Tag Archives: Biathlon

“Dash”ing through the snow!

dasha

It might feel like she has been around forever but Belarusian biathlete Darya “Dasha” Domracheva is still only 26 years old! She has been competing in the Biathlon World Cup since 2005 and is therefore one of the most experienced female biathletes currently competing.

She was born in Minsk in 1986 and when she was four Darya moved to Nyagan, in Siberia. In a newly created town there was little fun to be had apart from cross-country skiing, and so Darya took up the sport. Darya later changed sport to biathlon and has won an Olympic bronze medal in the Individual event, 2 gold medals, 3 silvers and 1 bronze in the World Championships including her victory in the Mass Start in Nove Mesto.

This has led to her becoming quite the celebrity in Belarus and this year she was given the honour of presenting the voting results in the Eurovision song contest. That’s when you know you have made it! Apart from presenting Dasha has also turned her hand to movie making. She documented all the biathletes from 2008 until after the 2010 Olympics showing them training, competing and relaxing which gave all the fans an amazing insight into the life of a professional biathlete. She also starred in “The Spy Who Loved Biathlon”, and as a self-confessed lover of dance, is there nothing this woman can’t do?!!!

This year Dasha will be competing in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia which I suppose will be the closest she can get to a home Olympics and I’m sure she will have a lot of Belarussian fans there to cheer her on. She produced a great performance there this year finishing first in the Individual event. She has a consistently good shooting record and she is a strong skier. Even though she seems like such a nice girl don’t be fooled as she is also a fierce competitor.

The main problem for Dasha and all the other female biathletes is of course Tora Berger. Darya has managed to finish second in the Total Score 2 years in a row. She was also second in both the Sprint and Mass Start standings last season. When she is on top form Darya is very difficult to beat but she needs to find some more consistency over the season if she is going to topple Tora from the top spot.

So will we see her dashing through the snow this season to Olympic glory? Well she has as good a chance as anybody and so hopefully we will see her dancing on the top step of the podium next season!

Don’t forget to like biathlon23 on Facebook to get the latest posts on your homepage!

Advertisements

Ant – holz Shipulin!

shipulin

Anton Vladimirovich Shipulin not only has the best name for a bond villain ever but is also a fantastic biathlete! He was born on August 21, 1987 in Tyumen, Russia and shares the biathlon limelight with older sister Anastasiya Kuzmina.

Last year was pretty successful for Anton. He won 2 medals at the World Championships in Nove Mesto, a silver in the mass start and a bronze in the pursuit. He was named Russia’s top male biathlete for helping them to Nation’s Cup victory as well as finishing 3rd in the pursuit standings and in the top ten of the total score.

He lists his favourite event as the mass start but recently he has picked up better results in the pursuit and sprint races. I don’t know what his favourite track is but I would hazard a guess at it being Antholz- Anterselva in Italy. Why do I think this? Well his results there have always been good. Last year he won both the sprint and pursuit races, the year before he was 2nd in the mass start and the year before that he took another victory in the sprint.

So what is it about Antholz that makes Anton produce these great results? The area is at altitude so maybe he performs better in those conditions. The Russian team often train there too, sometimes in between World Cup events and so that’s another reason why he is so good there. Or maybe it’s just that different athletes perform better on certain tracks and Antholz is his. I bet he wishes the Olympics were being held there as he would have a great chance of winning medals.

However they are being held in Sochi and as a Russian biathlete there is huge pressure on Anton and the rest of the team to be successful at their home Olympics. Last year seemed like a big training run for them to prepare for this season. I really hope the home team can get some good results in Sochi as I know biathlon is really popular in Russia and the biathletes have put a lot of work in to prepare for it already. For Anton it’s a great chance to take a medal in front of his home fans. All you need to do is pretend you are in Antholz, Shipulin!

I know a few Russians read the blog so большое спасибо!

