Tag Archives: Biathlete

The Biathlon23 Awards 2019/2020!

Hello and welcome to the 7th annual Biathlon23 awards. The alternative awards for biathlon which represent the important things in the sport with best facial hair, best earrings and best ski suit among the most prestigious and most sought after awards. To be honest it has been a bit of a struggle writing these this season in the light of world events but if they can even just make you crack a small smile all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair will have been worth it! (To be fair the pulling out of hair is the only way I can get it shorter with no trips to the hairdresser allowed!)

The awards are of course subject to a rigorous system used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree! 🙂

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
Paulina Fialkova was not the most popular interview on my blog this season! Just the second most popular even though it is now a few years old! This season’s winner was a slow burner that picked up a lot of interest a little while after it was published. It belongs to a biathlon renegade! From the naked lady on her rifle to her super cool middle name from her maths genius (!) to her hilarious instagram ramblings – what’s not to like!

Winner: Joanne Reid


Strangest search on the blog:

I love people! I love them because they are strange! Here is a selection of some of the strangest searches on the blog this season! I get a lot about gossip, boyfriends/girlfriends of biathletes and people looking for nude pictures! Sorry wrong blog for all that but there is always some gold in between! For example:

‘dorothea wierer speaking german’ Yes she does and Italian and English! Is there no end to her talents?
‘dorothea wierer jeans’ I don’t think the super fashionista and helicopter traveller would be seen in jeans these days! 😉
‘tuuli tomingas prize money’ If you want to know how much money she has Mr and Mrs Tomingas just ask her!
‘petra fialkova biathlon’ My favourite of the Fialkova sisters!
‘laura dahlmeier biathlon where she been’ Great question! Wasting her time by not being a biathlete anymore!
‘when did hanna oberg begin her youtube career’ Hey Oberg stick to biathlon! Leave the vlogging and blogging to others please! 😉
‘biathlon and drugs’ What you do at the weekend is your own business!
‘what is a super sprint in biathlon’ Exactly! All I know is it’s a sprint and it’s super!
‘benjamin weger career end’ Fear not he only ended the season early. Do you get the feeling he knew something we didn’t!

Winner: ‘scottish biathlete mike dixon best result’ – I believe it was getting a sweet job as biathlon commentator on Eurosport! Or as I like to call it – my job!

Best Facial Hair:
It looks like I am going to have to give this award to the same person in perpetuity! I mean nobody else has made much facial hair effort this season. Are beards out now? Are we back to clean shaven? Anyway nobody can beat this guy. Imagine the effort it takes to comb and wax that moustache everyday to look like D’Artagnan?

Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There were some good earrings around this season but they were all blown out the water by the newly discovered Estonian earring legend! Sporting an earring made from an old casing – well hopefully it is old!- what could be more appropriate than that for a biathlete! Not sure anyone can top that in the future!

Winner: Regina Oja

Best fall:

There were quite a lot of falls this season especially in Oberhof. Kalev Ermits skied right off the tracks onto the road and then Dominik Windisch managed to hit everything down the side of the tracks but luckily just missed the lampost! However the best fall was in Kontiolahti. You have just announced your retirement, your team throws you up in the air in celebration – and then drop you on the ground from a great height! Hilariously funny and a great way to end a stellar career! NOT! 😉
Note to French team – see Finnish team for proper technique!

Winner: Martin Fouracde

Best GIF:
The GIFs on Instagram are a lot of fun! We had some dances, some very strange facial expressions and a bit of comedy too. My favourite and the one that comes in the most useful is a Norwegian who lifts his glasses, has a look and then gives a round of applause. Hopefully he will do the same for these awards!

Winner: Johannes Dale

Best rifle design:
Well I think this award is going to be retired this season! The biathletes are pretty pathetic at rifle design. We have the standouts of course – Davidova, Krcmar, Lesser etc. but they are not new. Seriously how hard is it to come up with a cool design! Oh I know I will just change the colour! Not good enough people! (I apologise if I have missed any good work on the IBU Cup or Juniors). Anyway in what is almost certainly the final awarding of best rifle design it is going to someone who actually makes their own rifle with their own fair hand which is pretty amazing.

Winner: Quentin Fillon Maillet

Best ski suit:
What do we look for in a good ski suit? Well first it needs to be easily recognisable from afar or in a crowd. It needs the colours of the country and of course it needs pizzazz! Germany looked like Germany again this season which was good. Norway always have a good suit. This year’s winner though was made especially for the World Championships. Normally I am against changing suit for World champs but this one is actually better than the World Cup suit! It has all the colours of the national flag and has pizzazz in abundance!

