Tag Archives: Celia Aymonier

Spring Things 2020!

Well Spring was not much fun this year, was it? With most of us on lockdown there wasn’t much going on. Or was there? As you know biathlon never stops and even if the athletes were stuck at home there were still some things happening!

Firstly I have to say it was quite nice to not have to look at all the biathletes holiday pictures on social media having better vacations than we do, right!

As we all know (and haven’t recovered from yet) there were some big retirements at the end of last season with Kaisa Makarainen and Martin Fourcade both ending their careers. It kind of overshadowed all the other retirees but there were a lot of biathletes hanging up their rifles this spring.

Celia Aymonier was another French athlete to go along with Fourcade. Italy lost Thierry Chenal and Alexia Runggaldier. Michal Slesingr announced the end of his career in Nove Mesto and then Veronika Vitkova joined him after annoucing she was retiring and having a baby! Congratulations to her!

Alexey Volkov has finished being an athlete and is now a coach. Emily Dreissigacker has retired from the US team and
Terezia Poliakova from Slovakia has also called it a day. Austria’s Fabienne Hartweger has stopped at just 28 and earlier in the season Chardine Sloof the Dutch biathlete who later raced for Sweden finished her career at 27 as did France’s Myrtille Begue who has hung up her rifle at age 23.

It was also reported that Krasimir Anev has finished his career apparently to do with differences with the Bulgarian Biathlon Federation.

We don’t like retirements but there was good news from Norway when para biathlon legend Nils-Erik Ulset had a baby son called Olav. He can now join the 2043 Norwegian men’s super relay team alongside Magnus Svendsen and Gustav Boe!

It was also announced that Stina Nilsson, Sweden’s World and Olympic medallist in cross country skiing, has decided to become a biathlete! Imagine if you will a sprint finish between Eckhoff, Herrmann, Roeiseland, Wierer and Nilsson! OK so it’s not that likely to happen but it would be awesome! 😉

As usual in the biathlon off season the coaches packed up their bags and did a little shuffle up and down the range to join their new teams! Are there no new coaches in biathlon? They all just swap around every summer!

In France Franck Badiou left his postition as the women’s shooting coach to be replaced by Jean Paul Giachino. Giachino had previously worked (you guessed it) as the French women’s shooting coach!!!

Gerald Hoenig has left the German team to take over as the Austrian women’s shooting coach. He is replaced in the German team by Engelbert Sklorz.

Ondrej Rybar as well as being sporting director of the Czech team will also return to his role as head coach of the men’s team. Aleš Liguan will work as his assistant with Zdeněk Vitek moving to coach the IBU Cup team.

In Ukraine Juraj Sanitra will be head coach for both the men and women. Alexey Kravchenko and Roman Pryma will work as coaches for the men while Alexander Bilanenko and Igor Yashchenko will work with the women’s team.

Belarus have also made changes with former Austrian men’s coach Reinhard Gösweiner becoming the new women’s coach and
Andrei Padin the new coach of the men’s team.

Sweden have added an extra shooting coach, Jean Marc Chabloz, to the World Cup team.

Unfortunately the Summer World Championships have been cancelled this season due to corona virus. They were to have been held in Ruhpolding from the 19-23 August. This is mainly because all mass events in Germany have been cancelled until the 31st August.

The IBU congress has also been rescheduled from September to November in Prague so the delegates will have to wait a little longer for the freebies and the cheap beer!

The IBU also announced that it has joined the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework and have launched a new website for their new Biathlon Integrity Unit. Seriously the IBU and BIU! Get some new letters at least!

They also released some findings from their fan survey which showed that people would like an app to follow biathlon and also that 100% of fans want Biathlon23 to be the next IBU president. Disclaimer: the last result may not be entirely accurate!

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Season Preview 2019/20: The Women!

The women’s World Cup is the best, isn’t it?! Year after year it has been producing the best racing and the closest title fights of any sport around. The last two seasons have both gone down to the final races and this season could well be the same.

