Tag Archives: Anais Bescond

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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Canmore 2019: The Relays!

Freezing cold and windy, Simon Fourcade looking like a ninja, Evgeniy Garanichev looking like he was on his summer holidays and Michael Rosch flying all the way to Canada to race and getting lapped – the men’s relay ladies and gentlemen!!!

That’s right when everyone is taped literally everywhere (Susan Dunklee even did her toes!) and wrapped up as much as possible, Tyumen resident Evgeniy Garanichev made no adjustments to his normal attire! He took the first leg for Russia and was leading until his standing shoot when ironically he froze!! It took him ages to hit all 5 targets needing all 3 spares and handing Antonin Guiggonat the lead ahead of Lars Hegle Birkeland.

It proved to be a fight between France and Norway until the end. Vetle Christiansen got the better of Emilien Jacquelin on leg two despite the Frenchman using 1 spare to the Norwegians 2. The third leg saw a fantastic race from biathlon ninja (black face tape!) Simon Fourcade using 1 spare to Erlend Bjoentegaard’s 3. However the Norwegian got the better of the French thanks to their faster skiing and gave Johannes Boe a nice lead to take into the final leg.

Of course he smashed it hitting 10/10 and cruised to victory by over a minute from Quentin Fillon Maillet. Russia held on for third with Eduard Latypov, Alexander Loginov and Alexander Povarnitsyn along with Garanichev using 9 spares.

Austria had the chance to go for a podium but on the final leg Julian Eberhard had a nightmare with 3 penalty loops letting Germany into 4th. Austria were 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

Home team Canada were 10th but after the first two legs from the Gow brothers they were in 4th which is a good sign for the future.

The women’s relay was another good one. Italy as usual started well with Lisa Vittozzi on the first leg shooting clean and taking the lead. Emilie Kalkenberg had a tough leg for Norway with 2 penalty loops. Vanessa Hinz and Anais Chevalier did well as did Estonia’s Regina Oja.

Nicole Gontier had a great second leg for Italy only needing one spare and maintained the lead. Justine Braisaz and Franziska Hildebrand kept their teams in it with good legs too. Ingrid Tandrevold started Norway’s comeback with a great leg using only 1 spare.

On the third leg Dorothea Wierer had a lead over Anais Bescond and Denise Herrmann. However after using 2 spares on the stand she left the range with a 26 second lead which incredibly Herrmann made up and passed her to put Germany in the lead with Dahlmeier on the last leg. Tiril Eckhoff put Norway back into contention with just 1 spare needed from her.

At the first prone Dahlmeier need 2 spares but left the range before Sanfilippo got her first shot away. Julia Simon had problems using all 3 spares. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland had no issues hitting all 5 and moving into third behind Italy.

The wind had a massive influence on the final stand. Dahlmeier went on the penalty loop but still came out in the lead after the others also had issues having to shoot carefully. Sanfilippo also went on the penalty loop. Julia Simon came out best moving from second to fourth and Roeiseland stayed in third.

Dahlmeier skied home for first place but unfortunately for Simon she couldn’t hold off Roeiseland who overtook her to give Norway second with France getting third.

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


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Ruhpolding 2019: The Relays!

Tissues! I need tissues! Michael Roesch raced for the final time in Ruhpolding. He is loved by everyone – the fans and his fellow biathletes mainly for his sense of humour and being such a nice guy. He will be sorely missed by the biathlon family!

Back to the race and what do we know about the men’s relay in Ruhpolding? That’s right Norway always win! So of course Norway won! With a team of Lars Helge Birkeland, Vetle Christiansen, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Boe they got their fifth win in a row here.

It was a tight race however. Mr Roesch finished on a high shooting clean on the first leg for Belgium. Six teams came to the first exchange together- Ukraine, France, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic and Germany.

Christiansen put Norway in the lead using one spare and Martin Fourcade handed over in second place. Tarjei Boe needed two spares in the standing which let France, Germany and Austria catch up to the leaders.

Tarjei handed over to Johannes with a tiny lead of under a second. He was neck and neck with Benedikt Doll but took the lead after the prone. However he needed 3 spares in the stand to Doll’s 1 and so they left the range together.

Behind these two it was a battle between Simon Desthieux and Julian Eberhard for third place. Johannes attacked on the steep uphill and pulled away from Doll to give Norway the victory. Norway used 8 spares in total.

The German team were second with Roman Rees, Johannes Kuehn, Arnd Peiffer and Doll using 6 spares. There was a sprint finish for third with Desthieux coming out on top. The French team of Emilien Jacquelin, Fourcade, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Desthieux used 9 spares.

Austria were 4th, Russia 5th and Sweden 6th. Roesch’s Belgian team finished 19th.

