Tag Archives: Johanna Talihärm

Hallie Grossman: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Hallie Grossman.

Hallie Grossman is an American biathlete. She was born in Vermont on the 27th of April 1993. She has been doing biathlon since 2016 after initially competing as a skier for the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. Last season she made her debut on the World Cup in Oberhof and raced in Ruhpolding. She also got some good results on the IBU Cup at the end of the season in Minsk with two Top 30 finishes.

Follow Hallie on Instagram: halliegeee
Check out her website: https://halliegrossmanblog.wordpress.com/

Why did you become a biathlete?

After graduating college, I joined the Craftsbury Green Racing Project as a skier. During my first summer on the team, I injured my knee and couldn’t do very much training. During this time, some of the biathlon boys on the team taught me how to shoot and I enjoyed the challenge. It took about a year to really get into it, but I’m so glad that I did.

You got your first taste of the World Cup last season. What was that experience like?

It was an awesome experience! My first weekend on the World Cup was in Oberhof in the pouring rain but I arguably had the biggest smile on my face and was the happiest person at the venue all weekend. Our relay team was made up all of women from the same club in Craftsbury, which was fun and something our ski coach at home was really excited about. On the IBU Cup, my teammates and I started wearing glitter for most of the races, and happily sharing it with anyone and everyone. It was a great bonding experience and way to get to know our competitors (who quickly turn into friends!). I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it in the “big leagues,” but was so happy I decided to and it reminded me that racing really is quite fun.

What was your best or favourite race from last season and why?

There are several, for different reasons. My favorite race was the opening sprint in Sjusjoen, where my teammate Kelsey Dickinson was 2nd. It was so awesome to see one of my closest friends do so well. One of my best races was in Minsk at the very end of the year. I had been struggling with my shooting for a few weeks, but things came together and I shot 1,0 in the sprint and was ecstatic.

What are your plans for summer training? Has the corona virus affected the plans or the way you train?

I have been home in Craftsbury since March and it’s been great! It definitely is a bummer to not be able to have camps or see our National team coaches except through a computer screen, but I feel fortunate that I have such great training partners and opportunities at home.

What are your goals for this season?

To do my part in this pandemic (wearing my mask!) to help the world get to a point where we can gather and race again!

You are away from home for long periods of time. Do you pack anything special in your suitcase when you travel to Europe?

My aeropress coffee maker, my knitting, and my mini sewing kit. You never know what the coffee situation will be in any given country or hotel. Knitting provides endless hours of activity, especially when you get as distracted as myself and pull it out many, many times. And the sewing kit comes in handy because it turns out clothing and equipment can rip when it’s worn nearly everyday for several months straight.

You are having a dinner party with 3 other biathletes. Who would you invite and why? What’s on the menu?

(I changed it to 4 🙂 ) Johanna Taliharm, because she’s been training in Craftsbury with us for the last few summers and has become an integral honorary member of our team. Kaisa Makarainen, she joined us for a camp last year in France and it was great to get to know her a bit. Her incredible ski speed has made me a fan of hers since I started doing biathlon. Mona Brorsson. In Oberhof, she reminded me to have fun and enjoy it right before the relay. It was such a kind gesture and it makes me want to get to know her better! Flurina Volken. Flurina and I met two years ago when we started near the very end of the race together, since then I’ve spend several weeks living with her and her family in Switzerland and she has become a great friend. The menu! Depends where we are dining. If we’re at my home, we’ll have salad, tacos, and one Emily Dreissigacker’s cake for dessert.

What are your hobbies away from biathlon?

I love to teach kids. When I’m home (prepandemic) I spend time in a local elementary school, working with kids on math or reading, or whatever they may need a little extra attention with. This summer, I’ve been tutoring a 9 year old girl and we’ve been reading books, doing math, and just playing outside and riding our bikes.

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

Martell. This is where I did my first IBU Cup in 2017 and this past year where I had my fastest ski times. I like it because there are some tough uphills and the downhills appeared tricky but I was able to practice them enough that they seemed ok!

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle doesn’t but my stock does. Her name is Maisey. My first stock was Posey.

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiley, caring, energetic.

Quick fire choices:

prone or standing? prone
against the clock or head to head racing? head to head
uphill or downhill? uphill
mixed relay or women’s relay? This one is tricky! I’ve done one women’s relay on the WC and several mixed relays on the IBU cup and both are special in their own ways!
morning or night? morning
sun or snow? sun
roller skiing or cycling? cycling
alcohol or chocolate? chocolate

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2018/19!!!