Maybe the fact that it is so tough is why our ladies keep retiring! This year we will be without Anastasiya Kuzmina and Laura Dahlmeier who leave a big gap in the field. Luckily there are plenty of people to fill it!

Last year it was Dorothea Wierer who came out on top of an epic battle with fellow Italian Liza Vittozzi. Vittozzi faded at the end of last season but that experience will have made her stronger and more dangerous this time around. This season seems to be on course for another Italian head to head but for one thing – the World Championships! They are being held in Antholz and of course both women would dearly love to do well there. It could take their focus off the big crystal globe and on to home gold medals.

Looking to take advantage of this will be Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Since adding a new surname she has gone from strength to strength having the best season of her career last year. She finished in fourth place but only 69 points behind the winner.

Hanna Oberg and Paulina Fialkova were fifth and sixth and will also be hoping to move up the ranking although they lack the consistency of the Italians for now. A good season for Fialkova would be taking her first World Cup win.

Obviously we have to mention Kaisa Makarainen. A three time champion she has the experience and the skiing ability to win the overall once more but she wasn’t at her best last season finishing seventh. Denise Herrmann is the surprise package. We knew she could ski fast but she has picked up the shooting very quickly and is a fierce competitor. Whether she can put it together over the course of an entire season remains to be seen.

There is a lot of talent in the women’s side just now so here are some biathletes to look out for as potential first time race winners or podium finishers.

Ingrid Tandrevold got two second places last season including a silver medal at the World Championships so could this be the year she makes it into first place? Monika Hojnisz’s best finish is a second place and she also came 4th twice so could she improve to get her first taste of victory? She married in the summer and is now Monika Hojnisz-Starega so maybe she can emulate Marte Olsbu by having extra surname success! Clare Egan had the season of her life last year getting her first podium finish in the Mass Start in Oslo and three top ten finishes in total. Hopefully she can make it to the top of the podium this year.

Looking to get on any step of the podium this season will be Mona Brorsson. She was so close to winning a gold medal in Oestersund at the World Championships and hopefully she now knows it is possible if she executes a race perfectly. Celia Aymonier was close to a first podium last season coming 4th in the Oslo Sprint. She has a home World Cup in Annecy to look forward too and it would be a great place to break into the top three. Lena Haecki achieved two fifth place finished last season so she is not far from claiming a podium either.

However as we know with the Women’s World Cup anything could happen and anyone could win or get a podium! That’s why it is so exciting.

The ladies start the season on the 1st of December with the Sprint race in Oestersund. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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Season Review 2018/19: Biathlete23!

This season has been a pretty good one for biathlete23. We did manage to get a win on the World Cup but better still added a World Championship gold to the collection! The points total went up from last season and is the third best from 6 years of racing. However it also saw the rise of my mortal enemy, my eternal nemesis biathlete24 taking 2 gold medals in Oestersund. I will have my revenge bib24 just you wait!!! 😉

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

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points

This season the points total was 852, made up of 410 for the men and 442 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Overall between Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Henrik L’Abee-Lund and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Mona Brorsson and Anais Chevalier.

The season stared off in Pokljuka this season and at World Cup 1 biathlete23 scored 78 points. They came from just 3 biathletes with Denise Herrmann 29th in the Individual, Thomas Bormolini 27th in the Pursuit and best of all Marte Olsbu Roeiesland 5th in the pursuit.

Then it was on to Hochfilzen where all 4 biathletes scored points! Susan Dunklee was 34th in the sprint and Simon Schempp was 25th. In the pursuits Julia Simon was 10th and Johannes Keuhn 25th. That made a total of 70 points from round 2.

Nove Mesto was very good to biathlete23! Johannes Boe kicked it off with a win in the sprint! The first of the season! Ondrej Moravec and Tiril Eckhoff were both 18th in the pursuits. Yuliia Dzhyma was 20th in the mass start and Erlend Bjoentegaard was 5th. Thank you Norway! That was 167 points from round 3.

