Tag Archives: Biathlon Overall Title 2015/16

Pidhrushna: The second coming!

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Olena Pidhrushna is only 29! It feels like she has been around for ages! We even thought she had retired at the end of season 2013/14 but it turns out she was just on a break. She came back at the beginning of last season looking better than ever.

Pidhrusha was born in Poland on the 9th of January 1987 but obviously competes for Ukraine. Her debut season on the World Cup was back in 2008/09 where she finished 52nd in the Total Score. Last season was her best ever as she finished 7th in the Overall and won her first World Cup race taking the victory in the Sprint race in Canmore. She also finished on the podium twice with two third places in the Oestersund Individual and the Sprint.

Taking a year off where she worked for a time as Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports and had a baby seems to have worked wonders for Pidhrushna. She looked to be back to the form that helped her to win a World Championship title in Nove Mesto in 2013. There she won the gold medal in the Sprint and that same season finished 8th in the Total score by claiming another four Top 4 finishes on the World Cup.

Of course she is probably best known for her part in the Ukrainian Women’s Relay team who won the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. She took the final leg in the race and used all her experience using only 1 spare round to beat the Russian team by 26 seconds. At the start of a time of political turmoil between the two countries it had a lot of significance beyond that of just sport.

So will she be able to repeat her success next season? She is up against some very strong competition but she has the chance to move up the rankings if she continues last season’s form. Her best events seem to be those against the clock rather than head to head racing as many of her best results come in the Sprint races. This is where she has picked up most of her points, in fact she was 5th in the Sprint standing last season but dropped to 7th in the Pursuit and Mass Start rankings.

If she can improve her results in those events it will give her a good chance of getting into the Top 5 overall. She also has opportunities to add to her World Championship medal in Hochfilzen. She has a great chance of a medal in the Sprint of course and also in the Relays as Ukraine has a strong Women’s team and may also contend in the Mixed Relay. It seems that taking a year off from competing has done Pidhrushna a lot of good and she actually looks like a better biathlete in her second coming!

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Dahlmeier: Climbing to the Top!

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Where do you suppose biathletes go on their holidays? After a long, hard season you might imagine they would go somewhere hot, to the beach or somewhere exotic. Not Laura Dahlmeier, she spent her off season climbing. Not just in any mountain range though –she went to the Himalayas!

It’s no wonder she is such a fantastic biathlete. If you can climb up huge mountains in life or death situations you can manage shooting down five targets from 50 metres away. The concentration required for climbing and the amount of pressure you are under must make biathlon look like child’s play! Actually considering her age and her results she does seems to be making biathlon look much easier than it really is.

Laura was born on the 22nd of August 1993. After a successful junior career, in the 2012/13 season she won three gold and one silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Obertilliach, she made an almost seamless transition on to the World Cup. Her first season saw her finish 35th in the Total Score and she has improved every year since then and was 6th last season.

The highlight of her career so far also came last season at the World Championships in Oslo. She won gold in the Pursuit race and won 5 medals in total with silver in the Mass Start and bronze in the Sprint, Individual and Relay. These can be added to the 2 medals she won the previous year in Kontiolahti, gold in the Relay and silver in the Pursuit, to give her 7 World Championship medals before she is 23-years-old.

It is quite remarkable how well she has done for such a young woman. She also managed to take a double victory in her home race in Ruhpolding last season by winning the Pursuit and the Mass Start. She performs well in every single event whether she is against the clock in the Sprint and Individual or head to head her with other biathletes in the Pursuit and Mass Start.

If she has one weakness however it appears to be her health. For the past two seasons she has missed the opening round of the World Cup in Oestersund. This has put her at a disadvantage as there are a lot of points to be gained in the first round and so she starts the season playing catch up to the other biathletes. Maybe she is overtraining during the summer or perhaps she spends too much time up cold mountains but it would be great to see her compete over an entire season.

If she can stay healthy for the coming season she will be in with a very good chance of winning her first Overall Title. With Domracheva missing again and Kaisa another year older she has the possibility to compete with the likes of Soukalova, Dorin Habert and Wierer to win the big Crystal Globe. There is also another World Championships in Hochfilzen and she will be hoping to add to her already impressive haul of medals there.