Hello and welcome to the 6th annual Biathlon23 awards. The alternative awards for biathlon which represent the important things in the sport with best facial hair, best earrings and best ski suit among the most prestigious and most sought after awards. Mirroring the Oscars this season we also had The Favourite, A Star is Born, Incredibles and First Man!(you can decide who is who!)

The awards are of course subject to a rigorous system used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree! 🙂

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
Technically speaking the most hits this year was Paulina Fialkova again! But seeing as she did the interview in 2017 it is not eligible for this award. Only people interviewed for season 2018/19 are in the running. Coming a close second was the lovely Regina Oja from Estonia but I am very happy to say that this season’s winner is a para biathlete for the first time ever! However I have to questions how many times he has read his own interview himself! 😉
Winner: Derek Zaplotinsky

Strangest search on the blog:

I love people! I love them because they are strange! Here is a selection of some of the strangest searches on the blog this season! I get a lot about gossip, boyfriends/girlfriends of biathletes and people looking for nude pictures! Sorry wrong blog for all that but there is always some gold in between! For example:

“reason for grosch to change from germany to belgium biathalom team” A German beer becoming Belgian because it couldn’t get on the bierhalle drinks list
“anna öberg, tim lahaye, laura vittozzi” How they will be known from now on!
“tiril eckhoff see thru” As far as I know she isn’t!
“paulina fialkova postal addressJust send it to P.Fialkova, Slovakia. It will get there!
“what does marie laure brunet do in her spare time” Same as the rest of us she watches biathlon!
“regina oja friend” I think she has one but it is still to be confirmed
“biathlon knit band” What? Seriously though, what?
“biathlon vladimir russia” Yes I think we can safely say he has a hand in it!
“rene denfeld biathlon” Never heard of him/her. Maybe try tennis? 😉

Winner: “jonas dinges boe biathlon” This made me laugh for a worrying length of time!

Best Facial Hair:
There can only be one winner this season despite valiant efforts from both Max Durtschi and Igor Malinovskii. Right from the very first race this guy was always going get this award. Looking much like I would imagine one of the three muskateers would, with the pointy beard and curled moustache! A facial hair legend!
Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There have not been many memorable earrings this season. I was tempted to give this award to one of the Norwegian men who was using frost tape on their ears in Canmore when it was so cold but then I remembered one pair in particular. Bold and beautiful just like their wearer you couldn’t really miss these!
Winner: Mona Brorsson


Best fall:

This season’s award does not go to one single faller but to a whole race. It was a cross between Bambi on ice and Armeggedon back in January. With windy and wet snow conditions this race saw at least 7 big falls with most casualties occuring on the Frankfurter cross. Franziska Hildebrand and Johanna Taliharm were the first to go down but the worst falls came from Karoline Knotten and Lisa Teresa Hauser who both broke their rifles. It was terrible for the biathletes but quite fun to watch all the same!!! Oh we are bad people! 😉
Winner: Oberhof Women’s Relay

Best biathlon video:
Usually this award goes to a video that has been carefully planned and filmed. This one was totally spontaneous and a joy to watch. It features Italian Eurosport commentators Dario Puppo and Max Ambesi and their amazing reaction to the final shooting in the mass start at the World Championships in Oestersund. When Dominik Windisch hit 5/5 to take the lead they seemed quite happy about it! It mainly just involves grown men shouting “five”, “five” “crazy”, “he could be in the lead”, “he’s in the lead!” but most things sound better in Italian when shouted very loudly of course! 😉
Watch the video here:

Winner: Italian Eurosport Mass Start commentary

Best GIF:
This season the IBU made some GIFs for biathlon for use on Instagram. There were quite a few – some good some not so good! There was some fancy dance moves from Erik Lesser and Kaisa Makarainen. The less said about Quentin Fillon Maillet the better though!!! The Norwegians have a strong GIF game with Johannes Boe and Erlend Bjoentagaard but I am giving it to another Norwegian mainly for the most pathetic karate kick in the history of the world and his own reaction to it!
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best rifle design:
With the retirement of the Lord of Rifle Design Anton Shipulin (how could you do that to me Anton?!) rifle design has gone downhill fast. Most are now one solid colour (boring!) or the colours of the national flag (boring!). Some are still super cool like Erik Lesser’s and Marketa Davidova’s but they haven’t changed! Vetle Christiansen has an interesting rifle as it’s the only one without a traditional groove for the left hand but it is a hideous colour which can only be described as puce! Luckily amidst the mediocre appeared one man with an awesome design. He has a white lion carved into the stock at the butt with some red and blue detail and another lion with a crown further up towards the trigger. Děkuji!
Winner: Michal Krcmar