Selected Results:

1st Pursuit 2012/13 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
1st Sprint 2012/13 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
1st Sprint 2010/11 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
2nd Mass Start 2012/13 Nove Mesto (CZE)
2nd Mass Start 2011/12 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3rd Pursuit 2012/13 Nove Mesto (CZE)

Don’t forget to like biathlon 23 on Facebook!

Four-gone conclusion?

fourcade

Martin Fourcade is arguably one of the best biathletes ever. He won the overall title last year and all of the individual Chrystal globes. Born 14 September 1988 in Céret, Martin is a French biathlete and non-commissioned officer in the French Army. He has won several medals at the World Championships including four golds. He is also an Olympic silver medalist and winner of the 2011–12 World Cup as well as last season’s title.

As a child he took part in many sports like judo, swimming, athletics and mountain biking. In the end he followed his big brother Simon into Nordic skiing and biathlon. (So for all the other biathletes – you know who to blame!)Meeting Thierry Dusserre was a big moment for Martin. It was he who focused his attention on biathlon and instilled the necessary discipline and importance of training well. (You can blame Thierry too!)

Last season was amazing for Martin. To wear the yellow bib from start to finish and win all the individual events is an outstanding feat especially when you consider the competition he was facing. Great consistency coupled with some of the fastest skiing I have ever seen meant he thoroughly deserved all the titles and all the plaudits he received. However the World Championships in Nove Mesto didn’t go quite to plan mainly thanks to some missed targets and a certain Mr. Svendsen. He still won a gold and 4 silvers which for most biathletes would be a dream result but I can’t help feeling that Martin was disappointed that he didn’t take home more golds.

If he has a weakness it has to be his shooting. He tends to be slower than some of his main rivals to settle on the mat before he takes his first shot and has missed a few targets when the pressure is on. However he is still a great shot! And his ski speed is so good he can usually make up for it but I wouldn’t want to rely on that in the big races. The great competitor that he is I am sure it’s something he will be working on over the summer. Like the other biathletes he was back in full training by May for next season and I am sure he will be totally focused on making sure what happened in Nove Mesto doesn’t happen again in Sochi. The Olympics only come round every 4 years so it’s crucial to be able to peak at the right time as well as maintaining form for the World Cup.

Being one of the top performers in biathlon it is nice to see the good relationship he seems to have with his closest rivals. Housing hunting with Tarjei Bø and the now obligatory hugs at the end of races with Svendsen is very good to see. His relationship with his brother Simon also seems to help Martin. I’m sure having him as a roommate and teammate is both great support and motivation and maybe Simon can give him some shooting tips too!

So is it a four-gone conclusion that Martin Fourcade will win the World Cup again and Olympic gold next season? Nothing is ever certain in biathlon, there is a lot of competition but he has a fantastic chance of doing it. The one thing that I do know is he will give it his best shot!!!
Allez Martin!

Don’t forget to like biathlon23 on Facebook!

I’m a Bøliever!

tb

Imagine you are a young Norwegian biathlete. You turn up for a competition and who do you see – Ole Einar Bjorndalen, probably the best biathlete ever, then you turn around and there is Emil Hegle Svendsen, and who is that next to him, oh yes Lars Berger and there is Halvard Hanevold in the corner. That is exactly what Tarjei Bø saw when he debuted for the Norwegian team in 2009. No pressure then!

But you know that if Norway put you into that kind of situation they must have found something a bit special. And so it proved when it took him just over a year to win his first World Cup race and another year to win the overall title.

Tarjei Bø was born in Stryn on the 29th of July 1988. At the age of 24 he has already won 7 World Championship gold medals and 1 Olympic gold medal. He missed a lot of races last season due to a virus but came back to win gold in the World Championships in Nove Mesto in the mass start and in both relays. He went on to win the sprint and take second in the pursuit in his home race in Oslo. A remarkable achievement considering a lack of summer training and competing against others whose season was in full swing.