Winner: Belgium

Worst ski suit:
Bulgaria won this last season and then had the audacity not to even change their suit for this season! Do they not read the awards!!! This season I had to give worst suit to what can only be described as a harlequin gone wrong – badly wrong!

Winner: Romania

Best Biathlete23:
Not a lot of competetion this year for this award. Jakov Fak and Tarjei Boe both came 4th in bib23 at the World Championships in Antholz which was great. However almost at the last minute our heroine stepped up to save the day by getting biathlete23’s only podium in the sprint in Nove Mesto when she finished third! Unicorn power + bib23 = success! It’s simple maths! 😉

Winner: Marketa Davidova

Biggest Improver:
This was a straight fight between two biathletes. One is an estabished competitor who made leaps and bounds in performance this season and one is a young biathlete who has shown what amazing potential they have. Some suggested that it was Tora Berger in a mission impossible style mask, but I believe it was Tiril Eckhoff who won all those races and challenged for the overall title. A fall in the summer meant she spent a lot of time on her shooting and boy did it pay off. She was like a new biathlete. However the award is going to a young man who went from 24th to 5th in the overall in one season, took his first win at World Championships no less and won the world cup pursuit title. He had never made the World Cup podium before this season. Now that’s what I call improvement!

Winner: Emilien Jacquelin

Best Team Performance:
This was a no brainer! I mean winning every single race on the World Cup and the World Championships is a remarkable feat. The relay can easily be lost if just one team member has a bad day or even just one bad shoot. This team overcame everything that was thrown at them to be the first to win six races in one season.

Winner: Norwegian Women’s relay team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
A difficult choice this season between three biathletes. Martin Fouracde winning his last race in Kontiolahti was emotional and Kaisa Makarainen winning in horrible conditions in the Oberhof mass start in her last season was extremely impressive. The award goes to another however. She won the pursuit gold medal in her home town at the World Championships under enormous pressure. After a shaky start in the sprint were she finished 7th she fought off some of the best biathletes around to take the win. It was a dream come true! – oh and she isn’t retiring!

Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
A tough decision this year. We had Johannes Boe winning his second overall in a row and Dorothea Wierer doing the same. Martin Fourcade came back to near his best and Emilien Jacquelin and Tiril Eckhoff both had breakthough seasons for different reasons. However the award is going to a history maker and fantastic biathlete who is the first to win seven medals in seven races at World Championships. She went home to Norway with five gold and two bronze medals from Antholz. Sustaining that level of performance over such a short time is outstanding.

Winner: Marte Olsbu Roeiseland

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
The para biathlon World Championship was cancelled this year so it comes down to World Cup performances to decide this one. Ivan Golubkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev and Oleksandra Kononova were strong contenders for this but the award goes to a sit skier who is a remarkable biathlete. She skis very well but her shooting is incredible. She took the overall title in the sitting category, winning 4 of the 7 races, for the second year in a row up against some tough opposition.

Winner: Kendall Gretsch

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
It wasn’t an easy decision for this one. There have been some very good performances from the juniors this season not only on the junior tour but also on the World Cup. One that stood out was a 22-year-old from Bulgaria. She won a medal in each individual event at the Junior World Championships (individual silver, sprint and pursuit bronze) and took a personal best on the World Cup of 17th at the Senior World Championships. She is from a small biathlon nation that lacks the same funding as the big nations which makes her performances even more impressive!

Winner: Milena Todorova

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

The Youth World Championships were held in Lenzerheide in January and one biathlete stood out for his performances across the whole event. The 18-year-old Norwegian won three gold medals. He was first in the individual, first in the pursuit and anchored the Norwegian relay team to victory. His worst result over 4 races was 4th in the sprint! Outstanding – watch out Johannes!

Winner: Martin Nevland

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Biathlete23 Season Review 2019/20!

This season has been a strange one for biathlete23. It is the lowest points total so far but then there were three races less than other years with Olso being cancelled. There were no wins and only one podium but the points scoring was amazingly consistent. In fact out of 42 races there were only 4 where biathlete23 was not in the points! I am not one to name and shame but let’s just say Clare Egan, Scott Gow, Lukas Hofer and Selina Gasparin have a lot of work to do in the summer! 😉

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points
Year 6: 730 points (3 fewer races)

This season the points total was 730, made up of 386 for the men and 344 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 17th place in the Men’s Overall between Lukas Hofer and Dmytro Pidruchnyi and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Linn Persson and Mona Brorsson. It seems that Pidruchnyi and Brorsson are the benchmark as biathlete23 has finished alongside them both for two seasons in a row!