Best ski suit:
The ski suits have been OK this season. Nothing too horrendous but then nothing that stood out as great either. It’s a bit like the rifles really. The Czech Republic had a nice suit as did Slovakia. Norway’s is always decent. France and Germany didn’t even bother changing theirs. I narrowed it down to two and although I really like the Belarus ski suit I chose this one because I like the design and colours even though they say nothing about the country they are from!
Winner: China

Worst ski suit:
Well there weren’t too many bad suits this season. The Swedes took my recommendation on board and added some blue to the yellow suit. The USA changed theirs entirely as did Russia. No more pixels!!! The award this year goes to a suit that basically looks like a human has been skinned alive and you can see all their veins running down their leg (if veins were green that is!)
Winner: Bulgaria

Best Biathlete23:
There was only one win on the World Cup this year in bib23 so this was an easy decision! It was a young Norwegian guy who was first in the sprint race in Nove Mesto. It is his second victory in bib23. He is not very popular and hasn’t done much in biathlon this season so you may not have heard of him! It’s Jonas Dinges Boe.
Winner: Johannes Thingnes Boe

Biggest Improver:
A hard decision this year with so many new winners on the World Cup mainly for the women but also the men. Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first win as did Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. However my decision came down to two. Vetle Christiansen won his first race in the Soldier Hollow sprint and went from 54th to 13th in the total score. That was mainly due to him completing a whole World Cup season though. My winner moved from 63rd to 18th in the total score, got lots of top twenty finishes this season and got her first ever podium finishing third in the final race of the season in Oslo.
Winner: Clare Egan

Best Team Performance:
There was only one option for this award after this country totally dominated all the relays in Oestersund at the World Championships. They won the mixed relay, the single mixed relay, the women’s relay and the men’s relay!!! That’s team work!
Winner: Norwegian World Champs relay teams

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
There can only be one! I mean who comes from so far back to win the World Championship title in the mass start! In a crazy race he held his nerve and shot clean when most of those around him missed to take his first gold medal. It just shows that you should never give up in biathlon no matter where you are in the race because you never know what might happen!!
Winner: Dominik Windisch

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
There are two main contenders this season. The first in Johannes Thingnes Boe. He dominated the men’s tour with a record breaking 16 wins, all the crystal globes and 4 gold medals at the World Championships. He didn’t win this though! The winner was also a history maker becoming the first woman from her country to win the Overall title and the first to win a World Championship gold medal winning the mass start. She also won the small crystal globe in the pursuit and a silver and bronze in the single mixed and mixed relays at World Championships. It was a huge fight all season for the total score and she had to work so, so hard for it competing against the likes of Kaisa Makarainen at the start of the season and then teammate Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina at the end.
Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
There were some amazing biathlon performances this season for the para biathletes. The USA’s Kendall Gretsch won the sitting class for the women and Ukraine’s Taras Rad for the men. Oleksandra Kononova took the women’s standing with Clara Klug winning the women’s vision impaired and Yury Holub was a double World Champions in men’s vision impaired. However one person stood out having won the overall title in the men’s standing as well as all three World Championship titles. He hardly missed a target all season and skied really well too. I did interview him this season so that probably explains all his success! 😉
Winner: Benjamin Daviet

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
This award goes to a 21-year-old German woman who had a fantastic year. She won the Junior Cup which shows good consistency across the season. At the Junior World Championships in Orsblie she won three medals; silver in the pursuit, bronze in the sprint and silver in the women’s relay.
Winner: Hanna Kebinger

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

Youth biathlete of the year goes to someone who celebrates their 19th birthday tomorrow. What a great present this must be!!! 😉 This young Slovenian won double gold in the sprint and pursuit at the Youth World Championships in Orsblie as well as helping his teammates to the relay silver medal. He also finished 5th in the Junior Cup total score where he is competing against juniors some of whom are 2 or 3 years older than him.
Winner:Alex Cisar

Bonus award:
Craziest fan:

It’s obvious right? Anyone who dresses in a giant dinosaur costume and runs alongside the tracks deserves recognition! We appreciate the madness!
Winner: T-rex from Soldier Hollow

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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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Oestersund 2019: Women’s Sprint!

Like a piece of flat pack furniture from Ikea, Anastasiya Kuzmina constructed herself a great sprint race in Oestersund. Despite suffering from laryngitis and missing 1 target she was still able to win the gold medal! It was her first at World Championships to add to her two Olympic sprint titles.