Oberhof was next and 3 out of 4 biathletes took points. Susan Dunklee in her second appearance in bib23 was 10th in the sprint and Tarjei Boe was 8th. Andrejs Rastorgujevs was 26th in the pursuit making a points total of 80 from round 4.

Ruhpolding was not a great round with only 24 points scored from the mass starts by Dmytro Pidruchnyi who was 29th and Justine Brasiaz who was 21st.

The action moved to Antholz for round 6 which saw 99 points earned by Dominik Windisch who was 10th in the sprint, Rosanna Crawford was 34th in the pursuit and Tomas Krupcik was 18th. In the mass starts Denise Herrmann was 13th and Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 26th.

We crossed the Atlantic to Canmore for round 7 but with a race cancelled for the cold weather we only got points for the indiviudal where Vanessa Hinz came 6th for 38 points.

Soldier Hollow hosted round 8 and was a good one for bib23. Franziska Hildebrand was third for a podium in the sprint. In the pursuits Eva Puskarcikova was 22nd and Simon Fourcade was 15th. That meant a total of 93 points from the USA.

At the World Championships in Oestersund it was a mixed bag. Johanna Taliharm got her personal best in the sprint when she was 20th but Lukas Hofer finished 52nd and out of the points. The pursuits went better with an 18th place from Celia Aymonier and a 24th from Johannes Kuehn. In the individual Ivona Fialkova was 70th but Tero Seppala was 31st. Finally in the mass starts Lena Haecki was 30th and Tomas Krupcik 20th. The evil bib24 won 2 gold medals so that really ruined the whole thing! Still biathlete23 earned 94 points from Sweden.

Going into the final round the women in bib23 had 371 points and the men had 372 points so it was just like the race for the women’s big crystal globe – only better!!!

In the sprints Baiba Bendika was 34th and Ondrej Moravec was 37th. In the pursuits Veronika Vitkova was 13th and Jakov Fak 19th. The final race of the season really split the men and women with Julia Simon finishing 7th and Emilien Jacquelin 25th.

There was more success this season for biathlete23 in para-biathlon. America’s Daniel Cnossen won the biathlon sprint in Vuokatti in bib23 and then Ukrainian Taras Rad only went and won the gold medal in the biathlon individual at the World Championships in Canada!!! World Champion – YES!

That brings the medal collection to Olympic gold (Laura Dahlmeier Sprint 2018), World Championship gold (Martin Fourcade Individual 2016) and now Para World Champion. All that’s left is Paralympic gold which will have to wait until 2022 at least!!! I may have to invest in a cabinet! 😉

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

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Pursuits!

Well, well, well someone knows how to finish their career in style! Anastasiya Kuzmina was untouchable in the pursuit making it look easy!!! What a performance! She shot 20/20 and won the race by 1 minute and 42 seconds. She has one race left, the mass start, and who would bet against her winning that one too.

Luckily we had a bit of action behind Kuzmina. It was Franziska Pruess and Celia Aymonier who were chasing her after the first prone but teammate Paulina Fialkova missed 2 to put her out of the running.

However on the second prone both Preuss and Aymonier missed and so it was left to the Swedes Elisabeth Hoegberg and Linn Persson to take up the chase in second and third after going 10/10 in the prone. They were followed closely by Tiril Eckhoff, Denise Herrmann and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Herrmann and Persson celaned on the first stand to take second and third. Another Swede Hanna Oberg moved into 4th just ahead of Clare Egan, Eckhoff and Hoegberg.

As usual it was shoot 4 that decided the places. Herrmann, Persson and Oberg all missed 1 while Egan and Eckhoff missed 2 and Hoegberg missed 3. Roeiseland cleaned.

In the end it was Herrmann who kept second place with Hanna Oberg third. Persson was beaten in a sprint finish by Roeiseland who took 4th but it was still a personal best for Persson in 5th. Eckhoff was 6th.

Elsewhere Kaisa Makarainen went from 32nd to 8th and Anais Bescond from 52nd to 25th. Thelka Brun-Lie got a PB in 23rd as did Janina Hettich in 32nd.