She will turn 23 before the start of the season and although she is younger than a lot of the favourites she will be among the challengers to take Gabriela Soukalova’s title. Her shooting is amazing and her ability to handle pressure for a person of her age is outstanding. Make no mistake Dahlmeier is climbing her way to the very top!

Laura has her own website: http://www.laura-dahlmeier.de

Like her Facebook page: Laura Dahlmeier (Sportsperson)

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Season Review 2015/16: Women

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The race for the Women’s Overall Title was great this season. It was much closer and more exciting than the Men’s and it went right down to the final World Cup round in Khanty Mansiysk.

It started way back in Oestersund where Kaisa Makarainen started as favourite to win in the absence of Darya Domracheva. It was not to be this season for Kaisa who wasn’t in her best form all year however it did give others the chance to shine. Gabriela Soukalova emerged from Oestersund with the yellow bib and held on to it all season. Her closest competitors were Marie Dorin Habert and Dorothea Wierer. It was a shame that Laura Dahlmeier missed a few World Cup rounds through illness otherwise she would have been in with a shot of the title too.

Soukalova didn’t have a great World Championships in Oslo which meant that she took a lead of 69 points into the final three races in Russia. In the Sprint she was 4th and Dorin Habert was 10th which meant she secured the small Crystal Globe in that event. In the Pursuit she was 4th again to win another small globe but more importantly she won the Overall Title and the big Crystal Globe!

Dorothea Wierer won the small Crystal Globe in the Individual by winning 2 of the races in the season and coming 8th in the World Championships to beat Marie Dorin Habert, who won the World Championships race, by just 2 points.

The season’s Sprints were won by Gabriela Soukalova, Franziska Hildebrand, Marie Dorin Habert, Olga Pudchufarova, Olena Pidhrushna, Tiril Eckhoff and Kaisa Makarainen. The Pursuits went to Kaisa Makarainen, Laura Dahlmeier, Ekaterina Yurlova and Gabriela Soukalova.

Finally the Mass Starts went to Kaisa Makarainen, Laura Dahlmeier, Gabriela Soukalova, Marie Dorin Habert and Dorothea Wierer. The small globe was won by Soukalova.

The five Women’s Relays through the season were won by five different nations. On the World Cup Italy, Ukraine, France and the Czech Republic all won and then Norway took the gold at the World Championships.

As you can see from all the results above the Women’s World Cup is very competitive and there are a lot of great biathletes competing right now. Away from those at the very top it has also been a good season for Olena Pidhrushna who after her comeback from retirement has looked better than ever with a win and some podiums. Franziska Hildebrand took 2 Sprint victories and has had a good season and Olga Podchufarova got her first win too.

The Women have provided most of the entertainment this year due to the fact that no one is completely dominant like in the Men’s World Cup. Gabriela Soukalova won the yellow bib at the first round and held it all through the season and deservedly won the Total Score. She also took 3 of the 4 small globes but she did it through consistency rather than dominance. There is a lot to look forward to next season with the return of Domracheva and it will be great to see her up against Dorin Habert, Dahlmeier, Eckhoff, Soukalova and Wierer as well as old foe Kaisa Makarainen if she decides to race for another year. This season has been great but next season could be even better!

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Season Review 2015/16: Men

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Well the season is over for another year. It hasn’t been the thrilling season we might have hoped for on the Men’s side but it has been a good one all the same. Martin Fourcade won the Overall Title for the fifth season in a row. He also won all the small Crystal globes in the Sprint, Pursuit, Individual and Mass Start for the second time in his career. Did I mention that he also won 4 gold medals at the World Championships in Oslo and rumour has it he may also be able to walk on water. OK the last one maybe beyond him but nothing is out of his reach in biathlon.

It has been an incredible season for Martin. He has proved beyond a doubt that he is one of the greatest biathletes of all time and he is only 27. He still has time to win a lot more in the sport. He didn’t face much serious competition in the Total Score winning it in the end by an incredible 331 points from Johannes Boe in second.Anton Shipulin was third and Simon Schempp fourth. It’s hard to blame the other biathletes for this as he was on unstoppable form.

