Tag Archives: Canadian biathlon

Mark Arendz: The Interview 2!

Mark Arendz is a Canadian para biathlete and cross country skier who competes in the standing races. He is a double World Champion in biathlon after winning gold in the Sprint (7.5km) and Middle distance (12.5km) races in Finsterau in February 2017. He also won silver in the Individual (15km) biathlon race as well as bronze in both the 10km and Open Relay cross country races. The 27-year-old from Prince Edward Island also has a silver and bronze medal in biathlon from the Sochi Paralympics. This is his second interview for biathlon23 which of course eclipses all these achievements! 😉

Follow Mark on Twitter: @markarendz
Have a look at his website: http://www.markarendz.com/

You are a double biathlon World Champion! How does that feel? Can you describe your winning races in Finsterau?

Reassuring, confidence building. All of my performances in Finsterau confirmed that my training and preparations were right on. My focus is on the process, controlling factors I have control over. If I can cross a finish line knowing I executed a perfect race plan, then I can be satisfied with the result regardless of what it is. The first race of the Championships, the Middle Distance, was about staying clean and consistent skiing times. That race set a great tone for me throughout the rest of the Championships. The Sprint was a tight finish and led to some tense moments afterward awaiting the results. I skied a strong race, but success for me was hitting the five targets in the second bout. After going clean; it was simple, get to the finish as fast as possible.

You did 6 races at the World Championships and medalled in 5 of them. How tough is it to do that both mentally and physically?

True, I did a lot of races in Finsterau. I had to take each day by its self. I woke up each morning with my plan for the day. I kept my focus on that plan and what I could control. In the end, I was fortunate enough to celebrate a few evenings. After four races, I was feeling quite beat up on that final rest day. The body recovered well enough so that I could wake up the next morning and win the Biathlon Sprint. I finished the week with a surprising third place in the Cross Country Middle Distance.

Are you going to do all the events in PyeongChang? It’s a pretty tough schedule, have you considered targeting specific races?

In PyeongChang, at the Games, my priority is on the three Biathlon races. If the body is holding up and everything is going well, my next priority will be on being prepared to be part of a Relay team. Any other races will be a day to day decision based on health and energy levels.

You had some good results on the World Cup in PyeongChang. Do you like the tracks and range there?

I have been at the venue in PyeongChang twice now. I do enjoy the courses there. There are a lot of working sections, and some big, steep climbs. The wind is a little unpredictable which should make for some interesting shooting. I look forward to battling out it with my fellow competitors.

You get to start the season in your back garden in Canmore! What is it like racing at home? Do you feel some extra pressure to perform well?

It is always exciting to race at home, in front of family and friends. To have the edge in knowing every single snowflake on the course. Or how the weather will affect the conditions. The key to success will be to distinguish between an everyday training session and a World Cup race morning! For performance, there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed!

What have you been doing for summer training?

A busy summer with several training camps in Bend and Mammoth Lakes in the United States. The Snow Farm in New Zealand where I was on-snow for three weeks. Throughout the rest of the summer, I have been doing a lot of roller skiing, biking both on the road and off. Of course running, exploring the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Some time spent in the gym as well. It is all about the fine details that will make the difference come March.

It will be your third Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. How do you think para-biathlon has changed over the years? Is there anything you would like to change about it for the future?

The depth in the fields has been one of the biggest changes in the past few years. There are several competitors in each category that are capable of winning. I would love to see the Pursuit format perfected and replace the Middle Distance race at major competitions.

You are the Nordic skiing athlete representative. What does that involve and are you enjoying it?

At the test event in PyeongChang, I was elected by the other athletes to become the Athlete Representative. It is a new role I am taking on and so far I have enjoyed. Being part of the decisions, shaping the future of the sport. The sport of Nordic Skiing is off and running but now is the time to make decisions on how we approach the future. I have been on conference calls once every two weeks. Once we get to the Winter, there will be a few meetings at several of the World Cups to openly discuss issues and hopefully, brainstorm ideas to make our sport better.

Obviously training takes up a lot of your time but what do you do in your free time? Any exciting hobbies we should know about?!

Besides following Biathlon23, no, there are no exciting hobbies as of yet. I’m open to any suggestions!

This is the greatest answer ever given to a Biathlon23 interview question!!! 🙂

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Advertisements

Emma Lunder: The Interview!

