th, Vanessa Hinz was 5th and Lisa Vittozzi 6th.

Two other women shot clean the Russian (you can call her an OAR if you want!) Tatiana Akimova and Austria’s Dunja Zdouc.

Achieving your personal best at an Olympics is quite an amazing thing to do so well done to not only Olsbu but also Irene Cadurisch in 8th, Marketa Davidova in 15th, Johanna Taliherm in 22nd and Emily Dreissigacker in 51st.

The Pursuit is next for the women on Monday. Dahlmeier has a good lead but anything can happen in biathlon!!!

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Junior European Championships: Pokljuka 2018!

This year’s Junior European Championships took place in Pokljuka. The opposite to the senior Championships last week we started with the Relays.

The Single Mixed was first and made it’s debut in this competition. The gold medal winners were Finland! The team of Jenni Keranen and Jaakko Ranta saw off all the challengers using just 8 spares between them. The silver medal went to home team Slovenia with Urska Poje and Anton Vidmar needing 11 spares. The bronze medal went to Belarus even though Volka Haurylkina and Dzmitry Lazouski went on the penalty loop twice! The favourites France were disqualified for using too many spares on the final shoot.

The Mixed Relay was later and the gold medal went to Russia. They had a strong team of Polina Shevnina, Valeriia Vasnetcova, Vasilii Tomshin and Igor Malinovskii. They only used 7 spares to win by over 2 minutes. The silver went to Italy whose team of Irene Lardschneider, Eleonora Fauner, Patrick Braunhofer and Daniele Cappellari needed only 5 spares. The bronze was taken by Poland with Natalia Tomaszewska, Joanna Jakiela, Przemyslaw Pancerz and Marchin Szwajnos who used 8 spares altogether.

The snow arrived on Thursday for the Individual races. The men raced first and Russia continued their success with gold and silver. Said Khalili took the gold by over a minute from teammate Vasilli Tomshin even though both missed just 1 target each. The bronze medal went to Vitezslav Hornig from the Czech Republic who shot 20/20.

The women’s race was won by Austria’s Tamara Steiner who shot the perfect score. Silver went to Switzerland’s Amy Baserga who also hit all 20 and bronze went to Valeriia Vasnetcova of Russia despite missing 4 targets.

The Sprint races were rescheduled for Saturday because of, wait for it, too much snow!!! Pokljuka has had a lot and it also continued on race day but they were able to go ahead. The men went first and Russia’s Igor Malinovskii took the win shooting 9/10. The silver medal went to his teammate Said Khalili who also shot 9/10 but was 3.7 seconds behind the winner. The bronze medal went to Bogdan Tsymbal from the Ukraine with clean shooting.

The women’s race also went to Russia, surprise surprise! Valeriia Vasnetcova took the gold with 1 miss. Her teammate Polina Shevnina got the silver also with 9/10 but was 20 seconds back. The bronze was won by France’s Sophie Chauveau who missed twice but skied well to grab the final podium position.

The final day of races were the Pursuits on Sunday. For the men Igor Malinovskii held on to his lead from the Sprint to take gold again. Despite missing 3 targets he pipped Bogdan Tsymbal by just over a second. Tsymbal took the silver shooting 19/20 and third place went to France’s Martin Perrillat Bottonet who missed 2 shots but moved up from 7th to win bronze.

In the women’s race the leader Vasnetcova missed 8 targets leaving the door wide open for the others. Shevnina took full advantage and shooting 17/20 was enough for her to take the gold medal. Silver went to Sweden’s Elvira Oberg who came from 9th missing 1 shot to grab second place. Sophie Chauveau maintained third place and took the bronze again despite missing 4 targets.

That concludes the Championships. The next races for the Juniors is the Youth/Junior World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia on the 26th of February.

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Ridnaun 2018: Open European Championships!

This season’s Open European Championships took place in Ridnaun, Italy from the 24th to the 28th of January. The first races were on Wednesday when we had the Individuals.

The men were first to race in sunny, calm conditions. Felix Leitner won his first senior medal at aged 21 by hitting 19/20 targets and winning by 43 seconds. A very impressive performance from the young Austrian. The silver went to Tomas Krupcik of the Czech Republic who also hit 19/20. In third place was Germany’s Philipp Horn who also just missed 1 shot. Only two men hit the perfect 20/20, Yury Shopin in 9th and Fredrik Roervik in 20th.

The women raced later but with the same conditions. This time France won gold with Chloe Chevalier. She hit 19/20 and won by almost 48 seconds. She had a fantastic ski time as silver medallist Alexia Runggaldier and bronze medallist Victoria Slivko both hit 20/20. Two other women also hit the perfect score, Nadine Horchler in 7th and Sigrid Neraasen in 15th.

After a day off on Thursday we had the Sprint races on Friday. It was a bit clouder and wetter and made conditions a little trickier. It was Andrejs Rastorgujevs who came away with the gold medal in the men’s race. Despite missing 1 target his skiing took him to the top step of the podium by 5.5 seconds. The silver medal went to Alexander Loginov just like it did last year. He shot clean as did Krasimir Anev who also repeated his result from last season taking the bronze.

