Tag Archives: Egil Gjelland

Spring Things 2018!

Spring was depressing, wasn’t it! It started off with the raid at IBU HQ in Salzburg. The President of the IBU Anders Besseburg and the General Secretary Nicole Resch are both under investigation by the Austrian police for covering up positive doping samples from Russian biathletes. At the time of writing no charges have been brought against either party but both stepped down from their positions while the investigation is on going. Both deny any wrong doing.

Then we had all the retirements to deal with! The legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finally called it a day although I think he made the decision at rifle point as he seemed a bit reluctant to retire! We won’t get rid off him though, he will be coaching or commentating next season I am sure. 🙂

It was not a surprise when his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen also gave up the sport. He made no secret of the fact that he would go after the Olympics. I know what you are thinking – whose hair will I admire now? Well I take a keen interest in Sebastian Samuelsson’s coiffure but actually I have found someone with even better hair than Emil! Step forward German para- biathlete Steffen Lehmker! 🙂

Jean Guillaume Beatrix has gone too. Very sad to see a biathlon23 interviewee finish their career mainly because it is not allowed! Americans Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey also hung up their rifles along with Russell Currier leaving a lot of space to fill on the men’s team. Jaroslav Soukup and Daniel Mesotitsch retired too. Florian Graf quit and in a bit of a shock so did Canada’s Macx Davies! No!

On the women’s side we said goodbye to a lot of mums! Marie Dorin Habert, Karin Oberhofer and Weronika Nowakowska all stopped racing. All three women have young children so that may have come into their decisions. Then at the end of June Darya Domracheva decided that she would also retire wanting to focus on her child too. This followed the announcement from Nadezhda Skardino at the start of June that she was ending her career thus decimating the Belarus Olympic gold medal Relay team!

Eva Tofalvi, Hilde Fenne, Coline Varcin and Olga Podchufarova also gave up biathlon. And we lost another biathlon23 interviewee in Julia Ransom. 😦

Miriam Goessner has changed sports to go to cross country skiing. Her back problems meant she had trouble carrying the rifle and her aim meant she had trouble hitting the targets! 😉 Good luck Miri!

Gabriela Koukalova will not race again this season and possibly not ever again. She seems to have fallen out of love with biathlon! How could she?!! She also has an autobiography out which has already caused a bit of controversy. Think the fame may have gone to her head a bit! 😉

In other news Mario Dolder got married and Selina Gasparin is pregnant with her second child in exciting times for the Swiss. Not with each other though just to be clear!

Jakov Fak got married too and Ondrej Moravec had a little boy called Ondrej. Again not with each other!

Nadezhda Pisareva also married Russian ski technician Andrey Shatokin. Johannes Boe will be married on the 30th of June and Marte Olsbu and Mari Laukkanen will also get married this summer. You guessed it – not to each other! 😉

My postman assures me that he didn’t lose my wedding invitations so I have no idea what has happened to them!!!

In less exciting news Simon Schempp broke his shoulder in a bike accident and Dzinara Alimbakava had surgery on her shoulder. Florent Claude had a operation for compartment syndrome in his shins and Anton Shipulin has mononucleosis.

Finally we had the coaching merry-go-round! I don’t think so many changes have been made in the Spring before! Take a deep breath, possibly grab a snack and a drink – follow this if you can!

USA:
The Americans lost both their coaches this Spring. The women’s coach Jonne Kähkönen went back to the Finnish women’s team and the men’s coach Jonas Johansson went back to Sweden as Development Coach. They were replaced by Michael Greis (Men) and Armin Auchentaller (Women). They now have Tim Burke as athlete development manager. He didn’t stay away for long, did he!!!

France:
The French team made big changes with the appointments of Vincent Vittoz, a former cross-country skier, and Patrick Favre from the Italian team taking over as the men’s coaches. Coaching the French women will be Fredric Jean and Vincent Porret.

Norway:
The coaches for the women’s team have changed. Patrick Oberegger moves from the Italian team and ex-cross country skier Sverre Kaas will take care of the skiing.

Germany:
Germany have gone for youth with their new coaches all in their 30’s. Mark Kirchner is now head of the German men and women with Gerald Honig as German national shooting coach. Kristian Mehringer is the Senior Women’s coach with Florian Steirer as his assistant. Isidor Scheurl is the new men’s assistant coach.

Poland:
Nadija Belova is the new Polish women’s head coach taking over from Tobias Torgersen.

Italy:
Andreas Zingerle is the new World Cup and Elite Team coach. He will be assisted by Andrea Zattoni while Klaus Hoellrigl and Nicola Pozzi will coach the A team. Olympic gold medallist in shooting without skiing (apparently that’s a thing!) Niccolò Campriani will be shooting coach for all the Italian biathletes.