Way back in December in Oestersund Atrem Pryma was the first to wear the coveted bib23 in the sprint. He came 35th and Kamila Zuk was 28th in the women’s race. In the individuals Vetle Christiansen was 31st but Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht did the best coming 16th!

On to Hochfilzen where Clare Egan came 66th in the sprint but then Benedikt Doll was 11th! In the pursuits Lisa Vittozzi was 25th and Fabien Claude was 8th. A good round for the men.

Annecy saw 6 races starting with a 22nd place for Vladimir Iliev in the sprint which Emma Lunder followed with 36th for the women. Florent Claude was also 22nd in the pursuit and Janina Hettich was 31st. In the first mass starts of the season Vladimir Iliev was again in bib23 and finished 20th with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova 15th!

After Christmas it was off to Oberhof! The sprint yielded 30th place for Larisa Kuklina and 12th for Benjamin Weger. In the mass start it was 27th for Lucie Charvatova and 28th for Felix Leitner.

Ruhpolding did not start well with 60th place for Scott Gow in the sprint. However Franziska Preuss was 14th to make up for it! In the pursuits Baiba Bendika was 26th and Raman Yaliotnau 27th. See what I mean about consistency!

Pokljuka was next on the calendar and in the men’s individual Evgeniy Garanichev was 35th but Selina Gasparin just missed out on points in 41st. Artem Pryma was 29th in the mass start and Katherina Innerhofer was 22nd.

In February we had the World Championships in Antholz. In the women’s sprint Mona Brorsson took 33rd place and then Tarjei Boe was 4th! So close to a medal – it was very exciting for a minute there! The pursuit saw Karolin Horchler take 15th place while Johannes Dale was 17th. In the individual Fuyuko Tachizaki was 34th and then Jakov Fak came …you guessed it ..4th! AHHH So close again! Can we make a medal for 4th place like tin or something?! Lastly came the mass starts and Ivona Fialkova finished in 25th and Ondrej Moravec was 11th. Points in every race at World Champs we can’t complain too much!

The 7th round of the World Cup was in Nove Mesto and finally, finally biathlete23 got a podium! It was home favourite Marketa Davidova who did it coming 3rd in the sprint! Unicorn power + bib23 = podium! Lukas Hofer however came 64th in the men’s race! Oh well swings and roundabouts! The mass starts saw Larisa Kuklina come home in 10th and Ondrej Moravec take 19th.

At the final round in Kontiolahti Klemen Bauer was 27th in the sprint while Aita Gasparin was 22nd. Jesper Nelin was 23rd in the mass start (a good place to finish!) and Lucie Charvatova was 28th.

Oslo was unfortunately cancelled due to the corona virus and I was tempted to give biathlete23 60 points for each race but in the end I decided that it wouldn’t be fair! 😉

Hopefully next season biathlete23 can get back to winning ways and maybe bag a few more medals!

See the full results on the Biathlete23 page of the blog.

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Season Review 2019/20: The Men!

Since when did the men’s overall title go down to the last race and be decided by 2 points! Never! (Well maybe it has but I am too lazy to actually check!) Normally it’s the women who take the total score right down to the wire but this season thanks to baby Boe it was the men who gave us the closest of finishes!

Little did we know back in December that this would be Martin Fourcade’s final season. Well maybe he didn’t either but guess what I haven’t checked! 😉 That made the battle between the Frenchman and Johannes Thingnes Boe even more special as it would be the last.

It looked like it would be another convincing win for Boe in the overall at the start of the season. Honours were even in Oestersund with Boe taking the sprint and Fourcade winning the individual but then Boe won 4 of the 5 next races with Fourcade not making the podium in any.

However after Christmas Boe took parental leave for the birth of his son Gustav (biathlon overall title winner 2043) and then Fourcade came alive. Without Boe racing he won all 4 events in Germany! The psychological effect on Fouracde was marked as with no Johannes he became the best again and showed it.

In Pokljuka Boe returned and won the individual beating Fourcade into second place and taking the mental advantage back.

After a win each at World Champs it was on to Nove Mesto where Boe won both races to close the gap in the total score. Then came Kontiolahti and the news that it would be final round of the World Cup and the final two races would determine the champion.