Emma Lunder is a Canadian biathlete from North Vancouver. She was born on the 2nd of September 1991 and she made her World Cup debut in 2014. She has competed for Canada in two Junior World Championships and made her first appearance at the Senior World Championships last season in Hochfilzen. In Season 2014/15 she got a second place finish on the IBU Cup in the Sprint at her home race in Canmore and last season she achieved her personal best of 21st in Antholz on the World Cup.

Follow her on Twitter: @EmmaLunder
Take a look at her blog: http://emmalunder.blogspot.co.uk/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I followed my brother into biathlon through Sea Cadets, and once I graduated high-school I decided to give it a serious shot and see how far I could get. A huge part for biathlon for me now is the teammates I get to train with everyday, and the amazing biathlon community I’m so lucky to be a part of.

You got your best result so far last season in the Antholz Individual. What are your memories from that race and how did you feel at the end?

My result in Antholz was really special because it came as a total surprise, and it reignited my confidence and love for this sport. I was beyond happy to hit all but one target in the Individual, and at the end I felt so overwhelmed with support from our team, coaches and wax crew who knew what a big deal placing 21st was for me.

Last season was pretty big for you with a good run on the World Cup post Christmas and going to the World Championships. How do you assess the season overall?

I was quite happy with last season. I struggled a lot on the shooting range with prone, but I was really persistent with trying to fix my mistakes, and by the end of the season my shooting was on an upward trajectory. With a personal best, and my first time at World Championships last winter, it’s been really motivating for my training so far this season.

Like you said your shooting improved last season. Is that something you were specifically working on and if so what were you doing to make it better?

My standing shooting has been pretty solid for me, but it was nice last year to see even an improvement in that. I was making some really basic technical errors in my prone, so once my coaches and I figured out what I was doing, we started taking steps to get those few things under control.

You won “Testival” for the second year in a row. Can you explain what that is and why you are so good at it?

Testival is basically a week of test events that the national team does every year in the summer and fall. There are 3 uphill tests (running, double pole and skate) and then 2 shooting tests. I really love going uphills, so I usually do quite well in the fitness tests. The shooting tests are where I usually lose points, but with some more attention to a few technical shooting cues I was able to have way more consistent shooting tests this year. It helps that I got to wear the “Queen” bib to motivate me all through the testing, and I really didn’t want to let anyone else have it!

What else have you been doing for summer training?

This year our team lost all of its funding, so instead of the 3 training camps we usually do, we’ve been staying in Canmore and taking advantage of all the great opportunities we can find in the mountains. This year I’ve done a few more long run/hikes and adventure workouts with the girls, as well as just trying to keep things exciting in day-to-day training.

The Winter Olympics are coming up this season. What do you need to do to qualify to represent Canada?

We will be sending a team of 4 women to the Olympics, so I need to be in the top-4 by mid-January. We have some complicated criteria that will determine who the team is, and a lot of the benchmarks are top-30’s on the World Cup, so I’m looking to achieve a few more of those!

You are also a barista! Can you do that fancy art on top of the coffee? Some of your teammates are coffee obsessed! Is that all they talk to you about? 😉

Yes I’ve been working at Starbucks for 8 years! Sarah Beaudry and I are the two women on our team working for Starbucks, and we’re the only two on the team who don’t drink coffee on a regular basis 😉 I’m slowly working on my latte art… I leave the really fancy stuff up to Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green who are our team’s true coffee connoisseurs.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

My favorite race course is probably Kontiolahti. I like the ripping downhills and killer climbs.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

Magdalena Neuner – she was the first female biathlete I started following, and meeting her in Vancouver in 2010 made me want to train harder and get onto the World Cup circuit.

Does your rifle have a name?

Nope!

Describe yourself in three words.

Entertaining, emotional, mischievous.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway – for the brown cheese!
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Aita Gasparin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy for the last 2 years
Favourite shooting range: Antholz
Lucky bib number: 39
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Benjamin Weger
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Anais Bescond
Best thing about being a biathlete: Getting to travel the world with my amazing team.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Julia Ransom: The Interview!

ransom

Julia Ransom is a Canadian biathlete who was born on the 4th of February 1993 in Penticton. She made her international debut in 2009 and finished last season 52nd in the Total Score. Her personal best finish to date is 19th place which she achieved twice last season, first in the Antholz Pursuit and again in Canmore this time in the Sprint.