Russia:

New RBU president Vladimir Drachev has appointed Anatoly Khovantsev as the new head coach. He will take the men’s team with Sergei Idinov assisting him. Vitaly Noritsyn is the women’s coach with assistant Sergei Bashkirov.

Czech Republic:
Norwegian Egil Gjelland is the new coach of the women’s team. The former coach of Norway’s men will be joined by Jiří Holubec and Tomáš Kašpar. Zdeněk Vitek moves from the women’s team to coach the men with another Norwegian Anders Bratli assisting him as well as Aleš Ligaun.

Austria:
The Austrian men’s team will be coached by Ricco Gross after he left his job with the Russian men’s team.

Ukraine:
Andrei Prokunin will take over as the new Women’s Coach for Ukraine. Uros Velepec will most likely return to coach Slovenia.

Switzerland:
The new women’s head coach is Austrian Sandra Flunger who happens to be Simon Eder’s cousin!

If you have made it this far I congratulate you and encourage you to consider climbing Everest – it’s a similar feat! 😉

I imagine I have forgotten some retirements, events or coaching changes but there is a lot going on!


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Trans-Atlantic Turmoil!

canmore

The season is still over 4 months away but already there is trouble brewing over the World Cup schedule for the year. This season marks a return to racing in North America with World Cup 7 in Canmore, Canada and World Cup 8 in Presque Isle, USA. Great news for North American fans of biathlon but the decision hasn’t gone down quite as well with everyone.

Firstly we heard from World Cup holder Darya Domracheva who said she would be skipping the events to concentrate on the World Championships in Oslo. This basically means she won’t be defending her title and after having been recently diagnosed with mononucleosis she is unlikely to change her mind.

Next we heard from the three Top Norwegian men who are considering missing the two World Cup rounds to concentrate on their home World Championships. There is a two and a half week break between Presque Isle and Holmenkollen but it seems that this isn’t enough for them. Emil Hegle Svendsen wishes the races were in Europe and Tarjei Bø hates the way that it has been set up so there is a strong chance that they will remain at home. Johannes Thingnes Bø is of a similar opinion saying that not everyone is going to go to the North American rounds. With coach Egil Gjelland describing it as a “headache” the likelihood is that they won’t be the only ones thinking about their participation.

Do they have a point? Is the schedule a bad one? Well there was some discussion about putting the North American rounds at the start of the season so there has been concern about it for some time. This was deemed unworkable however as the first 2 stops in Oestersund and Hochfilzen can guarantee snow whether from the sky, storage or stolen from the mountains. It wouldn’t be great if everyone went to Canada at the start of the season and then the races were cancelled. There is also the matter of money. Quite a few of the smaller nations will probably not be able to afford to attend these rounds due to travel and accomodation costs and so holding them at the start would be a disadvantage to them.

In reality there is not another space on the calendar for these events. It’s not as if you could go there another year instead as the future World Championships are also in Europe. So what then is the point of going at all? Well there are many reasons. The Canadians and Americans have to come over to Europe and stay there for anything up to six months which incurs huge accommodation costs. They can’t go home for the weekend! If they are lucky they might get home over Christmas but then they have to suffer jet lag when they come back. They are also doing very well at the moment and deserve some home races.

Usually the World Cup goes to North America once every 4 or 5 years so it is only right and fair that they get the opportunity to grow the sport there by hosting events. Not to mention the great facilities and amazing scenery that they can boast. The IBU have also decided to put Canmore first because of the great access to Calgary airport with many flights from Europe and then Presque Isle second to make the return flight to Europe shorter. So they have tried really hard to make the transition back to Europe as easy as possible which in reality they didn’t have to do.

On the other hand you can understand some of the Norwegians concerns. It is a long journey and the different time zones not only between Europe and Canada but also between Canmore and Presque Isle mean it will be hard on the body clock. Their main worry of course is being in the best shape possible for the World Championships. It is not often you get to race those at home and let’s face it they do have very good chances of winning medals! However they might change their minds closer to the time if one of them is in with a chance of winning the Overall Title.

No one has officially pulled out of the race yet as it is far too early to do so. However if they do it will be a real shame for the North American spectators not to see such great biathletes racing. On the other hand it might increase the chances of the home biathletes like Nathan Smith, Rosanna Crawford, Tim Burke and Susan Dunklee winning or making the podium at their home races!!!

In an ideal world everyone would go to race in Canada and the US. I am afraid however that there will be some absences and the Norwegians are the likeliest to skip the rounds. They should be careful though because if they are not competing at the top level before the Championships they might not arrive in Holmenkollen in top race condition. I am sure Martin Fourcade, if he is fit and healthy, will be in North America and he could also go to Oslo and make Svendsen and the Bø brothers regret their decision. It would be nice if a Canadian or American wins a medal in Norway too just to show it can be done!! There is still a long time until we get to these races but I don’t think it will be last we hear of the Trans-Atlantic turmoil!

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