Boe won the sprint ahead of Fourcade which meant it would all come down to the pursuit. If Fourcade could win then Boe had to finish at least 4th to take the title. That’s exactly what happened. Boe was nervous and it showed in his shooting. Basically if he had missed just one shot in the final standing Fourcade would have been an 8-time world cup winner but somehow he hit all five and made it home in 4th place to take the big crystal globe by just 2 points! It was un-boe-lieveable! That makes it two in a row for the super talented Norwegian.

I am sure Fourcade would have loved to go out on the ultimate high of winning the overall but it was not to be! He did win the race which was a fitting end to a truly outstanding career. He won his first race in the Kontiolathi pursuit and his last both on the 14th of March!

He will be sorely missed on the World Cup next year but he has handed the French baton over to Emilien Jaquelin! It was a remarkable season for the 24-year-old. He won his first ever race which just happened to be at the World Championships in Antholz! He took gold in the pursuit and then went on to win gold in the men’s relay, bronze in the single mixed and bronze again in the mass start! He would also go on to collect the pursuit crystal globe after topping the standings in that event and finished 5th in the total score.

Martin Fourcade took home two small globes this season winning the sprint title and the individual. Johannes Boe was the winner of the mass start title.

Apart from Jacquelin there were no other first time winners on the men’s world cup but we had a couple of first time podiums. Matvey Eliseev was third in the Oestersund sprint and Fabien Claude was third in the Pokljuka individual. Maybe without Fourcade there will be more space on the podium steps for some new faces next season.

New faces like rookie of the season Nikita Porshnev. In Annecy he got his first top 20 finish coming 18th in the mass start and at World Championships he was 21st in the sprint but then set an new personal best in the individual of 11th.

Speaking of World Championships the men decided to share out the medals this year. Each race was won by a different biathlete which is unusual on the men’s side. Alexander Loginov won the sprint, Jacquelin took the pursuit, Fourcade the individual and Johannes Boe the mass start!

Relays

The men’s relay was a big fight between Norway and France all season long! Norway dominated the early exchanges winning the first three races of the season. France took the win in the fourth race in Ruhpolding and more importantly won at World Champs. It was their first relay win in 19 years and completed Fourcade’s collection of medals! Norway won the final race in Nove Mesto and they won the men’s relay world cup title.

The mixed relay was a bit more competitive across the teams with Italy winning the opening race in Oestersund, France on top in Pokljuka and Norway taking gold in Antholz.

Retirements

Sadly this season there were more retirements than just Martin Fourcade. Michal Slesingr decided to end his career at his home World Cup in Nove Mesto. It was such a shame that there was no crowd there to send him off but he will be remembered as trail blazer for Czech biathlon of course as a fantastic biathlete. Also hanging up his rifle is Mario Dolder. His best finish came in 2017 when he was 6th in the Oestersund sprint and he was a great servant to the Swiss team. As a biathlon23 interviewee he will obviously be missed more than the other two! 😉

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Season Review 2019/20: The Women!

As a responsible citizen I have recycled the photo from last season! 😉

What can you say about season 2019/20 in biathlon! Obviously it got cut short by the corona virus but that also gave us a thrilling end to what has been another great season of biathlon on the women’s side.

Everything came down to the last race – the pursuit in Kontiolahti. There were two women in the running for the overall title Dorothea Wierer the defending champion (expected) and Tiril Eckhoff (totally unexpected)!

We are used to Eckhoff having some great races but they are usually few and far between. This season however it was like she was a different biathlete altogether. She has always been a brilliant skier but this season she finally discovered how to shoot! What I mean by that is hitting targets on a consisitent basis and not having some of the meltdowns and disasters on the range that have characterised her career up to now.

It was fantastic to see Eckhoff finally showing her true biathlon potential and not just having a few exceptional days in a season. In fact this season she won 7 races including 3 pursuits which won her the small crystal globe for topping the standings in that event.

We know all about Hanna Oeberg’s talent and sometimes forget she is still just 23 (great age!). She proved it again this season winning the individual title and claiming 1 win in the Pokljuka mass start and a bronze at World Champs also in the mass start.

The sprint globe was won by Denise Herrmann at the last minute! She was second in the standings heading into the final race in Kontiolahti which she won. Dorothea Wierer who was leading the standings could only finish 19th and that gave the German the small crystal globe. Herrmann had an amazing end to the season winning three races including a perfect individual in Pokljuka. If she had started better she could have had a shot at winning the overall.

