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Biathlete23: Season Review 2016/17!

, IBU World Cup 1 ostersund single mix relay
Picture courtesy of photographer extraordinaire Ross Burton.

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 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.

In the first year the total for the men and the women was 802 and in the second year the total was 948. Excellent a bit of progress! The third year was not as successful with a points total of 760.

This season there was great improvement with a total score of 921 points! The men scored most points with 482. This would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Total score sandwiched between Evgeniy Garanichev on 495 and Maxim Tsvetkov on 469. The women scored 439 points which amazingly enough would put biathlete23 19th on the Women’s Total Score too between Nadezha Skardino on 440 and Vanessa Hinz on 436.

There were 3 podiums this season from Anton Shipulin, Justine Braisaz and Susan Dunklee. Biathlete23 achieved 13 Top 10 finishes on the World Cup and 1 Top 10 finish at the World Championships. According to Biathlon Addict on Twitter “it’s statistically usual for #23 this season to claim around the 5th or 6th place!!” It’s great when others do the stats for you and that they too believe in 23!

All in all it was a season much like that of Emil Hegle Svendsen. No wins, some podiums and not a great World Championships but importantly all done with great hair!

Biathlete23’s season started in Oestersund with a Swedish lady. Unfortunately Linn Persson finished 65th in the Individual and outside the points but her photo (kindly taken by Ross Burton) is now used as the picture for this page! In the Men’s race Ondrej Moravec came home in 17th. Darya Yurkevich was 59th in the Sprint for the women but Julian Eberhard was 5th for the men. In the Pursuits Iryna Varvynets was 52nd and Jean-Guillaume Beatrix was 11th. This meant the ladies had 0 points leaving Sweden but the men had 94! Well done chaps!

Pokljuka was next up and Brendan Green was in bib23 for the Sprint. He finished 52nd but in the Women’s Sprint Justine Braisaz was 2nd! The first podium of the season! Allez Justine! There were no points from the Pursuits with Scott Gow 48th and Federica Sanfilippo 52nd. That meant a total of 54 points from Slovenia.

Nove Mesto was a great round for biathlete23 with everyone scoring points. In the Sprint Michael Roesch was 11th and Susan Dunklee was 3rd! Another podium woo-hoo! Artem Pryma was 27th in the Pursuit and Marte Olsbu was 18th. In the Mass Start Jean-Guillaune Beatrix was 13th and Vanessa Hinz was 4th! Pilsner all round for a reward! 😉 The men left with 53 points but the women with 114.

After Christmas it was time to head to Germany with the first stop in Oberhof. It was another good round with Martin Fourcade finishing 8th in the Sprint (great time to miss the podium Martin, thanks!) and Anais Chevalier was 4th. In the Pursuit Vitaliy Kilchytskyy was 48th but Jana Gerekova was 26th. In the Mass Starts Benjamin Weger was 10th and Maren Hammerschmidt was 20th. That meant 65 points from the men and 79 from the women.

Ruhpolding wasn’t the best round. Dmytro Pidruchnyi started well in the Sprint finishing 7th but then Lena Haecki was 74th. In the Pursuit Anton Babikov didn’t start the race but Anastasiya Merkushyna showed great dedication to bib23 by finishing 23rd! That gave a total of 36 points from the men and 18 from the women.

The last round before the World Championships was in Antholz where Joanne Reid was 60th in the Individual and Martin Otcenas was 84th -no points! However in the Mass Starts Anna Magnusson was 7th and Lars Birkeland was 11th. So that meant 30 points for the men and 36 for the women.

The World Championships started well for biathlon23, were a bit rubbish in the middle and picked up at the end. Alas there was no gold medal this year. 😦

Anastasiya Merkushyna was back in 23 for the Sprint and she was 10th. Anton Pantov was 68th in the Men’s Sprint. In the Pursuits Lisa Hauser was 26th and Remus Faur was 42nd. The Americans in the Individuals were Maddie Phaneuf who was 87th and Sean Doherty who was 58th. The Mass Starts were better with Nadezhda Skardino in 16th and Dominik Windisch in 24th. Biathlete23 left Hochfilzen with 17 points for the men and 71 for the women.

Then we went to PyeongChang for the Olympic test event and World Cup 7. Julia Ransom was 41st in the Sprint and Vegard Gjermundshaug was 40th. In the Pursuits Lisa Vittozzi was 43rd but then Anton Shipulin came from 23rd to 2nd to grab some valuable points. That meant 55 points for the men and 0 for the women.