Tarjei is one of the top biathletes of his generation. He has the advantage of being from Norway which helps as I think the vast majority of the population are born on skis! It also provides great facilities like Holmenkollen and Lillehammer and has a great tradition of winter sports to inspire and motivate their athletes. On the other hand it brings a lot of pressure. Winter sports stars in Norway are treated basically like footballers in other countries. They appear on the back and front of newspapers and go on sports shows and talk shows. Then you have the added problem of keeping your place in the Norwegian team. There is a constant production line of great young biathletes and for Tarjei he even has to watch out for his younger brother Johannes trying to steal his place!

However he seems like the type of character who can handle this type of pressure pretty well. His bromance with teammate Emil Hegel Svendsen I imagine helps him a lot. Although they may seem like the comedy double act of biathlon I am sure having a teammate who has gone through all the same things you have is a great help. There are not a lot of people out there who understand the difficulties of being an elite athlete and having one as a roommate and friend can only be a good thing, even if he does occasionally post unflattering pictures of you on instagram.

Expectation will be high for next season. An Olympic year and probably one of the hardest world cup seasons ever, what are Tarjei’s prospects? He definitely has the ability to beat Svendsen and Fourcade over a single race. He has also proven in the past that he can win consistently over the course of a season and hopefully with an illness free summer of training he will be back to his very best. I just hope all the athletes stay fit and well all season so we can see some amazing races starting in November.

So might we see a few Chrystal globes and Olympic medals for Tarjei next season, you never know for sure but I for one am a Bøliever!

Magic Miri!

gossner

 

Not only is she a biathlete but 22 year old Miriam Gössner is also a cross-country skier. One of few people who choose to compete in both events she has won an Olympic silver medal in cross-country skiing and two biathlon world championship titles all in relay events.

Miriam was born in the German alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Her father is German and her mother Norwegian. Could there be a better combination for producing a top biathlete! However this wasn’t her original choice of winter sport. She aimed for a career in alpine skiing, but following an accident during slalom training she changed disciplines to biathlon at the age of 14. Let’s just say alpine’s loss is biathlon’s gain.

Being German, a very fast skier and blonde, she is inevitably compared to Magdalena Neuner. This is a lot of pressure to heap on a young athlete. They are quite similar in that they are both better at skiing than shooting but Miri has plenty of time to improve. And she will have to improve because no matter how fast you ski you can’t make up for missing too many targets. However she is her own person and although comparisons to Neuner may be flattering they may not be helpful. She should be judged on her own performances and against her own expectations rather than other peoples. Too much pressure on young shoulders can sometimes have a negative effect, but Miri seems to be the kind of athlete who can handle it and use it to her advantage.

Next season could be a huge one for Miriam. She has the Olympics to come as well as the regular World Cup season. She also has the option of competing in two disciplines in Sochi. Will she be tempted to enter any cross-country events as well as the biathlon programme? I think it comes down to how well she shoots. If she can improve her shooting statistics to over 80% for both disciplines then she will have a great chance of winning medals next February especially in the sprint which has so far been her best event. However if she doesn’t maybe she could consider giving the cross-country a go.

One motto of hers is to “live the life you love”. A great philosophy to have and it seems as though she is doing it. You can see how much she enjoys competing and the skiing in particular. I am really looking forward to following her progress next season and I’m expecting a bit of Miri magic in the Olympics too.

Selected results:

1st Sprint 2012/13 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Sprint 2012/13 Oberhof (GER)
1st Pursuit 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Mass Start 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Sprint 2012/13 Pokljuka (SLO)
2nd Sprint 2010/11 Fort Kent, ME (USA)

Lukas: A lot to Hofer!

hofer

 

Lukas Hofer is an Italian biathlete. Born in Brunico on the 30th of September 1989, the 24 year old is a member of the Italian military. With a bronze medal to his name from the 2011 World championships in the mass start, I would argue that he is one of the best biathletes never to have won an individual race on the World Cup.

Selected results:
2nd Sprint 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
7th Pursuit 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
7th Individual 2012/13 Nove Mesto (CZE)
4th Sprint 2011/12 Oberhof (GER)
6th Sprint 2010/11 Pokljuka (SLO)
3rd Mass Start 2010/11 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)

However I don’t think that assertion will last very long. Finishing the season well with a win and a second place in the Military Championships in Annecy and a second in the last round of the World Cup, Lukas had a very positive end to the season. His ski speed is up there with the best of them and his prone shooting has always been good.