The mass start globe went to Dorothea Wierer. She had an extremely consisitent season with her worst result being 24th! She won 4 races in total although none in the mass start!

The rookie of the season award went to Elvira Oeberg who announced her arrival on to the World Cup with a 12th place finish in the sprint in the opening round in Oestersund. She followed that up with 13th in the sprint at World Championships and then got her best result so far of 8th in the Nove Mesto sprint. It seems she likes the sprint! 😉

At the World Championships in Antholz it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who was the big winner. She won an unprecedented 7 medals in 7 races, 5 gold and 2 bronze. She won all three relays, the women’s, mixed and single mixed as well as the sprint and the mass start. She took bronze in the individual and the pursuit. It was an incredible achievement.

Wierer also had a terrific home World Champs winning the pursuit and individual gold medals in her back garden! She also picked up silver in the mixed relay and showed everyone just how easy the standing shoot is rattling 5 targets down in the women’s relay! 😉

We had only one first time winner this season and it came in the very last race when Julia Simon took victory in the Kontiolahti pursuit. Making on to the podium for the first time were Lena Haecki who was third in the Annecy pursuit, Linn Persson who was third in the Annecy mass start and of course Lucie Charvatova who picked up a bronze medal in the World Championships sprint!

Back to the World Cup and the outcome of that final race for the big crystal globe. Up until the final shoot Eckhoff was the virtual champion but in the final standing she missed three targets to Wierer’s one which ruined her chance. She would finish 10th and with Wierer in 11th it meant the Italian took the title by just 7 points! She is the first women to defend the overall title in 18 years since Magdalena Forsberg. Quite incredible!

The women’s relay was totally dominated by Norway who won every single race! They are a strong team but there are many thing that can go wrong in relays and to win six out of six is astonishing although it does help to have Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in your team!

The single mixed relays on the other hand were shared out. Sweden won the first race in Oestersund with Hanna Oeberg and Sebastian Samuelsson. France won in Pokljuka with Anais Bescond and Emilien Jaquelin and Norway took World Championship gold in Antholz with Roeiseland and Johannes Boe.

Last but certainly not least the end of the season saw the retirement of a legend! Kaisa Makarainen decided to call it a day at home in Kontiolahti. It seems like she has been around forever and will be sorely missed. She won three overall titles and raced against some of the greats of biathlon. She has been a fantastic ambassador for Finnish biathlon and biathlon in general and was universally popular. Hopefully she will return in some capacity like a coach or commentator. Good luck Queen Kaisa!

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Pursuits!

And deep breath! Wow what a day of biathlon that was! Both overall titles going down to the last lap of the season and two huge retirements from the sport!

It started with the men’s pursuit and with it being Martin Fourcade’s final ever race it was always going to be special. The overall was on the line and Fourcade needed to win to have a chance of taking it and of course he did. Unfortunately for him if Johannes Boe finished 4th he would claim the title an he did just that!

It was a careful start for Johannes who had a 21 second lead but he took a long time on the windy range. He hit all 5 in the first prone but so did Fourcade and Jacquelin who made up a lot of time with faster shooting. At the second prone both Frenchmen again hit all the targets but Boe missed one and left them in the lead.

At the third shoot Boe missed 3 and it looked like Martin could maybe take the big globe afterall. Both he and Jacquelin missed 1 shot but had a clear lead over Boe. Arnd Peiffer meanwhile moved into 3rd place and Quentin Fillon Maillet into 4th.

At the final shoot it was Fourcade’s turn to miss 2 and Jacquelin 3! This time Boe hit all 5 and found himself in a battle with Jacquelin and Fillon Maillet for the podium. Fourcade went on to win his last race – very Fourcade! – but Boe knew he just needed to be 4th. Lucky for him there were only 2 Frenchmen ahead of him as he was tiring towards the end but won the overall in the end by just 2 points.

Fillon Maillet was second and Jacquelin third making it a French clean sweep! Arnd Peiffer was 5th and Erlend Bjoentegaard 6th. It was a fitting way for Martin Fourcade to end such an amazing career. His first win was in the Kontiolahti pursuit and so was his last, his 83rd career victory! Astonishing!

Elsewhere Anton Smolski improved his PB to 14th and Said Khalili was 25th with 20/20 for a big personal best!