However an early Norwegian challenge came from Tarjei Boe who was pretty consistent through the season but didn’t win any races. Simon Schempp suffered a lot from illness and Anton Shipulin from a loss of form. Martin Fourcade would have won anyway but it would have been great to see him pushed a little bit more.

We did see some new winners on the World Cup this season which is always good. Jean Guillaume Beatrix won the Mass Start in Pokljuka and Dominik Windisch won it in Canmore and Erik Lesser in Ruhpolding. Julian Eberhard won the final Sprint race in Khanty-Mansiysk. Ole Einar won the first race of the season in Oestersund proving he is still a master of the sport and he backed it up with 4 medals at the World Championships.

Simon Eder had a good season winning a Pursuit race and a bronze medal in Oslo. The rest of the wins were shared between Fourcade, Simon Schempp, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Anton Shipulin.

Some biathletes also improved a lot over the season. Michal Krcmar of the Czech Republic had a terrific year with some great shooting and a 5th place in the World Championship Individual. Switzerland’s Serafin Wiestner has also made a step forward getting his first Top 5 finish on the World Cup. Quentin Fillon Maillet had a fantastic start to the season and had a lot of Top 10 finishes. Evgeniy Garanichev had his best season in a while finishing 7th in the Total Score and winning 2 gold medals at the European Championships in Tyumen.

The Men’s Relay’s on the World Cup were won by Russia and Norway.The USA also had good year with several Top 6 finishes.In Oslo at the World Championships Norway won gold and an amazing performance from Canada saw them win the bronze.

Overall the Men’s World Cup has been a good one but the dominance of Martin Fourcade means that it hasn’t been that exciting. I would love to see him really pushed for the title and hopefully if Simon Schempp can stay illness free, Anton Shipulin regains his form and Johannes Boe can improve his consistency it could happen next year. However that is easier said than done! If they can at least close the gap to Fourcade it will be better to watch because otherwise the Women’s World Cup is going to steal the show…again!

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WC9 Khanty Mansiysk: Review 2016

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No! It’s Khanty Mansiysk already which means it’s the final round of the World Cup. The Men’s titles were all decided before we arrived in Russia. To make a long story short Martin Fourcade won everything! The Women’s was not quite wrapped up however as it was still possible for Marie Dorin Habert to catch up with leader Gabriela Soukalova.

It was the Women who raced first on Thursday in the Sprint. It was Kaisa Makarainen who won this one missing a target but skiing back to her best to win. In second and securing the small Crystal Globe in the Sprint event was Gabriela Soukalova. As Dorin Habert finished 10th it gave her a boost for the Overall Title. Third place went to Marte Olsbu who got her first ever podium and a career best result. Obviously the relay gold from Oslo has given her a lot of confidence. Justine Braisaz also got a personal best result in 4th.

The Men’s Sprint was won by Austria’s Julian Eberhard. He shot 10/10 and won by just 1.1 seconds. As predicted by this blog earlier in the season if he ever shot clean he would win and he has! It’s quite a surprise for him to shoot clean but it got him his first ever World Cup win. Second place went to Simon Schempp who must have though he had won as he wouldn’t have expected a clean shoot from Eberhard. Third place went to another German Arnd Peiffer. Erik Lesser was 5th and Benedikt Doll was 8th which means either the Germans love Khanty Mansiysk or they messed up their World Championship preparation and are in top form two weeks too late!!

There were personal best results in the Sprint for Ukraine’s Oleksander Zhyrnyi in 13th and Bulgaria’s Anton Sinapov in 16th who both shot 10/10. Martin Fourcade missed 4 shots and finished 40th and so decided not to start in the Pursuit.

The Women’s Pursuit was first on Saturday and Kaisa Makarainen did the double with another victory. She is hitting good form a bit too late in the season. She missed 2 shots but still won by 1.5 seconds. Title challenger Marie Dorin Habert was second with 1 missed target and Dorothea Wierer was third. It was a close finish for the final podium place with Gabriela Soukalova in fourth and Franziska Preuss in fifth less than a second behind. Soukalova’s 4th place meant that she won the small globe for the Pursuit and also secured the Overall Title.

There were other good results from Juliya Dzhyma who went from 26th to 9th, Laura Dahlmeier 36th to 16th, Ekaterina Yurlova 32nd to 18th, Iryna Kryuko 38th to 23rd, Monika Hojnisz 51st to 31st, Julia Ransom 54th to 34th and Ingela Andersson 56th to 38th.