Where he sometimes frustrates is in the standing shoot. He has lost some opportunities at victory from good positions by missing one or two targets in the last standing shoot. Fortunately for Lukas he still young and I am sure these experiences will prove to make him a stronger athlete. Also shooting is arguably an easier skill to improve than ski speed so it’s something that is possible to resolve.

It is not easy for most of the current crop of biathletes to compete in an era with so many outstanding competitors. It is probably more difficult than ever to win a World Cup race. If you manage to beat Fourcade, you still have Svendsen ,Boe, Fak, Birnbacher and an assortment of Russians to get past. Difficult however is not the same as impossible. For Lukas and the other biathletes it’s a chance to test themselves against the very best and easy motivation to push themselves on to great achievements.

However as a member of the Carabinieri, Lukas could also use the tactic of arresting a few of those mentioned above when they compete in Italy giving himself a much easier chance of victory! Such underhand tactics aside I am hoping for a great season and Olympic Games for Lukas. With an improvement in his shooting stats I see no reason why he can’t give the others a run for their money.

He’s young, he’s talented and I for one think he has a lot to Hofer!!!

Also check out his website in Italian and German. It has a very cool opening page!
http://www.lukas-hofer.com/

JAKOV: THE FAKts

fak

FAKt 1: Unmissable in his yellow ski suit, Jakov Fak has become one of the most recognisable biathletes around and one of the most popular, which is a little surprising as he doesn’t come from one of the “big” biathlon nations.

FAKt 2: Jakov was born on 1 August 1987 in Rijeka, Croatia. He originally competed for Croatia but trained with the Slovenian team. With this system he won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2009 and a bronze medal at the last Olympics in 2010.

FAKt 3: Later in 2010 he switched to compete for Slovenia. This brought more success in the form of a gold medal in the individual and a silver in the mixed relay at the 2012 World Championships in Ruhpolding. And this year he won the sprint in his home race in Pokljuka.

FAKt 4: Jakov is one of the faster skiers on the World Cup tour. He also has a pretty consistent shooting record both in the prone and stand positions. This is pretty impressive for someone who almost lost his trigger finger due to 3rd degree frostbite in 2011.

FAKt 5: Jakov finished the season 4th overall, a personal best, behind Fourcade, Svendsen and Landertinger. A significant progression from his 17th in the previous year. He was on the podium seven times including his sprint Bronze at the IBU World Championships.

2012/13 Selected Results:

1st SPRINT Pokljuka (SLO)
2ND MASS START Pokljuka (SLO)
1ST PURSUIT Hochfilzen (AUT)
3RD SPRINT Hochfilzen (AUT)
2ND PURSUIT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Nove Mesto (CZE)

So those are the fakts what about some opinion. As you can see from the results, Jakov has probably done best in the Sprint event. Considering the group of biathletes he is competing against that is no easy feat. For this reason I would give him a big chance of upgrading his Olympic sprint bronze to gold next year. I would love to see him challenge for the Chrystal globe in this event too. Let’s face it someone needs to wrestle a few of those globes from Fourcade and I reckon he is the man for the job in the sprint if not some of the other events too.

Also it can’t be easy to decide to represent another country . Although having little choice if he wanted to become more successful and continue competing, I would imagine that it is still not an easy decision to make. Hopefully this has provided him with a stronger mental attitude and the added motivation of making not just 1 but 2 nations proud.

He also seems like a nice guy as he regularly updates his Facebook page and comments on or likes the fans messages which not a lot of people do. And his performance in “The Spy who loved Biathlon” was hilarious and surely a role as a comic actor awaits him after he hangs up his skis!

So in conclusion, nice guy, comedian, fast skier, good shot and the support of two nations behind him, in short a great biathlete.

And that’s a fakt!


Don’t forget you can like biathlon23 on Facebook!