Follow Julia on Twitter: @Jooliawoolia
Take a look at her website: http://juliaransom.ca/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I have been cross country skiing for as long as I can remember, thanks to my parents enrolling me in the Telemark Jackrabbits Program and then later the Telemark Racing Team. Our little team of 12 year olds were skiing by the range one day and were called over to try shooting. I was hooked after that! What 12 year old wouldn’t like shooting with skis on?

You got your equal personal best result in Canmore last season. Can you describe the race and what it felt like racing at home?

It was so special to post a personal best at home in front of my family and loved ones. Besides religiously watching the Eurosport live feed at two or three in the morning, my parents have never seen me race World Cups in person, let alone enjoy a race from the comfort of a snack and beer tent! I also had extended family, my boyfriend, and neighbours come out to cheer which made the whole day that much better!

You had a great season last year with personal best of 19th and a 20th place finish in the World Championships. Why do you think you did so well?

The boys make fun of me for loving almost everything in Norway… Madshus, Gravlax, trolls, you name it. It’s only fitting to have my best results there! Joking aside, I think last season’s results can be attributed to a culmination of careful planning, hard work, and a determined attitude from the entire Canadian Team and support staff. Everyone came to training ready to bring it and raise the bar from the day before. We have jelled a lot as a team and that has shown through not only personal bests, but team bests.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan until the season starts?

This summer has been awesome! It started off with a women’s volume camp in my hometown, Kelowna. Anais Bescond joined us and we all stayed at my parents house. Mama Ransom had fresh baking waiting for us after almost every training session and kept “Wine Camp” living up to its name. In August, the team ventured down south and had a fantastic training camp at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. We enjoyed perfect snow conditions and amazing food, simply walking out the doors to the trails. It was particularly special for me because my boyfriend came out to help out with the team and enjoy some skiing before heading back to school. We also snuck in a little mini vacation on the North Island before the camp started. I have just finished training with the team in Park City, Utah one of my favourite camps. It’s great altitude exposure and usually a few extra weeks of ‘summer’ before the snow track is laid down in October.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: Finding coffee shops with Rosanna.
Weaknesses: the dessert buffet in Pokljuka.

What are your goals for this season?

My goal this season is simply to better those 19th places. Top 10 would be pretty sweet!

In the past you have done some volunteer coaching. Are you still doing that and why is it important to you? Would you like to become a coach in the future?

I love coaching young kids. They are a breath of fresh air with their keenness to learn and excitement to just get outside and play! I don’t see myself becoming a professional coach, but I will definitely keep volunteering with kids sport.

It’s thanks to your hairdressing skills that Nathan Smith won his World Championship medal. Do the rest of the team get you to cut their hair now too?

Haha! I only really feel confident doing one hair style, so that limits my clientele.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

My favourite course is Oberhof because it seems to produce the best Youtube Crash videos.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

I will have to say Anais Bescond. After getting to know her more this past year, I’ve learnt that she is not only a successful athlete, but a fun-loving, genuine, and humble person.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Nathan Smith. He made his own stock and always surprises me with his carbon fibre skills.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Czech Republic
Favourite shooting range: Holmenkollen
Lucky bib number: Obviously, 23! (YES!)
Best thing about being a biathlete: The lifestyle.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Macx Davies: The Interview!

macx2


Macx Davies in a Canadian biathlete who was born in Calgary on the 24th of December 1992. He made his international debut in 2011 and last season in Oestersund he achieved his personal best result when he came 10th in the Sprint race. He is also renowned for his dancing skills (see Russian TV), his biathlon movie (see Norwegian TV) and of course his beard which won him Best Facial Hair 2015/16 in the Biathlon23 Awards.

You can like his Facebook page: Macx Davies Biathlete.

Who spells Macx with a C? Explain yourself or at least your parent’s decision?!

First off, yes my name is spelt M-A-C-X, and my parents actually switched my name when I was very young from Mckenzie, which was my name at birth, because there was a lot of girls being named Mckenzie at the time. So they changed it to Macx and kept the C to be a little different.

Why did you decide to become a biathlete?

I decided to become a biathlete because cross country skiing became very predictable and fitness based. But when I tried biathlon for a summer in 2006 I realized that here was a sport similar to cross country skiing with the unpredictability of shooting, and after a year of biathlon I was hooked (even though that first year and many more after I was terrible at shooting).

You got 10th place in the Oestersund Sprint last season. Can you describe the race and how you felt at the end getting your best ever result?