Just before the start of the women’s pursuit Kaisa Makarainen announced that she would also be retiring after the race! I mean how much do they think we can take in one day!

To the race itself and it was another showdown for the overall this time between Tiril Eckhoff and Dorothea Wierer. Eckhoff started in 3rd and Wierer in 19th so the advantage was with the Norwegian. At the first shoot she missed 2 and Wierer 1 but it was Franziska Preuss who hit 5/5 to take the lead on her own. Behind her came Denise Herrmann and Lisa Vittozzi.

The second prone was a disaster in a windy range for Preuss. She missed 4 but Marketa Davidova hit all 5 to take over at the front of the race. Vittozzi moved into second place and Julia Simon up to third. Eckhoff was into 4th while Wierer was 10th.

The first stand saw Eckhoff hit 5/5 and move into the lead followed by Simon and Vittozzi. Wierer missed 2 to leave the range in 16th place.

At the final shoot Eckhoff had a lot of problems and missed 3 targets! Julia Simon cleaned as did Selina Gasparin. Vittozzi missed 1 to find herself in second place behind Simon and just in front of Gasparin. Wierer missed 1 and was on the penalty loop with Eckhoff.

She came out ahead and just had to stay with Eckhoff for the final loop to take the overall. At the front Simon was taking her first ever win and Selina Gasparin passed Vittozzi to finish second with the Italian third.

Kaisa Makarainen in her final race had moved from 18th to 4th but just couldn’t manage one last podium! Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 5th and Mona Brorsson was 6th from a start of 25th!

Emilie Kalkenberg got a PB in 15th and weirdly the Oebergs finished in 18th (Hanna) and 19th (Elvira) and the Gasparins in 37th (Aita) and 38th (Elisa)! Sisters racing together!

In the end Eckhoff came home in 10th but with Wierer was 11th so it meant the big crystal globe was Doro’s once more winning by 7 points!

That is the end of the 2019/20 biathlon season! It has been one to remember and we will need the extra long break to recover I think!……can’t wait until next season though! Roll on November!

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Sprints!

We are living in crazy biathlon times! Last week we had no spectators in Nove Mesto and now the season has been cut short due to corona virus.

We were supposed to have a crowd here in Kontiolahti but then the Finnish government recommended not to hold public gatherings over 500 people just a few hours before the race so they were not let in. Then we discovered half way through the race that Oslo was cancelled and that this would be the final World Cup of the season. It’s a shame but not much you can do!

The poor US biathlon team had to make a mad dash to the airport to catch flights home before they were suspended by the US government so they could not race here.

So on to the racing. It was Johannes Boe who was again victorious in the men’s sprint. He hit 10/10 and out skied the field by 21 seconds to put himself in pole position to win the overall title. Martin Fourcade also hit 10/10 and put in a fearsome final lap to take second. Well Emilien Jacquelin said he stole it but that’s because he beat him into third place by just over a second.

Jacquelin also shot clean as did 13 out of the top 15!!! Vetle Christiansen finished 4th, Tarjei Boe was 5th and Benedikt Doll was 6th. He was one of those who hit 9/10!

Sturla Laegreid continued his rise with 10th place and another new PB. Said Khalili moved his from 44th to 42nd and Didier Bionaz smashed his from 72nd last week to 48th this week!

In the women’s race the conditions were much more difficult with wind and snow! It didn’t stop Denise Herrmann though! She took her second sprint win in a row with 9/10. Second place went to her teammate Franziska Preuss who also hit 9/10 and is on great form late in the season.

Third place went to Tiril Eckhoff who despite missing 2 shots skied like a demon on the final lap to reach the podium. It was crucial for her hopes in the overall especially as Dorothea Wierer could only finish in 19th place missing 3 targets.

Lisa Vittozzi was 4th with 9/10, Marketa Davidova was 5th also with 9/10 and Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 6th with a perfect shoot.

Chloe Chevalier got her PB in 8th hitting 9/10 and Susanna Meinen got her career best in 31st.

Saturday will see the final races of the season after Sunday’s relays were also cancelled. It will be a showdown in both the men’s and women’s pursuits to decide the overall titles. Wierer and Eckhoff go head to head and so will Johannes Boe and Martin Fourcade. It will be Fourcade’s final race as he has announced his retirement from the sport.

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Nove Mesto 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was a sunny day for the mass starts in Nove Mesto for the final day of action but unfortunately that made the tracks soft and tough to ski on.