Kontiolahti was the venue for round 8 replacing Tyumen. In the Men’s Sprint the legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen brought home the points in 8th! For the women Eva Puskarcivkova was 63rd. Getting a Russian in the Men’s Pursuit is always good and this time it was Evgeniy Garanichev’s turn to make up lots of places. He finished 12th but fellow Russian Ekaterina Shimulova was outside the points in 42nd. The men got 64 (check) points and the women 0.

At the final round in Holmenkollen home favourite Tiril Eckhoff was in bib23 in the Sprint and she finished 12th. For the men Maxim Tsvetkov didn’t start the Sprint race. The Pursuits went well with Anna Magnusson in 21st and Andrejs Rastorgujevs 10th. In the Mass Starts Anna Magnusson was again in bib23 and finished 23rd! She has been in bib23 three times this season and always scored points! Well done Anna Mag! Michal Slesingr was 6th making it 69 points for the men and 67 for the women.

For full results and points see the Biathlete23 page.
Biathlete23 will return! 🙂

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Biathlete23: Season Review 2015/16

biathlete23GOLD

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 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.

In the first year the total for the men and the women was 802 and last year the total was 948. Excellent a bit of progress! Not this season however. Biathlete23 in 2015/16 had a bit of a “Tiril Eckhoff” season. Full of early promise, mostly disappointment but ending in surprising success!

That’s right Biathlete23 got off to a promising start in Oestersund with Quentin Fillon Maillet wearing 23 in the first race. He also shared a photo of his bib and rifle as he was so excited to be number 23! 😉 He was 4th and the other biathletes also did well meaning we left Sweden with 149 points.

In Hochfilzen Anton Shipulin also got 4th and 2 of the 3 others scored points to make a decent total of 85. Pokljuka wasn’t a great success with 48 points and a top result of 18th from Julian Eberhard.

World Cup 4 in Ruhpolding was better with Susan Dunklee getting a 6th place finish with the others making up 95 points. The second round in Ruhpolding yielded 70 points with another top finish of 6th this time from Evgeniy Garanichev. Antholz was a good round with Anais Bescond in 4th and a points total of 83.

Canmore wasn’t great for bib23 with only 51 points and a best finish of 22nd from Karin Oberhofer. In Presque Isle there was just one more point with 52 and a finish of 15th for Andi Birnbacher.

So biathlete23 went into the World Championships in Oslo with confidence pretty low and in the first 5 races only scored points in one race with Anton Babikov taking 21st place. This led to some pretty desperate action from the coach who decided to change the Twitter hashtag from #biathlete23 to #biathletevingttrois hoping to steal a little of the French success.

It was of course a masterstroke! The coach is a genius! Who got bib23 in the Men’s Individual –Martin Fourcade! I knew there was a very good chance of a medal and Fourcade didn’t let me down! Even though he missed one target he skied his heart out to make sure that biathlete23 would claim their first ever medal at a major Championships and that medal was GOLD!!! Let’s just say there was a lot of celebrating in the biathlete23 camp that evening! 😉

With that success and a few more good results afterwards the points total from Oslo was 113. So it was on to the final World Cup Round in Khanty Mansiysk . Unfortunately things went back to normal there and there was only 1 points scorer from the 4 races which was Alexey Slepov in 27th place!

So in the end the total points score was 760. The Men scored 436 points which would have put them in 18th place in the Total Score between Lowell Bailey and Michal Slesingr. The Women’s points total was 324 making them 25th in the Total Score between Selina Gasparin and Maren Hammerschmidt.

Overall it’s not been a great World Cup season for biathlete23. It’s the tricky third season on the World Cup that all biathletes suffer from! 😉 Fortunately a gold medal can save anyone’s season! Biathlete23 will have a nice holiday and then a hard summer of training to come back better next season! Hopefully we can beat the points total and get some wins on the board. We also have a new unofficial ambassador (unpaid position) Quentin Fillon Maillet to work with Brendan Green! Merci for the photo QFM!!!

For the full results see the biathlete23 page on this blog.

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Juliya Dzhyma: Uk’raining’ Talent!