The race in Oestersund this year was the craziest race of my life. First thing, starting bib #99, which is the well known number of Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky, was very special for me. But to then go out and forget to load one of my magazines, which I only realized after my first shooting, made it a very crazy day, as I was just trying to figure out how I could get another from my coaches. But after a lap of yelling at my wax techs, I was told they had a spare magazine waiting for me in the range. So I could relax as I skied the last hundred meters into my standing shooting. However I was given a magazine that didn’t fit into my rifle… Luckily I had 5 spare rounds on my rifle and I single loaded each shot. Now if you remember it was a very windy day and nobody was shooting great, but through all this confusion I pulled off a perfect day on the range and was very surprised when my wax techs told me I was in 10th after the shooting. After I heard that I knew that I had to ski as hard as I could, and I managed to hold the position all the way to the finish line. After the race I was stunned, it took more than a week for me to realize just how good that race was. And thinking about it now I still don’t believe how well I did!

What are your plans for summer training?

Summer training is going to be a little different this year, normally we stay around Canmore, Canada for most of the summer, but the team is trying something new and we are spending 3 weeks in New Zealand on snow in August. Then we will head back home for some good training before going to Salt Lake City in the US for another 2 weeks in the fall then back to Canmore to be on snow in October.

What are your goals for this season?

For this season I was shooting for an individual Top 6 and multiple Top 16 finishes as well as some more podium relay performances for Canada.

Canadian biathlon is doing really well right now. Why do you think that is?

Canada is lucky to have some amazing athletes at the top end of the sport for the last few years. To me is all comes from finally figuring out the combination of training that works for us, as well as having a few role model athletes to follow, the likes of JP Le Guellec, Nathan Smith, Brendan Green and Scott Perras.

You won the Biathlon23 Award for Best Facial Hair last season. Is that your biggest achievement to date? Will you be trying to retain your title?

I was surprised to win the award for best facial hair, but now that I know it is possible I will be trying every year! I would say the reward is equal to my Oestersund sprint race.

You starred in a Norwegian video at the World Championships in Oslo. Do you regret stopping for an interview now? What did you think of the video?

I LOVED that video! I was the perfect touch to that amazing day at the World Championships! I am so happy that I stopped for the interview and only hope everyone else liked it as much as the whole Canadian Team did.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Which is it and why?

My favourite biathlon track is Oberhof, because I find crazy weather always works to my advantage. Though Pokljuka to me is the best skiing track with a bit of everything.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

My favourite biathlete is Bjorn Ferry, he showed me that you can be among the best and still have a great sense of humour.

Does your rifle have a name?

I have never named my rifle actually. Though I might have to think of one…..

Describe yourself in three words.

Macx in three words, “Is The Man”. I’m just joking, here are three words: Determined, Powerful, Relaxed.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Nathan Smith(designed his own, then made it himself)
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France their 2015 suits
Favourite shooting range: Nove Mesto
Lucky bib number: 99
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Christian Gow
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Martin Fourcade
Best thing about being a biathlete: the lifestyle, exercise, travel and friends.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Andrew Chisholm: The Interview!

chisholm

Andrew Chisholm is a Canadian ski technician and former biathlete. He was born in Calgary on the 17th of November 1991 and started biathlon at age 13. He recently retired from the sport and is now preparing the skis for his former teammates.

Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewkchisholm

You gave up biathlon and became a ski technician. Why was that?

There were definitely multiple reasons as to why I quit, but one big reason was that I was just struggling to improve and keep my performances at a level I found acceptable. I’m not a small guy by any means, so I struggled a lot with the big climbs. I ended up becoming a ski technician a little bit by accident. I was attempting a transition into sliding sports (I was hoping to be a bobsleigh brakeman for the 2015/16 season) and I was actually hitting all of the testing numbers that I needed to do so (weight lifting, sprinting, jumps, throws, etc), but I ended up having a brutal hamstring injury a few days before the official tryout day. I couldn’t even walk properly, and I knew it was going to be a long road for proper recovery, so I asked our then head technician Tom Zidek if I could try to get on board with the wax team and he took me on right away. What I was thinking would be a little bit of part time work turned into an incredible opportunity, and I’m more than grateful for it!

Can you describe your typical race weekend?

We arrive a few days before the first race, get the skis cleaned and zeroed with the same wax for testing, and then it becomes a bit of a cycle of testing, cleaning, waxing, repeat! Race day is just a repeat of that process except we will test the wax and best skis for the day and get those skis out to the athletes on time.