Dorothea Wierer was 12th and so won the crystal globe for the pursuit and further extended her lead in the total score.

LEGEND ALERT! History was made in the men’s race with Johannes Thingnes Boe winning his 15th race of the season! He broke the previous record of 14 for most wins in a single season. It also won him the pursuit crystal globe. Amazing!

He started the race well cleaning the first prone and looked comfortable out front. He was followed by Lukas Hofer, Bendikt Doll and big brother Tarjei. To make it exciting Johannes missed 2 in the second prone but Tarjei and Hofer cleaned and so reduced his lead significantly. Behind them came Arnd Peiffer, Vetle Christiansen and Felix Leitner.

At the first standing shoot Johannes cleaned and so did Tarjei. Leitner moved into third after hitting 15/15. At the final shoot both brothers missed 1 and went on to finish in first and second for another Boe-dium! Leitner and Peiffer cleaned.

Unfortunately Peiffer was stronger on the tracks than Leitner and he took third but it was still a personal best for the Austrian youngster in 4th. Christiansen was 5th and Hofer 6th.

Sean Doherty went from 32nd to 11th, Lucas Fratzscher went from 31st to 15th for a PB and Andrejs Rastogujevs went from 49th to 21st.

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Sprints!

All the talk before the final World Cup round in Holmenkollen was about the two Italian women Vittozzi and Wierer but in the sprint it was two Slovakians who made the podium!

Anastasiya Kuzmina loves the sprint and she loves Oslo so obviously she won the final sprint of the season and with it the small crystal globe. Unfortunately it was also her last ever sprint as she has announced her retirement from the sport. With her little brother Anton Shipulin also having retired this season we have lost a whole family!!! 😦

She had a great last sprint though despite missing 1 shot in the prone she skied way better than anyone else to secure her fifth win in Oslo in her career. She finished 21 seconds ahead of second placed Franziska Pruess who shot clean to get her second podium of the season.

Third place went to Paulina Fialkova who also shot clean. Celia Aymonier achieved her personal best in 4th with 10/10. Denise Herrmann was 5th and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 6th.

It was a bad day for the overall leader Lisa Vittozzi who missed 5 shots in total and finished in 68th place meaning she got no points and didn’t qualify for Saturday’s pursuit. Her main rival Dorothea Wierer missed 1 target to finish 11th and took the lead in the total score outright.

It was a better day for Emma Lunder shooting 10/10 to get her career best result in 9th. Elena Kruchinkina got her PB in 18th with 1 miss.

You will never guess who won the men’s sprint! Oh wait you will because it was Johannes Thingnes Boe again! He already has the sprint crystal globe but now he also has 14 wins in one season to match the MF mafia of Magdalena Forsberg and Martin Fourcade. However he still has two races left to try and break it and make a bit of biathlon history.

He won today by 31.7 seconds despite missing a target in the stand. I think he doesn’t like the stand so much these days! 😉

Second place went to Lukas Hofer who hit 10/10 and had a fantastic race but Boe out skied him by a mile so there wasn’t much else he could have done. Third place went to Quentin Fillon Maillet who also hit 10/10 continuing his amazing season.

In the absence of Martin Fourcade who isn’t racing in Oslo, Fillon Maillet is fighting for second place in the Overall Score and has a chance to win the pursuit crystal globe too.

Julian Eberhard had a super fast ski finishing 4th with 2 misses. Tarjei Boe was 5th with 9/10 and Benedikt Doll had a great ski time too in 6th with 8/10.

Felix Leitner got his personal best in 10th with the perfect shoot. Lucas Fratzscher got his PB in 31st even with 2 misses.

The pursuit races are on Saturday with Dorothea Wierer and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland battling it out for the small crystal globe for the women and Johannes Boe and Quentin Fillon Maillet for the men.

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Relays!

The final day’s racing in America was relay day! Really? Yes, relay! (try not to groan too much!)

It was the first time in the World Cup that the men raced the first legs and the women the second which is awesome! It made for great relays too so it’s a change that should stay with alternate starts M-W and W-M.