The women raced first and it was Dorothea Wierer who held the lead after the first prone shoot. She looks tired though after her heroics at World Champs and couldn’t stay at the front. She missed 1 at the second prone which let the clean shooting Tiril Eckhoff hit the front and she wouldn’t give up the lead.

She also hit 5/5 in the first stand to build a nice lead over Justine Braisaz who was making up places quickly after a miss in the prone. Hanna Oeberg was doing the same and was up to fourth after the third shoot behind Fialkova in third.

At the final shoot Eckhoff missed 1 shot but her lead was enough for it not to make a difference and she went on to win the race and her second mass start of the season. The fight was for the other two spots on the podium and Hanna Oeberg hit 5/5 to take second place. Franziska Preuss did the same to move into third.

Justine Braisaz was 4th, Dorothea Wierer 5th and Monika Hojnisz Starega 6th.

It was more points lost to her main rivals for Dorothea Wierer but she still holds on to yellow for Kontiolahti.

In the men’s race Johannes Boe set out at a very fast pace but then missed on his first prone to let his teammate Vetle Christiansen and his brother Tarjei come out of the range in first and second place.

Johannes made up all the ground before the next shoot where he again missed a shot! Christiansen cleared again to stay in the lead but now he was followed by the German pair Kuehn and Peiffer.

Johannes Boe did the same again making up time on the leaders only to miss another shot in the first stand! That left Emilien Jacquelin out front with Dominik Windisch and Peiffer.

Finally in the last shooting JT Boe hit 5/5 and left the range just 4 second behind Jacquelin who had hit 20/20! It didn’t take long for him to pass the Frenchman and take the win. It was a crazy way to win but typical Johannes I think!

Jacquelin took second and Arnd Peiffer was third after battling with Pidruchnyi and Bjoentegaard for the last podium spot. Johannes Dale was 6th.

If you are wondering what happened to Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade they finished 8th and 14th respectively after problems with the way their skis were waxed in the tricky conditions.

Fourcade still has the yellow bib for the lead in the overall but Boe is closing the gap!

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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 Mass Starts!

Well the women’s mass start was definitely worth waiting for! What a race to end the World Championships on the women’s side.

It started well for a lot of biathletes with 16 going clear on the first prone. Those who didn’t included Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann!

It was Katherina Innerhofer who would lead out of the second prone with another perfect shoot along with Julia Simon. Monika Hojnisz- Starega was third with Wierer and Herrmann up to 4th and 5th after hitting 5/5. Roeiseland missed another target to fall to 22nd.

At the first stand it was Simon who shot the best getting all 5 targets down. Innerhofer missed 3 to put her out of contention, Wierer missed one but Hanna Oeberg hit all 5 to move into second place behind Simon. Behind them Roeiseland cleaned to move herself back up the field.

The final shoot was crucial as usual but not defining this time! The front three all missed! Wierer with one and Simon and Oeberg missing 2. That left Wierer out in front heading to the final lap. Roeiseland meantime cleaned again and found herself in second place 14 seconds behind Wierer.

Oeberg, Hojnisz-Starega and Simon all headed to the final lap together to fight for the bronze. Roeiseland put in a stunning final lap to catch and pass Wierer to take her 5th gold medal and 7th medal of the championships. Both were tired but Roeiseland just had a little extra in her legs. She made history by becomong the first woman to win seven medals at the same World Championship with her 5 gold and 2 bronze medals! Amazing!

Wierer took the silver and it was Oeberg who was the strongest of the others taking the bronze. It was redemption for Oeberg after finishing 4th several times and having a tough time in the women’s relay.

Hojnisz-Starega was 4th, Simon 5th and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht 6th.

The men’s race was not as exciting as a finale but there was some great biathlon on show. It was a cat and mouse first loop with the French trio of Martin Fourcade, Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet taking the lead and trying to put pressure on Johannes Boe.

It didn’t work as all three missed a shot! It was Jakov Fak who left the range in the lead with Simon Desthieux and Benedikt Doll following. Boe hit all five and soon took over the lead on the tracks bringing his brother Tarjei and Johannes Dale with him.

All three Norwegians cleaned and behind them so did Jacquelin, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux. At the first standing shoot it was only Johannes and Desthieux who hit all 5. That left Boe with a nice lead followed by the fast skiing Fillon Maillet.

It was to be a perfect day for Johannes hitting all 5 again in the final shoot to cruise home for the gold medal! As the only man with 20/20 he was unbeatable. Fillon Maillet missed 1 but was comfortable in second. It was for bronze that we got the battle. Jacquelin cleaned his final shoot but Tarjei Boe took a penalty which meant he came off the loop just 7 seconds behind.