What are the best and worst things about being a ski technician?

I honestly love everything about being a ski technician. Everything from the skiing, the testing, being on tour, the creativity we can use to try and gain an edge over the other nations… all I’ve really done is apply my love of competition to ski teching instead of racing!

The worst parts might be the long time away from your family and friends, but with how well you can keep in touch with Skype or Facetime nowadays, it’s not so bad. You have a bit of a family on the road too.

Are you responsible for certain biathletes skis or do help with them all?

I help with them all. Some days each tech will take on a certain athlete with the testing, but the team works as a whole to make sure everyone has the best skis possible.

Have you ever had any waxidents? (accidents with wax)

I’ve burned my arm with the iron once, dumped over base cleaner a few times… The only real accident I can remember was once I waxed an athlete’s skis differently that we had tested to be best, but there was plenty of time to re-wax them the way we had agreed on!

Is the world of wax very secretive? Have you ever been tempted to go and spy on what the other teams are doing? Do they spy on you?

Kind of. No. Not sure.


Do you ever get wax truck envy or are you happy with Canada’s set up?

I don’t get envy at all, we are able to do a pretty good job with what we have. I’m mostly happy with the set up, there are a few things I would have done differently if I was designing it all from the ground up, but I think that would be the same for anyone. Everyone has their own vision!

Do you have any good waxing tips for the non-expert?

Yeah, remember to do it 😉 In terms of race waxing, I’d say make sure you brush and wipe down your skis well. It doesn’t matter how fast your wax is if you don’t finish it properly!

Canada had a great season in 2015/16 with a World Championship bronze for the Men’s Relay Team and a Single Mixed Relay podium. Is it a coincidence that this happened in your first season? How much credit are you taking for the success?

With a question like that I feel like you’ve been hearing some rumours! I’d definitely say it was a coincidence. I won’t deny that I brought something new to the team, but I can’t take very much credit at all. It was the culmination of several years of hard work done by the athletes, coaches, staff, and tech crew before me. In my opinion it had been a long time coming and it just happened to all come together the year that I joined the team.

Did your rifle have a name?

Nope!

Describe yourself in three words.

I am terrible at things like this so I asked some of my best friends outside of biathlon and this is what they came up with:

“Is remarkably average.” (You can really feel the love with that one…)

Maybe the best three words that describe me are probably “Up to something”

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlete (past or present): The Canadians. I grew up training and racing with them, having them as role models, or both!
Favourite biathlon track: Whistler.
Favourite event: (sprint, pursuit etc): Pursuit
Best race you have prepared skis for: Best result: Ostersund Single Mixed Relay (also my first race with the team)
Most Fun: Relays at Presque Isle
Best skis: Obertilliach IBU Cup

Favourite wax tech: Can’t choose just one!
Favourite wax truck (not your own): The French team. They have one of the best ventilation systems in my opinion.
Favourite ski suit design (any nation): For the last season, I think the Finnish had the best.
Favourite rifle design: I liked my old stock that I built with the Van Halen style paintjob, but Nathan Smith’s is probably #1 for me right now.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Megan Tandy: The Interview!

tandy

Megan Tandy is a Canadian biathlete from Prince George in British Columbia who currently lives in Germany. She was born on the 10th of September 1988 and is part of Biathlon Canada’s A Team. Last season was her best so far achieving her best finish to date. She is really looking forward to the coming season where she will be able to compete in a home World Cup in Canmore.

You can follow Megan on Twitter: @meganTandy88
You can like her Facebook Page: Megan Tandy -Heinicke-

Why did you want to become a biathlete?

Because I wanted to shoot! I first tried biathlon with my local club when I was 12. I had already done cross country ski lessons and one day when I was skiing with my family we saw the biathlon team practising. The coaches let me try it, standing targets from the prone position with a rest, but nevertheless I was so stoked to hit 5 for 5. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. Bragging rights at school for sure!

Last season was your best ever finishing 11th and getting another 9 Top 30 finishes. How pleased were you with how the season went and what are your goals for this season?

I was really pleased with the season. During the last year there have been a lot of changes in my life: I separated from my ex-husband last summer and going through all the stress of a separation with a young child has been difficult and exhausting. That being said, last season I found myself feeling more confident than I have in years, more motivated and surrounded by so much positive energy and support. Basically, I was delighted and surprised to have such a good season despite everything I had going on in the background. My goals for next season – TOP 10! I was quite close to breaking into the Top 10 last season and this year I want to shave off those extra few seconds 🙂

You currently live in Germany. How does that help you and where do you train? Do you miss not being able to train with your Canadian teammates?