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Do you remember when you were young and your father made you do biathlon and it made you cry? No? Well that’s why you are not an Olympic gold medallist and Juliya Dzyhma is! In fact both her parents were biathletes and her father, Valentin Dzyhma, competed briefly on the World Cup for the USSR so she had the correct genes for it but she did need some encouragement to take up the sport. After a few days of tears she eventually liked biathlon!

She was also sent to try many different activities when she was a child. At dance lessons her teacher told her she danced like bear! She wasn’t good at singing or gymnastics either but a pottery class led her on to her other passion away from biathlon which is painting. In fact Juliya has even won some national competitions in her home country of Ukraine!

Her father won though as she decided to concentrate on biathlon and although she was a talented shot from early on she did have more trouble learning to ski. However that is all in the past. Nowadays Juliya is a top biathlete. Born in Kiev on the 19th of September 1990 she has been competing on the World Cup since season 2011/12 but really made her mark in 2013.

Early that season in Hochfilzen she achieved her best result to date with a second place finish in the Pursuit race after finishing 5th in the Sprint. She followed that up with another 4 TOP 10 finishes. Obviously her biggest success came at the end of the season in Sochi at the Olympic Games. She was part of the Ukrainian Women’s Team along with Vita and Valj Semerenko and Olena Pidhrushna who won the gold medal in the Relay. It was a great team performance and a thoroughly deserved win. Juliya actually has quite a few medals from Relay competitions. She won silver in the World Championships in 2013, 3 golds and a bronze from the European Championships in 2011,2012, 2013 and 2015. Her only individual medal to date was a silver in the Sprint at the European Championships in Bansko 2013.

Last season she made a little bit of history too by being on the podium in the first ever Single Mixed Relay in Nove Mesto. She finished third alongside teammate Artem Tyshchenko. That was her only podium but she did finish in the TOP 10 another 3 times and ended the total score in 24th place. She didn’t have a good World Championships however just racing in 2 events.

On the other hand she is the only biathlete to have worn bib23 on 4 separate occasions and has gained many points for biathlete23!! Better than Olympic gold? Maybe not but it has to be a close second! She says that her hero is Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and that when she first met him she got his autograph and had a photo taken with him. If you are going to choose a role model in biathlon he is a good one to pick! Could she perhaps emulate some of his success?

Statistically she is one of the best shots on the Women’s tour. Her ski speed is not as good as the very best women but it is around the TOP 20. This means that if she can shoot well when others don’t she can get more podiums and also win races. The best chance of a maiden victory for her could come in the Individual race. Her shooting skill gives her a great chance of winning if the other fast skiers miss targets.

This season she will face some stiff competition from her own teammates. With Vita Semerenko back from injury and Olena Pidrushna coming out of retirement she will have to fight for her place in the Relay team with them and also the good young biathletes coming through like Iryna Varvynets and Yuliya Zhuravok. Hopefully Juliya can find some consistency in her performances for the coming season and she will be aiming to get into the TOP 10 on a more regular basis. She will be trying hard to get some more podiums and to take her first World Cup victory as well as looking to do well in Oslo in the World Championships. Dzhyma is lucky to be part of such a strong team where she can get experience from the older members as well as being an integral part of the team herfelf in a country that is Uk’raining’ talent!

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Lean, mean and Green!

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Most of you will know Brendan Green from his part in the Canadian Team’s amazing performances last season. So you may be surprised to hear that just under 2 years ago he was spending most of his time in bed! Lazy b*****d! That’s what you were thinking, wasn’t it! Well you are wrong! Unfortunately for Brendan he was bed ridden for a different reason.

It all started with a herniated disc in his back initially caused by weightlifting in the gym. Twelve weeks after surgery he was still in pain and had to undergo a second operation which left him with great difficulty walking, dressing or even getting out of bed. His disc was herniated again and there was a real possibility that he may not be able to compete anymore. Luckily for him and us there was a Hollywood style ending to the story and he made a full recovery and went to the Olympics in Sochi.

Unlike the films however it was a long, slow process to get back into competitive shape. It isn’t just hard physically to recover from injury. In fact the mental side is probably more difficult. Going from your peak shape to not being able to walk is a drastic change and requires considerable mental fortitude to deal with especially for an athlete. Fortunately for Brendan he had amazing support from family, teammates and his girlfriend fellow biathlete Rosanna Crawford.