In the women’s race it was the Ukraine’s Iryna Varvynets who came out on top. She took the gold with clean shooting by 12.5 seconds from Chloe Chevalier in second. Chevalier missed one target which prevented her from claiming her second gold medal here. Third place went to Japan’s Fuyuko Tachizaki. She also shot 10/10 to make history for Japan. She is the first Japanese biathlete to win an international medal.

Both pursuits were on Saturday and with Sprint victor Andrejs Rastorgujevs deciding not to race, along with another 13 biathletes who didn’t start, it left Loginov to start the race. He never gave up the lead. He missed 2 targets but still won by 27 seconds from Anev who hit 20/20. The bronze medal went to Evgeniy Garanichev who went from 19th to 3rd despite 3 misses.

In the women’s race, where there were 15 non starters, Chloe Chevalier claimed gold once again. She shot clean to overtake Iryna Varvynets and win by 11 seconds. Varvynets took the silver with 19/20 and Julia Simon also with 1 miss moved from 29th to 3rd to take the bronze medal.

The final day was reserved for the Relays. First we had the Single Mixed Relay. It was a close affair between the top three teams with Norway coming out on top. Their team of Thekla Brun-Lie and Vetle Christiansen used just six spares to take the gold. They passed the early leaders France with better shooting. Julia Simon and Emilien Jacquelin needed 11 spares. The bronze medal went to the USA who sneaked in a team of Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey who only competed in this event and none of the individual races.

The last race was the Mixed Relay and this time it was the good shooting of Ukraine that saw them win the gold medal. The team of Yuliia Zhurakov, Iryna Varvynets, Artem Pryma and Dmytro Pidruchnyi used 6 spares to beat Russia by 12 seconds. Victoria Slivko, Anastasia Zagoruiko, Evgeniy Garanichev and Alexander Loginov needed 9 spares to take the silver medal. Norway were third with Emilie Kalkenberg, Kaia Nicolaisen, Haavard Bogetveit and Fredrik Gjesbakk using 4 spares to win bronze.

Those results left France at the top of the medal table with 5 in total followed by Russia with 4 and the Ukraine with 2. It was a very good Championships for Chloe Chevalier who was the star performer with 2 gold medals and 1 silver.

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THE OLYMPICKS!!!

So spelling isn’t my strong point, OK! 😉 The Olympics are coming up soon and so I have come up with a snazzy title for a little competition that will be running on my blog for the duration of the Games.

Some of you may remember at the World Championships I asked you to send me your predictions for the gold, silver and bronze medallists from each race. The winners received the “Retweet of Glory” and were afforded the title of “Biathlon Genius” for the day.

Well for the PyeongChang Olympics I am doing something similar. Well actually it’s exactly the same but with a better prize! More on the prize later first to the rules!

For each race you can ‘pick’ and submit your three choices for the medal winners via Facebook, Twitter or you can email them to biathlon23@gmail.com.

eg. Men’s Sprint : Gold – Martin Fourcade , Silver – Emil Svendsen , Bronze – Benedikt Doll
OR Women’s Relay : Gold – Germany, Silver – Ukraine, Bronze – France

You will receive 3 points if you guess the gold medallist correctly, 2 for the silver and 1 for the bronze. If you pick the biathlete in bib23 and they make the podium you will get double points. So for example if bib23 wins gold you get 6 points, 4 for silver and 2 for bronze.

The person with the most points at the end of the Olympics wins. Simple! Unless of course everyone has the same points – then I am in trouble! 😉

Entries must be received before the start of each race. Any entries after the start of the race will not count and you will be judged to be a rotten cheat!!!

The competition is open to everyone including biathletes, coaches, wax techs (although they might all be a bit busy), journalists, fellow bloggers and most importantly my readers who are the best people in the world! 🙂

So now to the prize. As I am a blogger there is no money or any kind of physical prize involved. Sorry but I have yet to gain a host of eager sponsors. If you are an avid reader of my blog however you may be happy enough with my offering.

The winner of the Olympicks gets control of their own or an existing Biathlon23 Award! That’s right you get the chance to invent your own award, subject to Biathlon23 approval of course, or select for example ‘Best Facial Hair’ and write the nominations, choose the winner and award your very own award!

It will be awarded in your name and be read by literally tens of people! OK maybe more like hundreds! It’s quite popular if I do say so myself! 😉

So what are you waiting for?! Get studying the form and make your OLYMPICKS!

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Antholz 2018: The Mass Starts!

Can you believe the Mass Starts in Antholz on Sunday were the last World Cup races before the Winter Olympics!!! Where has this season gone?!

We had two more good races to watch before we all look towards South Korea. The women went first and conditions had changed overnight. No more lovely sun but a whole lot of snow!

The first shoot didn’t really tell us much about the race as half of the field cleared the first prone. Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann were a little quicker on the range than the others and took an early lead in the second loop.

At the second shoot Wierer cleared again but Herrmann missed two. It was now Kaisa Makarainen, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht and Valj Semerenko who took up the chase after the Italian.