The Men’s Sprint was won by Simon Schempp. He missed 3 targets but held off Johannes Thingnes Boe who was second. He only missed 1 target but started a minute behind Schempp and he only finished 8.5 seconds behind him. Third place went to Erik Lesser who missed 2 shots. Sprint winner Julian Eberhard missed 8 targets and went back to 18th!

There were other good performances by Simon Eder 38th to 11th, Tarjei Boe 35th to 12th, Michal Krcmar 39th to 17th, Anton Shipulin 45th to 20th and Dmitry Malyshko 55th to 33rd.

The final races of the 2015/16 season were the Mass Starts. Actually they weren’t! They were both cancelled due to strong, gusty wind conditions so the season ended with a bit of an anti-climax. This meant that Soukalova would also win the small Crystal Globe for the Mass Start.

Well that is all for the season 😦 try not to be too upset! Martin Fourcade won the Overall Title for the 5th season in a row and all 4 small globes for the second time in his career. You know I think he might be quite good at biathlon! Gabriela Soukalova won the Women’s Overall Title for the first time and 3 out of 4 of the small globes with Dorothea Wierer winning in the Individual. It has been another great biathlon season and thanks for following it with biathlon23!

Oh wait a minute, I’m not quite finished yet! Look out for my Men’s and Women’s Reviews and the outcome of a up and down season for Biathlete23! Plus the one thing all the biathletes want to win – The Biathlon 23 Awards are back! 🙂

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World Champs 2016: The Pursuits!

Sunday saw both of the Pursuit races in the World Championships with the Men’s race first and the Women’s race later. Martin Fourcade was defending a lead from the Sprint of 27 seconds and Tiril Eckhoff had a lead of 15 seconds.

Unsurprisingly Martin Fourcade kept most of his advantage and won his third gold medal at these Championships. He did miss 3 targets but they were on the final two shoots when he already had enough of an advantage so made no difference to the race. He even had time to receive congratulations from his team and grab a French flag to cross the finish line with. His win means that he picks up the Sprint and Pursuit Crystal Globes and also the Overall Title for the fifth time in his career.

It seems that Fourcade’s summer training in Oslo has worked out better for him than the Norwegians! However they did better in the Pursuit with Bjoerndalen defending second place to get another silver medal. The man is incredible and is probably already considering changing his mind about retirement! In third place was Emil Hegle Svendsen who missed only 1 target coming from 17th to get the bronze medal. He beat Johannes Boe into 4th place and that’s two days in a row he has just missed the podium. To be honest he doesn’t seem to be on his usual ski form.

Other impressive performances came from Jakov Fak who came from 39th to 5th getting back into form to defend his Mass Start title. Erik Lesser went from 19th to 7th, Anton Shipulin from 45th to 9th, Nathan Smith from 46th to 15th, Yan Savitsky from 40th to 19th, Tarjei Boe from 54th to 31st, Thomas Bormolini from 56th to 37th and Jaroslav Soukup from 60th to 41st.

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The Women’s race was won as I thought it would be by Laura Dahmeier. She looked back on form with her skiing in the Sprint and her shooting is excellent. She hit 20/20 to win by nearly 50 seconds. In second place was Dorothea Wierer who missed 2 targets and third was Marie Dorin Habert who missed 3. In fact these two got a bit tangled up coming out of the range but it had no bearing on the result. Yesterday’s heroine Tiril Eckhoff finished 17th missing 7 targets although it wasn’t a surprise. I think she used all her energy celebrating her Sprint win and she would have had a lot of media commitments last night.

Other good displays came from Juliya Dzhyma who went from 31st to 9th, Fanny Horn Birkeland from 42nd to 19th, Paulina Fialkova from 49th to 23rd, Dunja Zdouc from 58th to 28th and Magdalena Gwizdon from 55th to 30th.

So now we have two rest days before the Women’s Individual on Wednesday and the Men’s on Thursday. Will Fourcade be able to get his 4th gold medal? Can anyone stop him? Who will take gold for the Women? Will Soukalova be able to do it or will Wierer continue her great form in the Individual? It’s all very exciting!:-)

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