She made a fantastic decision to start the race even though she is unwell and proved her choice to continue competing this season was a good one.

It was a strange race with a lot of misses on the range but I suppose that is not so unusual in Oestersund with the tricky wind conditions.
It was the favourites who struggled most however with Tiril Eckhoff missing 2, then Dorothea Wierer missing 2, Kaisa Makarainen missed 2, Lisa Vittozzi missed 3 (unheard of!) and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland missed 4!!! Wierer and Makarainen both had falls on the course which also cost them more time.

Kuzmina missed her shot on the prone but cleaned the stand to come out of the rage just over a second off the lead. That was held by Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold who hit all 10 targets and that would win her the silver medal at her first World Championships. Kuzmina didn’t gain too much time on the uphills but in the last part of track she made up around 8 seconds to secure victory.

Third place went to Laura Dahlmeier who is also sick with a cold. She hit 10/10 and just beat Hanna Oberg by under a second to get the bronze medal. Not the way to make yourself popular with the home crowd!!! Oberg was followed home in 5th by teammate Mona Brorsson, both with a single miss and 6th place went to Denise Herrmann with 2 misses.

Wierer takes back the yellow bib after finishing 10th with Vittozzi back in 21st. With a minute separating the top 20 women we should be in for an amazing pursuit race on Sunday! An if we learned anything from today it’s that it’s best to race when you are sick!!! 😉

There were also a lot of personal bests today of course as it’s International Women’s Day the ladies were keen to show off how fabulous they all are.

Dzinara Alimbekava was 13th, Sari Maeda was 14th, Joanne Reid was 15th, Johanna Taliharm was 20th in bib23!, Irina Kruchinkina was 22nd and Natalja Kocergina was 27th.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Sprint!

The 23rd Winter Olympics finally got underway in PyeongChang today with the Women’s Sprint. The conditions were tough with cold temperatures and an ever changing wind. It was a hard day at the office for the ladies.

Lucky for a Miss L. Dahlmeier not only is she an amazing biathlete but had the fortune to be wearing bib23. That could only mean one thing- her first ever Olympic gold medal!!!

What a race from the German! She was the only one of the favourites to hold her nerve in the shooting range hitting 10/10 and skiing to victory by 24 seconds. She cleaned the prone without too much difficulty but on the stand she waited on shot four to make sure it went down. Amazing mental toughness!

The other big names couldn’t do the same with Domracheva missing 2 and Kuzmina and Makarainen both missing 3. That left two podium spots available and it was Marte Olsbu who swooped to win silver. The Norwegian surprised everyone by getting her best ever result here. She missed just 1 shot on the prone and skied strongly to grab a medal. The bronze went to Veronika Vitkova who also missed 1 but this time in the stand.

Marie Dorin Habert was back on form in 4th, Vanessa Hinz was 5th and Lisa Vittozzi 6th.

Two other women shot clean the Russian (you can call her an OAR if you want!) Tatiana Akimova and Austria’s Dunja Zdouc.

Achieving your personal best at an Olympics is quite an amazing thing to do so well done to not only Olsbu but also Irene Cadurisch in 8th, Marketa Davidova in 15th, Johanna Taliherm in 22nd and Emily Dreissigacker in 51st.

The Pursuit is next for the women on Monday. Dahlmeier has a good lead but anything can happen in biathlon!!!

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Hochfilzen 2017: The Pursuits!

Snow, snow, snow! It’s been a while since we have seen so much snow at the biathlon races! It has made for some interesting racing especially today in the Pursuits!

The men started us off and with plenty of snow and wind Johannes Boe took his third win of the season. It was a straight fight between him and Martin Fourcade with none of the others getting even close to the win. Johannes and Martin were pretty well matched, Johannes missing 2 on the first prone and Martin missing one. They both shot well in shoots two and three both just missing 1 in the first stand.

So they arrived on the range together for the final shoot and normally you expect Martin to clear and Johannes to shoot too fast and miss. Not today! Johannes shot fast and cleared all the targets and Martin missed three! That’s right three! It seems that Johannes has the upper hand at the moment and the last thing you want to give him is more confidence!

Jakov Fak concentrated on his own race and although he briefly lost third place to Henrik L’Abee Lund he retook it and shot 19/20. Thanks to Fourcade’s three misses he was able to pass him to finish second and continue his great start to the season. Fourcade fought off Simon Schempp for third on the line.