The women’s relay was on Saturday and what do we know about the women’s relay in Rupholding? France haven’t won here for ages. So obviously France won! The team of Julia Simon, Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier used only 4 spares to take the victory for the first time here in 25 years.

Unsurprisingly Italy took an early lead with Dorothea Wierer shooting clean. However Simon was right with her after hitting 10/10 and Norway’s Synnoeve Solemdal did the same in third.

Anais Bescond was steady on the second leg using 1 spare and handed over to Braisaz ahead of Italy and Slovakia who moved up after a great leg from Paulina Fialkova.

Braisaz used 2 spares but was fast enough to complete both shoots before the others had fired a round. Tiril Eckhoff had a super leg moving Norway into second and Preuss brought Germany into it handing over in third.

That was how the race finished with neither Marte Olsbu Roeiseland nor Denise Herrmann able to catch Anais Chevalier. One spare was the difference between second and third with 2 spares needed by Norway and 3 by Germany on the last standing.

Sweden were 4th, Russia 5th and Slovakia 6th with Kuzmina moving them up from 16th on the final leg.

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Ruhpolding 2019: The Sprints!

What has the world come to when snow stops winter sport!!! The men’s sprint was cancelled on Wednesday and moved to Thursday because of all the snow in the region blocking roads and generally getting in the way! Seriously it was a good decision as safety has to come first.

So Thursday was a lovely sunny winters day with great conditions for biathlon. The men finally got to race and we got another Boe-dium! Johannes Boe won yet another sprint beating his brother by 8 seconds. It was pretty harsh on Tarjei really as he shot clean and Johannes missed a target. Talk about an annoying little brother. Johannes is skiing phenomenally well just now and is very tough to beat.

Third place went to Benni Doll which pleased the home crowd. He also missed one target. Shooting clean in 4th was Martin Fourcade. I remember the days when he shot clean he was unbeatable. I mean I should remember it was just last season! Alexander Loginov was 5th and Lukas Hofer was 6th both hitting 9/10.

Jake Brown from the USA had a great race shooting 10/10 finishing in 47th for a personal best.

The women’s race was won by my nemesis – bib24! I hate that bib! I love the lady who was wearing it though Anastasiya Kuzmina. It was a great performance from her hitting the perfect ten and winning by 11.5 seconds. Lisa Vittozzi was second shooting 10/10 continuing her amazing season. Third place went to Hanna Oberg who also hit all the targets.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th with 1 miss, Anais Bescond was 5th with 10/10 and Dorothea Wierer was 6th with 9/10. Laura Dahlmeier returned in good form after missing Oberhof shooting clean to finish 9th.

There were quite a few personal bests from the women. Elena Kruchinkina from Belarus was 23rd, Tuuli Tomingas was 31st, Anastasiia Morozova 32nd, Hanna Sola 34th, Caroline Colombo 46th and Larisa Kuklina was 48th making her individual debut after an amazing leg for the Russian relay team in Oberhof.

Weirdly there is no pursuit in Ruhpolding so we move on to the men’s relay on Friday, the women’s relay on Saturday and the mass starts on Sunday.

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Oberhof 2019: The Pursuits!

Wins are like buses. You wait ages for one and then two come along at once. That was the way for Lisa Vittozzi who added the pursuit title to the sprint from Thursday. She performed well in the windy conditions to keep the lead from start to finish despite missing two targets. However most of the field missed more so she held the lead.

Anastasiya Kuzmina worked her way up to 2nd from 7th but with 4 misses didn’t have enough to catch Vittozzi on the skis. Anais Chevalier was third with 5 misses.

Dorothea Wierer had a strange old race. She moved from 24th to 5th but managed to fall along with Anais Bescond while taking a drink on the downhill. Bescond took her revenge however just pipping Wierer on the line to take 4th.

Franziska Preuss had an amazing race going from 45th to 6th. Kaisa Makarainen made up 20 places to finish 22nd.

That leaves Wierer still in the Overall lead by 42 points from Vittozzi who moves into second place.

The men had even tougher conditions with heavy and wet snow coming down. It made for a fun race though except for Dominik Windisch who had a crash and snapped his skis!

It went down to the final shooting with Johannes Boe vs. Martin Fourcade. Just like old times! This time Johannes came out on top with a fast shooting Fourcade missing 2 shots to Boe’s 1. It was Boe’s first win in Oberhof.

It also cost him a podium as Arnd Peiffer and Lukas Hofer both shot clean and worked together to keep Fourcade in 4th place on the final loop. It came down to a sprint finish for 2nd and 3rd and Peiffer came out on top. Loginov was 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th.

Simon Fourcade, making a welcome return to the World Cup, had a great race. He started in 46th and finished in 16th with 1 miss. Maxim Tsvetkov went from 56th to 24th also hitting 19/20.

Johannes now has a lead of 130 points ahead of Loginov with Martin Fourcade up to third but a massive 200 points behind Boe.

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