Training in Germany works well in some ways – there are a lot of athletes and a lot of great training facilities within a small area – at least compared to Canada! Training conditions are great. I split my time training in Ruhpolding, where I have world class facilities and world class athletes to train alongside, and Klingenthal, where I mostly train alone but enjoy the long, peaceful training sessions. I definitely miss my teammates – I was able to join some of my team for 2 weeks this July and it was great! Training is not about having fun per se, but I do miss the social aspect sometimes. I am looking forward to joining them again this winter.

How does your funding situation work? As you don’t train at the Nordic Centre in Canmore could this cause you problems in the future in terms of getting funds from Biathlon Canada?

This is a tricky situation for me. Not being a resident at a Canadian National Training Center caused me not to receive federal funding for 4 years which was a huge challenge. Without a top 8 finish at World Championships this year I will not meet the ‘out of country’ qualifications to receive funding. It is disappointing but the funding situation will determine whether I am able to continue racing until the 2018 Olympics or not. I am so grateful to the private sponsors who have made it possible for me to come this far, but even this can be tricky as a Canadian spending so much time overseas.

Describe your typical race day. What time do you get up? What do you eat? etc

Usually I get up early on race days. I am always too excited and too nervous to sleep in – even if my race isn’t until the evening. I am one of those people who can literally eat ANYTHING and feel fine. As a junior athlete I sometimes started races after having eaten a chocolate bar or something weird. These days my race day food is pretty boring: coffee, juice, porridge and often boiled egg.

What are your strengths as a biathlete and what are your weaknesses? Do you have anything that you specifically want to improve before next season?

I am definitely a better shooter than skier. I feel like my biggest strength on the shooting range last season was mental, even at exciting moments like the last bout before hitting 20/20 in an Individual race or being in 2nd position in the women’s relay, I was really good at focusing on the next target and not letting my own excitement distract me from my job. My ski technique is the biggest thing I need to improve – I am just not a natural glider so I need to work really hard on having good glide and good balance while skiing.

Sportspeople are famous for being superstitious. Do you have any superstitions? Do you always put your right/left ski on first or wear the same underwear on race day?!

I am actually not superstitious at all. When I was younger I sometimes told myself that if I had a good bib number I would have a good races or something but nowadays I am pretty practical and boring – the only thing I believe in is myself on each day and my ability to bring together a good performance, or not.

How excited are you that there will be a World Cup round in Canmore this season?

So excited! Canmore is ‘’only’’ about 700km from my hometown Prince George, BC which feels like nothing compared to most of our races here in Europe. I can’t wait to race at home with Canadian fans and my own family there to watch. It is also a wonderful way to build excitement about biathlon in Canada. Biathlon isn’t the most popular sport and we haven’t always had a lot of exposure at home since the 2010 Olympics despite amazing results from our team last season.

Does your rifle have a name?

No…that is so sad, I should probably think of one. I just call it ‘rifle’.

Describe yourself in three words.

Stubborn, stubborn and stubborn. Just because I can be a bit of a perfectionist.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Ruhpolding
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Pursuit
Favourite/best race of your career so far? 11th place Sprint result in Ruhpolding, or my 10/10 relay leg in the Sochi Olympics
Favourite food: Warm, fresh bread or possibly gummy bears depending on the day
Favourite singer/band: …my boyfriend in the shower when he thinks I’m not listening!
Favourite film: Pride and Prejudice
Favourite TV show: Orange is the New Black

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Nathan Smith: The Interview!

smith

Season 2014/15 was a historic one for Canada’s Nathan Smith. He became the first Canadian to win a World Championship medal when he took silver in the Sprint in Kontiolahti. He then went on to win his first race in the Pursuit in Khanty Mansiysk at the last round of the World Cup. Nathan was born in Calgary on the 25th of December 1985. This season he has the chance to race at a home World Cup in Canmore in February the town where he currently lives.

You can like Nathan’s Facebook Page: Nathan Smith Fanpage

Why did you want to become a biathlete?

I didn’t know anything about biathlon when I started. I already cross country skied with Foothills Nordic, and of course as a 10 year old boy, when I found out that there was a similar sport with guns…

Has last season sunk in yet? You won World Championship silver in Kontiolahti and your first World Cup race in Khanty! Does that put more pressure on you to win and get podiums or is it just more motivation to do better? And do you like places that start with “K”?