The single mixed relay was first. There were some strong teams in this one and it was the strongest who won. Lukas Hofer and Dorothea Wierer took gold for Italy with some great shooting with only 6 spares needed.

The first leg was tight with no one breaking away for the men. The second leg saw Wierer take the lead ahead of Julia Simon and Regina Oja.

The men’s leg was close once again with Lukas Hofer, Simon Eder and Rene Zakhna all together. Hofer needed a spare while the other two shot clean but at the exchange it was Eder ahead by a few seconds from Italy and Estonia.

The final leg came down to Wierer and Hauser who are both excellent shots. Hauser cleaned all 10 and Wierer needed a spare but her superior ski speed and super fast standing shoot meant she could give Italy the victory. Austria were second using just 2 spares (amazing!) and France were third despite a penalty loop from Antonin Guigonnat.

Germany were 4th, Norway 5th and Ukraine 6th.

The mixed relay was a battle between Norway, France and Germany the whole way. The men started first and Germany took an early lead with Erik Lesser shooting clean along with Quentin Fillon Maillet. Vetle Christiansen needed 2 spares for Norway. Luckily he had Johannes Boe on the second leg who made up all the time and shot clean to turn the race in Norway’s favour.

Simon Desthieux used 2 spares to keep France in touch and Bendikt Doll needed 3. Boe handed a good lead over to Tiril Eckhoff who managed to lose it all at her first shoot using all three spares letting a clean shooting Celia Aymonier catch her. The stand was even worse for Eckhoff who went on the penalty loop. Aymonier used 2 spares but Franziska Hildebrand shot clean to make up time for Germany.

The final leg saw Anais Chevalier shoot perfectly and ski home for a French victory. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland did all she could to catch up but after skiing too hard she also had a penalty loop to complete. Vanessa Hinz who was a late replacement held her nerve using only 2 spares to take second for Germany leaving Norway in third.

Switzerland were 4th, Sweden 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

That concludes the North American World Cups. The next competition is the European Championships in Minsk which start on the 20th of February and then there is the small matter of the World Championships in Oestersund on the 7th of March!!!

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Season Review 2017/18: Biathlete23

WOW what a season it has been for Biathlete23! Wins, podiums and the small matter of an Olympic Gold medal!!! A return to Annecy the scene of our first ever victory and finally recognition from the IBU of the awesomeness of bib23 (see photo above). To top it all off there were three British biathletes in bib23 in the same season! You see hard work pays off in the end kids!

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

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 Points

This season the points were down. With a total of 774 made up of 431 for the men and 343 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Overall and 22nd place in the Women’s Overall.

However that doesn’t really tell the tale of biathlete23 this season. Last year there were no wins, this year there were two on the World Cup courtesy of Anastasiya Kuzmina in the Annecy Sprint and Martin Fourcade in the Ruhpolding Individual. There was also a podium from Antonin Guigonnat in the Ruhpolding Mass Start.

Great results but then came the Olympic Games in PyeongChang and Laura Dahlmeier. She only went and won gold in bib23 in the Women’s Sprint! AMAZING!!!

As an extra bonus for me Scott Dixon, Amanda Lightfoot and Scott Meenagh (at the Paralympic Games!) all wore bib23 this season! 🙂

I did seriously consider retiring biathlete23 after all that as I don’t think it will get much better, but then I guess I am more of a Bjoerndalen than a Neuner! The bib will be back!

This season started in Oestersund with Darya Domracheva the first biathlete to wear 23. She was 14th in the Individual. Volodymyr Siemkov was 78th in the Men’s Individual. In the Sprints Hilde Fenne was 18th and Maxim Tsvetkov 35th. In the Pursuits Marie Dorin Habert was 14th and Lukas Hofer 11th! Biathlete23 left Sweden with 113 points (men 36, women 77).

Next stop was Hochfilzen. It was a very exciting time for me with Scotland’s own Scott Dixon in bib23. He was 105th in the Sprint but I was just happy to see him in 23! Mona Brorsson was 81st in the Sprint and in the Pursuits Justine Braisaz was 35th and Sean Doherty 17th. That meant just 30 points (men 24, women 6).