It was a tough final loop for Tarjei who caught and passed Jacquelin but he couldn’t hold on and was passed by the Frenchman before the finish line.

Desthieux finished 5th and Felix Leitner in 6th.

That concludes the World Championships in Antholz for 2020 and it has been a great event. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was spectacular and Dorothea Wierer fulfilled her dreams here too. For the men Johannes Boe became the first man to win 6 medals at the same Worlds and Martin Fourcade now has gold in each discipline after France finally won the relay!

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Antholz 2020: The Relays!

I don’t know about you biathlon fans but I am worn out after two amazing relays at the world championships and we were just watching!

The women were first to race and what a dramatic relay they produced! As biathlon law dictates it was Lisa Vittozzi who put Italy into the lead after the first leg. (Can you remember a time when she didn’t put them in first place?!!)

She only used 1 spare on the prone and handed over to Dorothea Wierer with a healthy margin of almost 30 seconds over the Polish team with Kinga Zyblut and the Russians with Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht.

Wierer would extend that lead to almost a minute. She just used one spare in the prone and her standing shoot was unbelievable! Rapid and accurate – I suggest you watch it for yourself!

At the second exchange she handed over to Federica Sanfilippo. Behind her came Monika Hojnisz-Starega then Irina Starykh. San filippo did well in the prone using just 2 spares but the stand let her down. In the end she incurred 2 penalty loops and Italy were out of the running. Kamila Zuk on the other hand was fantastic using just one spare to put Poland into the lead at the final exchange.

Tiril Eckhoff was trying to make up time for Norway after two solid legs from Synnoeve Solemdal and Ingrid Tandrevold had left them in 5th but over a minute back. She just avoided the penalty loop in the prone using 3 spares but couldn’t avoid it in the stand.

However she skied so strongly on the final loop that she handed over to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in third place just behind the Czech Republic. Sweden and Germany were closing in with great legs from Linn Persson and Franziska Preuss bringing them back into contention.

Magdalena Gwizdon took over for Poland at the front and she used 2 spares in the prone. Roeiseland and Oeberg cleaned to take over the lead together. Herrmann used 2 spares.

At the final shoot it Roeiseland was spectacular. With the pressure of a gold medal in her hands she shot clean and left the range by herself for a simple ski to victory and a 4th gold medal for her. Hanna Oeberg was the opposite. Unfortunately she ended up on the penalty loop and lost the chance of a medal.

Moving into the medal spots were the Ukraine with Olena Pihrushna and the Czechs with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova. Unluckily for them they were being chased by Denise Herrmann who needed 2 spares in the stand but skis so fast that she caught and passed both of them on the tracks to secure the silver medal for Germany. Ukraine hung on for the bronze.

The Czech Republic were 4th, Sweden 5th and Switzerland 6th. Poland were 7th in the end after a fabulous team performance and Italy were 10th at the finish.

Next up were the men and it was another close race. The first leg went to Erik Lesser shooting perfectly to give Germany an early lead. It wasn’t a big lead though with Emilien Jacquelin right behind him!

Norway had to take an early penalty loop with Vetle Christiansen having trouble in the standing shoot. That left Italy and Ukraine in 3rd and 4th.

Martin Fourcade took leg two for France up against Philipp Horn. Both cleaned in the prone and despite using 1 spare to Fourcade’s perfect shoot in the stand it was Horn who handed over first but there was very little between France and Germany.

On the third leg Arnd Peiffer and Simon Desthieux went head to head. Remarkably they shot exactly the same score both needing a spare in the stand. It was Peiffer who was stronger on the tracks giving Benedikt Doll a 12 second lead for the final leg. Tarjei Boe meanwhile was moving Norway back up into third.

At the first prone Doll needed all 3 spares to just avoid a penalty loop. Quentin Fillon Maillet hit 5/5 to move into the lead. The final stand decided it with just 2 spares for Fillon Maillet versus a penalty loop for Doll. Johannes Boe used 1 spare for his final standing and was just 5 seconds behind Doll.

On the last loop Boe overtook Doll to take the silver for Norway with Germany settling for bronze. France’s gold medal was the first in the men’s relay at World Championship for Martin Fourcade which completed his set of wins in each event.

Russia were 4th, Slovenia 5th and Austria 6th.

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