Yeah I’d say it took a while but after a good month of training I felt pretty settled by the beginning of June. No one has been putting pressure on me, but I would obviously like to continue the success with more podiums. I also understand that results at World Championships are vitally important for my team’s funding. I never thought of that before, but yes, I guess I have had quite a bit of luck in places starting with K.

As a native of Calgary there must have been a Stampede of media and journalists wanting a piece of your time after the World Champs! (see what I did there!) What is it like suddenly getting more attention than normal?

I did get a little more attention than normal, but to me honest it was pretty underwhelming. They are only interested for a day or two and then move onto the next story. Most sports journalists in Calgary unfortunately haven’t really gotten exposed much to biathlon and therefore don’t go out of their way to get a story.

Your win means some more funding for Canadian biathlon and gave you the chance to go to Norway for the Blink Festival. You must be really proud that your medal can also help your teammates but do you remind them of it occasionally and get them to make your breakfast etc? 😉

My team mates actually remind ME of it way more than necessary. Whenever I’m doing something well, or different, there are always teasing comments. Maybe I should start swinging my weight around more to get breakfast made. I’ll try that at the next camp.

What training have you done so far and what is the plan for the rest of the break?

So far I’ve done training camps in Jasper, Norway, and Vermont. Both the Jasper and Norway camps were new settings for me. Jasper was focused on volume, altitude, and exploring a new place close to home. Norway was awesome for training with athletes from other countries, and racing under high pressure in Blink Festival. We have our last camp of the year starting in about 3 weeks in Utah. I always enjoy training there on the long, empty roads and mountain passes.

Describe your typical race day. What time do you get up? What do you eat? etc.

Usually we race in the afternoon or evening so I don’t have to wake up too early. A leisurely sleep until maybe 830 or 9, then head down to breakfast which is usually buffet style. I always go for eggs and oatmeal, as well as bacon if it’s there. Before leaving to the race site I grab a quick light lunch, usually a little pasta but not too much meat.

I always try to fit in a short 10 minute dry fire session at the hotel where I can visualize the race with shooting. Its also important for me to go for a little 20 minute jog and stretching session to make sure my back won’t start hurting during the race later.

You won a biathlon23 Award for best improver last season! A great honour! What are your strengths as a biathlete and what are your weaknesses? Do you have anything that you specifically want to improve before next season so you have a chance of winning the award again?

I think my biggest strength is shooting speed. I can pretty consistently be one of the fastest on a given day. I’ve been working really hard on my uphill climbing over the last couple years and its been paying off. A couple of my team mates are really strong at that so they push me.

You are lucky to be able to train in a great place like Canmore. How excited are you that there will be a World Cup round there this season? Does it give you an advantage knowing the tracks so well?

I’m really excited for it. It’s a huge opportunity to showcase our sport and race in front of all our family and friends. I don’t think knowing the tracks will be much of an advantage, but it will definitely be an advantage to sleep in my own bed, eat normal food, and have no travel.

Canada has some really great biathletes at the moment. What are your goals for the season personally and what do think the team can achieve in terms of relay performances?

Personally, I’m hoping for a couple more medals next year, with a special emphasis on World Championships and the Canmore races. Our team showed consistent results of 5-9th most of the season in relays, so I think with another year of experience we can regularly get into the prize ceremony. I’d also really like to team up with Rosanna and try a single-mixed relay. I think we could do pretty well.

I recently saw a photo of you standing next to a big pick up truck that had your name on it!! What’s that all about?

Yeah, I’ve been super lucky to be supported by Canmore Chrysler, who are lending me a Ram 1500. Its a lot bigger than my old car and I’m still getting used to parking it in tight spaces.

Is your nickname really Harry Potter? Personally I don’t think you look like him but maybe it’s because you are a wizard at biathlon? 😉

It’s true. That got started when I was probably 15 years old. Maybe I looked more like him back then. Its also been apparently abbreviated to Potts, which the wax techs label my skis with.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Deliberate, Relaxed, Patient

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track:Canmore or Kontiolahti
Favourite biathlete (past or present):Ole Einar Bjørndalen
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc):Mass Start
Favourite/best race of your career so far? World Champs silver
Favourite food: Wraps and Root Beer
Favourite sports team: Calgary Stampeders
Favourite TV show: Castle

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!