The third round took place in the spiritual home of biathlete23, Annecy. Having won both Sprint races there 4 years ago hopes were high. Those hopes were not disappointed! Anastasiya Kuzmina won the Sprint race and secured the first win of the season and 60 points! In the men’s Sprint Vytautas Strolia was 49th. In the Pursuits Paulina Fialkova was 43rd and Sebastian Samuelsson was 36th. The Mass Starts saw Tatiana Akimova finish in 18th and Timofey Lapshin in 28th. That meant a points total of 101 (men 18, women 83).

After Christmas it was time for Oberhof. It wasn’t the best start to 2018! Galina Vishnevskaya was 70th in the Sprint and George Buta was 83rd. Sarah Beaudry was 51st in the Pursuit and Alexander Loginov was 18th. Biathlete23 got 23 points- how ironic!

You can’t keep a good bib down though and Ruhpolding was a triumph! Martin Fourcade won the Individual for win number two of the season. Iryna Kryuko was 11th. In the Mass Starts Synnoeve Solemdal was 11th and Antonin Guigonnat was 3rd!! Points galore – 152 to be exact (men 108, women 44).

The last round before the Olympics was of course Antholz. It got off to a great start with Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht finishing 6th in the Sprint and Simon Desthieux in 11th. Eva Puskarcikova was 30th in the Pursuit but Timofey Lapshin didn’t finish the race. Henrik L’Abee Lund was 11th in the Mass Start and Anais Chevalier was 26th. Total points were 119 (men 60, women 59).

The Olympics didn’t count towards World Cup points unfortunately but the team did well. Laura got gold in the Sprint and Vladmir Chepelin was 34th. In the Pursuits Jessica Jislova was 23rd and Jakov Fak 47th. In the Individuals we got another Brit in bib23 with Amanda Lighfoot who finished 73rd. Then came Fourcade. Just had to hit the last two targets for an easy win and a second gold but he missed two and finished 5th! Disappointing for him and me! The Mass Starts saw Lena Haecki in 23rd and Antonin Guigonnat in 19th.

Next was Kontiolahti where Simon Schempp was 8th in the Sprint and Federica Sanfilippo 46th. In the Mass Starts Freddie Lindstrom was 15th and Celia Aymonier 24th. The points from Finland were 77 (men 60, women 17).

Holmenkollen was round 8 and Norwegians made up 3 of the 4 biathletes in 23. Synnoeve Solemdal was 48th in the Sprint but Arnd Peiffer was 6th! Ingrid Tandrevold was 23rd in the Pursuit and Erlend Bjoentegaard was 34th. The points were 52 (men 45, women 7).

The final round was in Tyumen and half the team were Russian. Kalev Ermits was 78th in the Sprint but Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht was 21st. Evgeniy Garanichev and Katherina Innerhofer were both 23rd in the Pursuits! Spooky! Anton Babikov was 15th in the Mass Start and Galina Vishnevskaya was the final biathlete23 of the season and she was 25th. The total points were 80 (men 30, women 50).

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Oberhof 2018: The Relays!

Normal weather service was restored in Oberhof for the Relays – fog and lots of it!

It wasn’t so bad for the women who raced first but it still caused problems for them on the range. This one was a tale of the penalty loop with with lots of unexpected people on it!

The first to suffer was Vanessa Hinz for Germany. She had a torrid first leg using all her spares in the prone and going on the penatly loop in the stand. It looked like Germany’s hopes were gone. Italy and France took advantage with Liza Vittozzi shooting clear and Anais Bescond with 1 spare only required.

On the second leg it was France’s turn to go on the penalty loop with Anais Chevalier doing a penalty loop after the prone. Dorothea Wierer kept Italy in the lead only using 2 spares in the stand.

Behind her Denise Herrmann had a fantastic leg. She made up about 10 places just using 2 spares in the prone shoot. Kaisa Makarainen was even better with 1 spare putting Finland into third place.

