Tag Archives: Anais Bescond

Nove Mesto 2020: The Sprints!

It was a very different Nove Mesto which greeted our biathletes for the Sprint races. There are no fans here due to corona virus so the stand are all lying empty. Some people have complained about it but they would complain more if they caught it, sneezed on their grandmother and killed her so we just have to get on with it.

One person who wasn’t complaining was Denise Herrmann. The silence in the stadium helped her hit 10/10 and with her fast skiing no one could beat her in the sprint. Anais Bescond also hit 10/10 to take second place. It was great shooting considering the windy conditions.

Third place went to home favourite and bib23 wearer Marketa Davidova with 9/10. It was a shame for her not having the huge Czech crowd there to cheer for her podium place.

Mari Eder was 4th with her best result for a while, Tiril Eckhoff was 5th despite 2 misses and Hanna Oeberg was 6th with 1 miss. Dorothea Wierer was 24th meaning her lead in the total score is getting smaller!

Elvira Oeberg got her personal best in 8th with 10/10 as did Regina Oja in 20th with 9/10. Fanqi Meng improved ger PB to 38th with 10/10 and Erika Jaenkae got a massive PB in 46th with 9/10.

In the men’s race it was speed that won the day with Johannes Boe hitting 10/10 and winning by nearly 23 seconds! Quentin Fillon Maillet was second also hitting 10/10 but wasn’t fast enough for the win. Third went to Tarjei Boe who also shot the perfect score to complete the Boe-dium!

Home boy Michal Krcmar was 4th and Jakov Fak 5th both with 10/10 and Martin Fourcade was 6th with 1 miss and two broken poles!

Tero Seppala got his personal best in 7th with 10/10. Sturla Laegreid made his World Cup debut for Norway, hit 10/10 and finished 13th! Fangming Cheng got his PB in 16th with 10/10 and another debutant 19-year-old Tommaso Giacomel of Italy hit 10/10 to finish 27th! Said Khalili got his best result so far in 44th despite 2 misses.

Special mention for Jakub Stvrtecky who fell, got caught in the nets at the side of the tracks and had to use the spare rifle but still hit 10/10!

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Antholz 2020: The Single Mixed Relay!

It wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to predict the winner of the single mixed relay! When Norway name Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Johannes Thingnes Boe as their team you know they were after the win and another gold medal.

And that’s exactly what happened – the won and got the gold medal! However it wasn’t the procession that you may have expected, they had to work for this one.

With a tricky wind again in the range it was Hanna Oeberg and Franziska Preuss who took an early lead both hitting 5/5 in the first prone. Roeiseland needed 1 spare which put her behind. She caught up the front two by the stand though and cleaned to tag Norway in the lead. The Swiss were second with Lena Haecki, Sweden third and France fourth with Anais Bescond.

Boe skied away from the chasers but then quickly lost all his lead needing a spare on the prone. That meant Benjamin Weger and Erik Lesser could catch up and leave the range together with Boe. At the stand Boe used 2 spares while Weger and Lesser cleaned. That left the Swiss and Germans ahead with Norway playing catch up.

It didn’t take long for Roeiseland to make up for Boe’s errors and she was with Haecki and Oeberg after the prone shoot. They had been joined by golden girl Dorothea Wierer but not for long. In the stand she would take a penalty loop while Roeiseland, Preuss and Haecki cleaned. Oeberg needed two spares.

Lesser took over in the lead and in the prone both he and Boe cleaned but Weger needed two spares. This meant that clean shooting Sebastian Samuelsson moved into third.

Boe put the pressure on Lesser skiing hard and opening up a gap before the final shoot. He hit all five while Lesser used 1 spare. That was enough to give him a comfortable ski to take the victory. Behind them Samuelsson had to use two spares and that gave Emilien Jacquelin a chance. He hit all five and went on to secure the bronze medal for France behind Germany in silver and Norway in bronze.

Sweden were 4th, Switzerland 5th and Austria 6th.

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Pokljuka 2020: The Mass Starts!

The last day in Pokljuka was for the mass starts and they were worth waiting for! The men got us underway and it was a tight race all the way through.

At the first shoot all the favourites hit 5/5 except Johannes Boe! It didn’t stop him though as he had almost caught the leaders before the second prone.

Again all the top runners went clear including Boe with Quentin Fillon Maillet, Martin Fourcade, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Dale all up front. Missing 1 and dropping back a little were Benedikt Doll, Tarjei Boe and Erlend Bjoentegaard.

At the third shoot it was Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade who both missed a shot which left Boe and Christiansen out front themselves.

However their lead was not too big and the Frenchmen were catching before the final shoot. The two Norwegians missed this time and the two Frenchmen cleaned but Fillon Maillet was faster and left the range with a clear lead. Behind him Benedikt Doll hit 5/5 and was in second but chased hard by Boe, Christiansen and Fourcade.

It was a fantastic final lap with Doll pushing hard all the way. It was cat and mouse behind him with the other three but it would come down to a four way sprint for the podium spots.