Fifth went to Tarjei Boe who came from 14th and sixth went to Maxim Tsvetkov from 20th. Other big movers were Quentin Fillon Maillet from 38th to 12th, Freddie Lindstrom from 44th to 16th and Evgeniy Garanichev from 57th to 26th. There were also a couple of personal bests for Ruslan Tkalenko in 35th and Vytautas Strolia in 38th.

The women’s race seemed like someone had given you a Christmas present of a snow globe from ‘ye olden times’ biathlon. We saw Anastasiya Kuzmina winning her first race since 2014. Second went to Kaisa Makarainen and third to Darya Domracheva. Where have all the youngsters gone?

Domracheva got off to a good start clearing the first prone with Kuzmina missing one. They matched each others shooting until the third shoot when Dasha missed and Kuzmina cleared all the targets on both stands to win by 10 seconds. Coming up behind was Makarainen with 2 misses altogether but faster skiing meant she passed Dasha for second place.

Wierer was 4th, Olsbu 5th and Dzhima 6th. Iryna Kryuko went from 35th to 9th with a clean shoot. Vanessa Hinz went from 27th to 12th, Marie Dorin Habert moved from 34th to 14th and Johanna Taliherm went from 45th to 29th to claim her best result on the World Cup to date.

The Relays are next which means Kaisa Makarainen takes the yellow bib to France as does Martin Fourcade. Imagine if Johannes took the yellow bib from Martin in Annecy!!!

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Susan Dunklee: The Interview!

Susan Dunklee is an American biathlete who was born on the 13th of February 1986. She enjoyed her best season to date in 2016/17. She finished 10th in the Total Score and more importantly won her first World Championship medal taking silver in the Mass Start in Hochfilzen. She is the first American women to win a medal at a major Championships and in doing so qualified to race for the US at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang this March. Her father Stan and her uncle Everett have both competed for America at the Olympics in cross country skiing.

Follow Susan on Twitter: @SusanDunklee
Like her Facebook page: Susan Dunklee
Check out her blog: https://susandunklee.wordpress.com/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I didn’t want to give up ski racing after college. USBA offered a better training and living situation than any US xc ski club at the time, so I figured why not learn how to shoot?

The Mass Start in Hochfilzen. Talk us through your silver medal winning race and your emotions at the end.

I felt inspired after watching Lowell’s Individual. I remember thinking that I had got my first ever WC podium in 2014 the week after he got his first podium.
Despite that, I didn’t feel particularly good going into the race. By the end of the Championships you have raced so much that both your body and head feel fried. I had to remind myself that everyone else was exhausted too and that there is opportunity in that.
Much of that race felt surreal. Leading was an experience that I’m not very familiar with. I didn’t intend to lead because it’s usually not a smart tactical decision and it is harder to ski fast and efficiently by yourself. However, after every shooting stage I found myself alone out front. It seemed silly to just pull over for 5 seconds and let the pack catch up. So I skied my own pace, tried to stay relaxed and didn’t worry about what the pack did.
People ask me if the last shooting stage felt any different. In this case, no, it was more of a deja vu feeling. It felt just like the 3 stages before it. I remember thinking after the last shooting stage that now it was time to “get the hell out of there” because I knew some fast people would be chasing my tail. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to challenge Laura [Dahlmeier] when she caught me, but I was so psyched to hold onto second. It truly was a perfect race for me.

Apart from your medal you were also 10th in the Total Score. What was the key to your great season?

Shooting speed had been my biggest focus during training for a couple years and that work started to pay off last winter.

You had some good results at the World Cup round in PyeongChang. Has that given you a lot of confidence for the Olympics? Do you like the tracks and range there?

It doesn’t matter if I like them or not. What matters is if I’m willing to make those tracks and that range “my own” so that I will feel strong and confident there.

What are your goals for next season for the World Cup as well as the Olympics?

To keep my focus on “performing well.” If I can do that, the results will take care of themselves.

Team USA is a really close team. What was it like watching Lowell win his gold medal at the World Champs?

Lowell put together an impressive performance which personified a tremendous effort on the part a whole host of people. For an achievement like that you need everything to go right such as ski fitness, shooting performance, and ski preparation. There are so many people who contributed to making that possible- coaches, teammates, ski techs, physios, managers, psychologists, sponsors, supportive friends and family back home…. Everyone in the USBA community felt some ownership of America’s first gold medal moment and that’s one of the reasons why I think the US Team is special.

Have you noticed any changes in the popularity of biathlon in the US after your recent success? Has it helped you with funding and sponsors?