Remarkably on the third leg Franziska Preuss put Germany back into the lead shooting 10/10. It was France who led over the line though with a fine performance from Celia Aymonier skiing especially well. Nicole Gontier who started the leg at the front did 2 penalty loops dropping Italy back down the standings.

Russia were coming into the race with a great leg from Tatiana Akimova shooting 10/10 and Sweden were in there too with great shooting on all three legs from Linn Persson, Anna Magnussen and Elisabeth Hoeberg.

The final leg came down to a race between Justine Braisaz and Maren Hammerschmidt for the win. Braisaz shot steadily and although she needed 4 spares she didn’t go on the penatly loop. Hammerschmidt did as she missed on the stand and Braisaz had an easy ski to victory. Laura Toivanen of Finland and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht suffered the same fate which left the way clear for Mona Brorsson who with 3 spares brought Sweden home in third for a magnificent podium!

It’s ironic that Germany’s dominance in the Women’s Relay was ended in Germany but they still managed second without Hildebrand and Dahlmeier in the team. Russia were 4th, Ukraine 5th and Italy 6th.

The men’s relay is difficult to describe as you couldn’t see it!!! Thick fog descended and the guys had a lot of trouble on the range just to see the targets nevermind hit them. It made for a fun race though!

It was again the Belgian team who impressed over the first two legs just like in Hochfilzen. Michael Roesch and Florent Claude both led their legs with Roesch using 1 spare and Claude 2. Alexey Volkov was amazing with 1 spare for Russia putting them up front. Martin Ponsiluoma also had a great start for Swedn with 2 spares used.

Italy went on the penalty loop early with Tomas Bormolini as did Germany’s Roman Rees and France’s Emilien Jacquelin.

Lukas Hofer had a strong second leg for Italy and left Dominik Windisch to put Italy into the lead after three legs. Windisch shot clean while many others did a penalty loop or in the case of Johannes Kuehn 9!!! Jesper Nelin was steady for Sweden keeping them near the front.

Behind Windisch was Sebastian Samuelsson who left Freddie Lindstrom to chase Thierry Chanal for the win. They both shot clean in the prone and the Italian had a 30 second lead. However in the stand he had to take a penalty loop when Lindstrom needed just 1 spare and he won the race comfortably in the end.

It was a brilliant win for the Swedes in horrible conditions. The Italians held on to second and out of the fog appeared Tarjei Boe to put Norway on the podium. They did 3 penalty loops earlier on but Boe brought them back with a good leg while others moved backwards.

Russia were 4th, France 5th and Germany came back to 6th. We were also treated to the Thuringian dumpling song by Michael Roesch at the end of the race to make up for not being able to see it!!!

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Kontiolahti 2017: The Sprints!

The Wall is back! And there are going to be some tired biathletes climbing it! To be fair it wasn’t scheduled this season but with Kontiolahti replacing Tyumen as host of World Cup 8 they get to spend all weekend going up and up and up!

It started with the Sprint races and in the Men’s race Martin Fourcade did it again. He won yet another Sprint to make it 13 wins this season breaking the record of Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. He did by just 0.6 of a second however stealing the glory from poor Ondrej Moravec. The Czech shot clean while Fourcade missed a target in the stand but he still managed to win. What a great biathlete he is but not very generous! 😉

Third place went to Emil Svendsen who also shot clean finishing 9 seconds behind the winner. Johannes Boe was fourth hitting 10/10 and Arnd Peiffer in 5th did the same. Fellow Germans Roman Rees and Philipp Nawrath both got personal bests. Rees finished 12th and Nawrath 34th. Olli Hiidensalo sneaked into the points in 39th in his home race.

Continuing her great form from PyeongChang Tiril Eckhoff finally got the better of Laura Dalmeier to win her first race of the season. She shot 10/10 to win by 18 seconds from Dahlmeier who missed 1 standing target. Third place went to Darya Domracheva with clean shooting continuing her excellent comeback after having her first child.