In the end Doll held them all off to finish second. Third went to Johannes Boe and Vetle Christiansen nipped in ahead of Fourcade to snatch 5th. There was only 0.8 of a second between the four guys!

It was Fillon Maillet’s second mass start victory after he won the same race in round six last season although it was in Antholz. He thoroughly deserves his first win of the season.

There were two men who shot the perfect 20/20 and they were Simon Eder in 8th and Matvey Eliseev in 11th.

The women raced later and with Tiril Eckhoff already tucked up in bed back in Norway after she got sick the race was wide open.

Denise Herrmann started fast but it didn’t pay off after she missed 1 on the first prone. That left Hanna Oeberg and Justine Braisaz at the head of an 11 stong group of clean shooters.

At the second prone Oeberg hit all 5 again as did Marte Roeiseland and they opened a small gap over Lisa Vittozzi and Kaisa Makarainen.

Oeberg and Roeiseland skied together and shot together and also missed together! Makarainen missed two but Lisa Vittozzi hit all five to take the lead.

The final shoot was decisive with Oeberg shooting fast and accurately to leave the range ahead of Vittozzi who hit all 5 again to make it 20/20. Behind them Anais Bescond emerged out of the chasers hitting 20/20 to move into third.

That was the way it would finish with Oeberg skiing so well that she couldn’t be caught. It was her first win this season and Vittozzi’s first podium of the season. Bescond made it three races in a row on the podium here in Pokljuka.

Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 4th hitting 19/20, Justine Braisaz missed 3 in 5th as did Marte Roeiseland in 6th.

Now we have a short break before the first race of the World Champinships begins in Antholz on the 13th of February but don’t forget the Youth/Junior World Champs is on now and the IBU Cup continues too.

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Pokljuka 2020: The Individuals!

The final round of the World Cup before World Champs got underway in Pokljuka on Thursday. The men’s individual was the race and the tracks are slightly different this year. I guess they had to make them harder for the World Champs next year!

It was business as usual for Johannes Boe after coming back after the birth of his first son Gustav. He shot 20/20 and as we know if he doesn’t miss a shot he wins! It was like he has never been away!

Second place went to Martin Fourcade who also shot the perfect score but isn’t fast enough to challenge Johannes on the skis. He finished 11 seconds behind the Norwegian.

In third place was Fabien Claude who also hit 20/20 to achieve his first World Cup podium and a new personal best. It’s actually a remarkable performance after the news that his father, is missing after his snowmobile crashed through ice on a frozen lake in Canada.

Philipp Nawrath also hit all the targets finshing fourth to collect his personal best. Johannes Dale was 5th with one miss and Uncle Tarjei was 6th also with 19/20.

The only other man to hit 20/20 was Kirill Streltsov. If you follow the juniors you will recognise the name and the talent! Coming 17th on your World Cup debut is pretty good! Jinle Tang and Simon Bartko also got their best results so far in 43rd and 44th.

On Friday the women raced in sunny conditions and this time a Norwegian didn’t win the race or even get on the podium! It was Denise Herrmann who took her first win in the individual shooting 20/20 for the first time in this race. Hanna Oeberg was second despite missing a target so she must be on incredible ski form finishing just under a minute behind Herrmann.

Third place went to Anais Bescond who hit 20/20 for her first podium of the season. Lisa Vittozzi hit 20/20 to take 4th which is good news for her with the home World Champs coming up soon. Franziska Preuss was 5th also hitting all the targets and Clare Egan was 6th with the perfect shoot to claim her best ever finish in an individual race.

Tiril Eckhoff missed 3 targets to finish 18th and Dorothea Wierer missed 4 to finish 23rd.

Aita Gasparin took a personal best in 9th with 19/20 as did Christina Rieder in 21st with a perfect shoot. Belgium’s Lotte Lie was 53rd on her World Cup debut hitting 20/20 and Irina Starykh was the only other women to hit 20/20 in 8th place.

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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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Aidan Millar: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Aidan Millar.

Aidan Millar is a Canadian biathlete from Canmore. He was born on the 1st of December 1995. His career best result came last season in Soldier Hollow where he finished 20th in the Sprint in his first season as a World Cup athlete.

You can follow Aidan on Instagram.

Why did you become a biathlete?

I grew up skiing from a young age and when I was 9 I got to try biathlon for the first time. At the beginning I definitely liked the shooting way more but now I would say I prefer the skiing.

Your best result came last season, 20th place in the Men’s Sprint in Soldier Hollow. Tell us about the race.

Having raced three World Cups and not been able to put together a great race I was just focusing on executing what I could and not worrying about the result. I just paced my skiing well which was important with the altitude and a challenging course. With it being a windy day hitting targets was very important and I was very focused and was able to knock them all down. Up until the last shooting I knew I was having a good one but didn’t know how good until one of our techs told me I was close to a top ten. The last lap I gave everything I had, unfortunately I slipped down the order a bit but was still stoked with the result.