Brendan comes from “The Hub of the North” Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories where was born on the 4th of November 1986. He has 2 Junior World titles to his name both won in the relay, a silver in 2005 and a bronze in 2007. Last season was his best ever on the World Cup. He finished in the Top 20 four times and achieved a career best result in Antholz coming 8th in the Sprint. He took this form into the Sochi Olympics too finishing an impressive 9th in the Mass Start.

You might think that that was his best result at the Olympics but regular readers of this blog know that it was his 23rd place in the Sprint that really caught the eye. This meant that he had the honour of representing Biathlete23 in the Men’s Pursuit. It’s a high pressure task though and he finished 35th but kindly sent me a photo of bib23 from Sochi. It also happens to be Rosanna’s favourite number (clearly a woman of good taste!) and so we were both disappointed!!! 😉

Next season should be an interesting one for Canada’s biathletes. With the retirement of JP Le Guellec it now falls on the likes of Brendan to keep up the good results. After his astonishing return from a serious injury he will be aiming to improve his personal results and continue the excellent progress of both the Men’s and the Mixed relay teams. I am sure he would like to get into the TOP 5 on the World Cup and I don’t think a podium finish is out of the question either.

The World Championships are in March and it would be amazing to see a Canadian medalist there whether it’s Brendan or any of the other team members. If he gets bib23 again this year though he better pull a great result out of the bag! Whatever results he achieves next season we are just happy to have him back healthy and able to compete. Let’s hope he can stay lean, mean and Green for a long time to come!

Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendanjgreen

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UnBølievable Annecy : Le Grand Børnand!

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World Cup round 3 in Annecy was dominated by the new “golden boy” of Norwegian biathlon Johannes Thingnes Bø. An extraordinary performance by the 20 year old saw him win the Sprint and Pursuit double by 33 and 37.5 seconds respectively.I always expected him to win a World Cup race but not this soon and not in such a dominant style! He also helped a weakened relay team to a fifth place on Friday. He has certainly announced himself as a real threat this year and I hope he can be consistent because I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do against his brother and Svendsen and a Martin Fourcade in better shape. Never short of confidence he stated after his Sprint win that “It is cool to beat Martin here.” He is a real contender now and I think the bigger names in the Norwegian team should start to worry about their places for Sochi.

Elsewhere and playing second fiddle to the Bø show was the great performance of Selina Gasparin who won her second Sprint race in a row. They are like buses those Swiss you wait ages for a win and 2 come along at once. There was also another first time winner on the women’s side. Valj Semerenko took the Pursuit race by maintaining her composure in the final shoot and finished in front of Irina Starykh and Tiril Eckhoff who both finished a career best second and third. In the Sprint race second place went to Kaisa Makarainen and third to Valj Semerenko. The women’s competition is fantastic this year mainly thanks to the amount of amazing biathletes around just now and without last year’s dominance from Tora Berger we are getting some superb racing.

Back to the men and behind Bø in the Sprint came Ondrej Moravec and Martin Fourcade. Following him in second and third in the Pursuit where Erik Lesser and Anton Shipulin. Lesser coming home for a career best finish for him as well. Another stand out result for the men has to be Canada’s Nathan Smith who finished 8th in the Pursuit after starting the year on the IBU Cup.

In the relays the German women’s team put in a great performance to win . The younger members,Preuss,Hildebrand and Dahlmeier, were especially solid on the shooting range and did well in the individual races too. Ukraine got another podium and now have to be the favourites to win gold in Sochi. Norway took third and the Canadian team did an incredible job to get their best ever result of fourth. For the men Russia came back into form with a great finish from Anton Shipulin to sprint past Schempp and take the win. It was also good to see Austria in third to put a disappointing Hochfilzen firmly behind them.

Speaking of disappointment it was a rough weekend for the French team with only Martin Fourcade’s third place to cheer about. However they have a great venue in Annecy. The tracks and the shooting range may not be the most difficult on tour but they make for great close racing that I personally love to watch. It was an UnBølievable weekend for Johannes Bø but it was also a successful one for Annecy. I can’t wait to go back!

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year! We will catch up again in Oberhof!!

P.S For new readers or anyone who is unfamiliar with the blog- a)what’s wrong with you? and b) no seriously, what is wrong with you?- I always keep an eye on whoever is wearing bib 23 and this weekend bib 23 won the men and women’s Sprint races!!!!YES!!!