In fourth was Russia’s Daria Virolaynen also hitting 10/10. Susan Dunklee missed a target to come 5th for the third race in a row! Lisa Vittozzi hit 10 to finish 6th.

Celia Aymonier grabbed a personal best in 7th. Darya Usanova also got a personal best shooing 10/10 in 14th. Denise Hermann got her best result on the World Cup missing 2 but finishing 18th.

Gabriela Koukalova finished in 13th and Kaisa Makarainen was 49th after missing 4 targets. Mari Laukkanen was the top Finn in 19th with 2 misses.

Tomorrow we have both the Pursuit races and they should be exciting with the time gaps between biathletes pretty close!

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PyeongChang 2017: The Relays!

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It was the final day of racing in PyeongChang and also the final men’s and women’s relays of the season. There are reports going around that after his record equaling 6 Overall Titles in a row and 12 wins in a season that Martin Fourcade was using his big crystal globe to drink soju from! Soju is like the Korean version of sake. We thought he might miss the Relay but as these reports were from an American source it’s possible that it was fake news! 😉

Laura Dahlmeier did miss the women’s relay which is real news! The German’s lined up with their ‘H’ team (like the A team but further down the alphabet) of Horchler, Hammerschmidt, Hermann and Hildebrand! The absence of Dahlmeier didn’t prevent them from winning their fifth relay in a row and every relay this season. A fantastic achievement.

At one point it looked like it wasn’t going to happen though. Nadine Horchler had a solid first leg with just one spare needed handing over to Hammerschmidt in third place behind Chevalier of France and Crawford of Canada.

Hammerschmidt moved Germany into the lead after her leg using 2 spares but staying ahead of France’s Anais Bescond and Canada’s Julia Ransom. Ransom had an amazing leg shooting 10/10 and handing over to Megan Tandy still in contention for the lead.

Denise Hermann was confident on the prone hitting all five. However in the standing shoot she had a lot of trouble and ending up on the penalty loop. This meant that Justine Braisaz of France could take the lead handing over in front of Hermann. Then came Tiril Eckhoff of Norway who had a stunning leg making up for Hilde Fenne’s penalty loop on leg 2. Megan Tandy was brilliant in 4th using just 1 spare.

Celia Aymonier took over for France and was up against Franziska Hildebrand, Marte Olsbu and Emma Lunder. After a solid prone she had a horrible stand ending up with 2 penalty loops and so France were out of the picture. Hildebrand was excellent with just one spare meaning she had a comfortable final loop to victory.

The race was still on for the podium and it came down to a sprint finish on the line between Marte Olsbu, Gabriela Koukalova and Anna Magnusson. Some excellent shooting from these three put them all in with a chance but on the line Olsbu took second by 0.1 of a second with Koukalova in third just in front of Magnusson.

Emma Lunder needed 2 spares and in the end Canada finished 8th but it was a great race from ever member of their team racing in the top 4 for much of the relay.

The men’s race was a little less dramatic but still entertaining. Lukas Hofer set off very fast and led the first loop for Italy before having to do 3 penalty loops on the prone! Norway were up at the front after a great leg from Vetle Christiansen shooting 10/10. The USA were in seconds thanks to Lowell Bailey’s clean shoot and the Ukraine were in 3rd with Artem Pryma.

Bjoerndalen held on to the lead for Norway in the second leg with 3 spares. France’s Simon Fourcade moved them up from 7th, where Beatrix handed over, using just 1 spare. Ukraine were still in third after Sergiy Semenov’s leg.

The third leg saw France move into the lead and they wouldn’t give it up. Simon Desthieux was steady on the range unlike his competitor Vergard Gjermandshaug who incurred a penalty loop for Norway. Austria moved into second with two great legs from Simon Eder and then Julian Eberhard and Norway were still in third.

That’s how the race would end with legs from Martin Fourcade, Dominik Landertinger and Henrik L’Abee Lund. They were all good enough on the range to stop any others catching or passing them.

That is the end of the pre-Olympic event here in PyeongChang and now it’s back to Kontiolahti for World Cup 8!

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