What was it like getting to compete at a home World Cup in Canmore?

It was an amazing experience. At the start of the season I didn’t think at all that I would get that chance. So to somewhat unexpectedly get the chance to race at home in front of friends and family was very special.

How do you assess last season overall? Were you happy with it? Was there anything you were disappointed with?

Last season went really well. I saw big improvements in both skiing and shooting and an improvement in consistency. Most of my goals were around the IBU Cup so to be able to accomplish those and get a chance on the World Cup was sweet. Initially I was disappointed with my shooting on the World Cup so I’d like to see that improve for this coming season.

There have been big changes in the men’s team this season with retirements and a change of coach. How has that affected you?

Everything is new to me as this is my first year on the team but so far things have been going well. We have good team dynamics with everyone getting along well. The coaches are great and already I’ve seen some good improvements.

I read that you have had some issues with concussions. Has that affected your biathlon career?

There was a period of about 4 years where I missed 1-3 months a year of training due to concussions. I was never really able to build a good base for training so my ski speed and stamina suffered. Now with 2 really good years of training I feel like I’m back on track and heading towards where I want to be.

What are your plans for summer training?

This summer we will be mostly training in Canmore taking advantage of all the great training opportunities in the area. At some point in August we will have an intensity block at lower altitude and mostly likely a fall camp in Whistler.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I would say my biggest strength would be my downhill technique. I find I can usually make up time there. My biggest weakness is probably the consistency in my shooting.

What are your goals for this season?

This year I’d like to be consistently in the top 40 on the World Cup with maybe another top 20.

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

My favourite track would probably be Antholz. The downhills are twisty and not just straight, the climbs aren’t ridiculously steep and the views aren’t too bad either.

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

When I was younger I watched Emil Hegle Svendsen and Simon Schempp a lot. They were both at the top so I tried to learn from what they were doing.

Does your rifle have a name?

Unfortunately not.

Describe yourself in three words.

Disciplined, Introverted, Jokester

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Aita Gasparin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Russia World Championships
Favourite shooting range: Obertilliach
Lucky bib number: Don’t have one
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Scott Gow
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Anais Bescond
Best thing about being a biathlete: You get to do what you love while travelling the world.

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Pursuits!

Well, well, well someone knows how to finish their career in style! Anastasiya Kuzmina was untouchable in the pursuit making it look easy!!! What a performance! She shot 20/20 and won the race by 1 minute and 42 seconds. She has one race left, the mass start, and who would bet against her winning that one too.

Luckily we had a bit of action behind Kuzmina. It was Franziska Pruess and Celia Aymonier who were chasing her after the first prone but teammate Paulina Fialkova missed 2 to put her out of the running.

However on the second prone both Preuss and Aymonier missed and so it was left to the Swedes Elisabeth Hoegberg and Linn Persson to take up the chase in second and third after going 10/10 in the prone. They were followed closely by Tiril Eckhoff, Denise Herrmann and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Herrmann and Persson celaned on the first stand to take second and third. Another Swede Hanna Oberg moved into 4th just ahead of Clare Egan, Eckhoff and Hoegberg.

As usual it was shoot 4 that decided the places. Herrmann, Persson and Oberg all missed 1 while Egan and Eckhoff missed 2 and Hoegberg missed 3. Roeiseland cleaned.

In the end it was Herrmann who kept second place with Hanna Oberg third. Persson was beaten in a sprint finish by Roeiseland who took 4th but it was still a personal best for Persson in 5th. Eckhoff was 6th.

Elsewhere Kaisa Makarainen went from 32nd to 8th and Anais Bescond from 52nd to 25th. Thelka Brun-Lie got a PB in 23rd as did Janina Hettich in 32nd.

Dorothea Wierer was 12th and so won the crystal globe for the pursuit and further extended her lead in the total score.

LEGEND ALERT! History was made in the men’s race with Johannes Thingnes Boe winning his 15th race of the season! He broke the previous record of 14 for most wins in a single season. It also won him the pursuit crystal globe. Amazing!

He started the race well cleaning the first prone and looked comfortable out front. He was followed by Lukas Hofer, Bendikt Doll and big brother Tarjei. To make it exciting Johannes missed 2 in the second prone but Tarjei and Hofer cleaned and so reduced his lead significantly. Behind them came Arnd Peiffer, Vetle Christiansen and Felix Leitner.

At the first standing shoot Johannes cleaned and so did Tarjei. Leitner moved into third after hitting 15/15. At the final shoot both brothers missed 1 and went on to finish in first and second for another Boe-dium! Leitner and Peiffer cleaned.

Unfortunately Peiffer was stronger on the tracks than Leitner and he took third but it was still a personal best for the Austrian youngster in 4th. Christiansen was 5th and Hofer 6th.

Sean Doherty went from 32nd to 11th, Lucas Fratzscher went from 31st to 15th for a PB and Andrejs Rastogujevs went from 49th to 21st.

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