Wierer cleared again at shoot three to maintain her lead. Kaisa missed 2 but Anastasiya Kuzmina had now entered the picture hitting five with Vanessa Hinz, Franziska Preuss and Semerenko following her after they had hit 15/15.

Making up ground from behind after an early penalty was Darya Domracheva. At the final stand Wierer missed 2 targets and all the others missed 1 to leave the door open for the chasers. It was Dasha who took the opportunity hitting 5/5 to lead out of the range. Kuzmina was a few seconds behind her but Dasha made a decisive break and never looked back.

It was her first win of the season and she is looking on great form for the Olympics. Could she do a double treble in the style of Usain Bolt? It’s looking possible now!

Kuzmina held on for second with Kaisa Makarainen hunting almost everyone down with her ski speed to finish third.

Marte Olsbu was 4th, Laura Dahlmeier 5th and Maren Hammerschmidt 6th.

The men’s race avoided the snowfall but still had heavy tracks to ski on. Martin Fourcade and Johannes Boe started out in front but Johannes missed 2 at the first shoot and Martin cleaned. His teammate Simon Desthieux left the range first followed by Fourcade and Anton Shipulin.

At the second shoot both Martin and Anton missed 1 target which let the clean shooting Arnd Peiffer and Emil Svendsen take over the lead. It didn’t last though as at shoot three Emil missed 2 and Arnd 3!! Of course Fourcade shot clean and raced into the lead.

By now it was Tarjei Boe who was behind Fourcade but he had a group of five chasing him for second place. The last shoot saw Martin miss a target but none of the chasers managed to clean so he was free to ski to victory.

That left Tarjei and teammate Erlend Bjoentegaard to fight it out for second. They both went on the penalty loop but it was Tarjei who was faster on the skis and took second place. Third was Bjoentegaard’s first World Cup podium and he has rediscovered his early season form.

Benedikt Doll was 4th, Johannes Kuehn was 5th which was his career best finish and Johannes Boe was 6th after missing 5 targets!

The World Cup takes a break until March for the Olympics with Kaisa Makarainen in the yellow bib just 15 points ahead of Anastasiya Kuzmina. Martin Fourcade stays in yellow for the men with a 54 points lead over Johannes Boe.

Next race is on the 10th of February! The Women’s Olympic Sprint!!!!
(That’s if you don’t count the Open European Championships, 2 Para-nordic World Cups, IBU Cup 6, Junior Cup 3 and the Junior European Championships!) 😉


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Antholz 2018: The Pursuits!

Sunny Saturday in Antholz hosted both the Pursuit races. The women were first and treated us to another good race.

It was quite a tight race up to the final shoot. Eckhoff and Dahlmeier started first and second but both missed on the first prone to let Darya Domracheva and Anais Bescond catch up with them after they both shot clear.

At the second prone Dasha and Tiril missed and Laura and Anais shot clean giving them the lead. By this time Dorothea Wierer was also coming into the picture after starting 7th.

At the third shoot Bescond missed 2 and was out of the picture. However Laura, Dasha and Tiril hit all five. Wierer missed 1 and headed to the penatly loop.

So it was all to come down to the last shoot, just the way we like it! This time it was Laura who held her nerve and hit all 5 to take a comfortable lead and the victory. Dasha missed 1 and Tiril 2. This gave Wierer her chance hitting the final 5. It would be a ski race for second. Dasha was holding on but in an accidental clash on one of the final turns Dasha knocked Doro’s pole out of her hand and so decided not to contest the finish leaving Wierer to claim second.

It showed outstanding sportswomanship and was very fair from Domracheva. Eckhoff stayed in 4th with Kaisa Makarainen storming into 5th from a start of 26th with 2 misses. Galina Vishnevskaya, despite her team being raided by Austrian police in the morning, shot clean and went from 14th to 6th.

There were other good performances from Lisa Vittozzi who went from 40th to 9th with 1 miss, Maren Hammerschmidt who missed 4 but moved from 49th to 24th and Synnoeve Solemdal who went from 53rd to 29th with 3 misses. Apart from Vishnevskaya two other women shot 20/20 and they were Alexia Runggaldier and Kaia Nicolaisen.

The men raced next and it was an altogether different race. Actually no it wasn’t, it was exactly the same as the Pursuit race in Annecy. Johannes Boe started with a lead of around 12 seconds and finished the race with a lead of around a minute. Johannes was incredible shooting 20/20 and cruising to victory.

It helped that Martin missed on the very first prone to give him a more comfortable cushion early on but he looked unbeatable today.

Martin held on to second hitting 19/20. Antholz Shipulin obviously had to move up on to the podium as he usually does here. He managed to pass Peiffer who went down 1 place to 4th.

There real show behind Boe came from his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen. He started in 32nd place but shot 20/20 and moved all the way up to 5th. Emilien Jacquelin was again impressive missing just 2 shots to finish in 6th.

The Norwegians had a great time today with Erlend Bjoentegaard moving from 36th to 11th with 2 misses and L’Abee Lund went from 38th to 23rd. Dominik Landertinger went from 49th to 22nd, Michal Slesingr from 55th to 24th and Michael Roesch from 40th to 26th.

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