Not as much as we had expected.

What have you been doing for summer training?

Same routine as usual- roller skiing, shooting, running, biking, lifting, etc. We did an on-snow camp in May in Bend, Oregon as well as a three week camp in Germany in September.

One of your hobbies is bee keeping. How did you get into that and why do you like it?

I already was interested in pollination systems after studying them in college. A few years ago I visited one of my ecologist friends who kept honey bees and I watched a barefoot “bee-whisperer” capture an escaped swarm. I was fascinated. Working with bees is a lot like shooting in a high pressure race situation. The consequences of making mistakes are high and you must conquer your fears and stay calm.

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

Nove Mesto has the best atmosphere with the biggest, friendliest crowds of spectators. I love racing there.

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

Michal Slesingr, Martin Fourcade and Lowell Bailey. They are phenomenal athletes and leaders who insist on fighting for the integrity of our sport.

Does your rifle have a name?

No.

Describe yourself in three words.

Sincere, hardworking, contemplative.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Anton Shipulin’s dragon
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Rösch. Honorable mention: Stefani Popova
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Toss up: Johanna Taliharm, Anais Bescond, and Katja Yurlova.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Recovery massages.

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Biathlon at the Movies II: The Sequel!

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Hollywood loves a sequel, doesn’t it? Mainly to squeeze all the money it can out of the movie goers rather than making a better film than the first one and that is exactly what I intend to do! After the success of ‘Biathlon at the Movies’ I bring you ‘Biathlon at the Movies II’! It’s basically the same but with different movies. Hopefully it helps you get through the Christmas and New Year mini-break from biathlon. All ratings come in the form of crystal globes rather than stars. Popcorn at the ready? Then role titles!!! 🙂

The King and I:
Biathlon’s greatest love story set to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The story of a young Belarusian biathlete who falls in love with the King of Biathlon. That’s right it’s the Darya Domracheva story! The plot is simple. Domracheva and Bjoerndalen fall in love but neither of them will admit it until of course she gets pregnant and they get married! Featuring such classic songs as ‘Getting to snow you’, ‘Song of the King'(suspiciously similar to the Norwegian national anthem), ‘Shall we ski?’, ‘Shall I tell you what I think of your shooting percentages?’

Biathlon23: “Make sure you have plenty of tissues!” Rating: 5 globes

I am Sam:
The tale of a biathlete who thinks his name is too long. It chronicles his struggles to think of a name that is shorter than his. Being called Simon this proves to be a difficult task. After painstakingly searching the world for a shorter title he goes with Sam much to the disappointment of his parents who thought Simon was just fine. Other Simons like Fourcade, Schempp and Desthieux seem bemused by his decision but Simon Eder finally announces that he is Simon no more declaring – I AM SAM!

Biathlon23: “Simple Simon!” Rating: 5 globes

Skifall:
The third installment of biathlon Bond following ‘The Spy Who Loved Biathlon’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Simon Fourcade returns in the title role. Excitingly in this film we find out that Fourcade isn’t French after all but in fact he is Scottish. His enemy the mysterious Johannes Bøfeld follows him to his Highland home and attempts to kill M (his brother Martin) so Simon gets loads of gadgets from Q (Quentin Fillon Maillet) and blows loads of things up, saves the day and then appears for Great Britain at the Winter Olympics where he wins gold!

Biathlon 23: Oh come on, Blofeld wasn’t even in Skyfall!! Rating: 5 globes

The Hunger Range:

In a dystopian biathlon future Ivona Fialkova is chosen by her district to compete in the Hunger Range. However her big sister Paulina volunteers to take her place and is joined in the games by Matej Kazar. The tributes have to compete against teams from 11 other districts in order to win a medal and a bouquet of flowers. Unexpectedly it turns out to be the Single Mixed Relay and not a fight to the death – that’s lucky! Can the tributes from Slovakia conquer the Hunger Range? Watch it and see….

Biathlon23:”Surprised the Hungarian biathletes aren’t in this!” Rating: 5 globes

Macx Payne:
An epic starring Macx Davies in his second film role to date after ‘Macx The Man’ thrilled audiences in Norway. Macx Payne tells the story of his 10th place finish in Oestersund in the Sprint race in 2015. Being a dedicated and well prepared biathlete he naturally forgot to load one of his magazines and so only had five bullets to shoot at 10 targets. Cliffhanger! I won’t spoil the whole film for you but chaos ensues and as usual out of tragedy comes triumph. A heart warming tale of one man’s fight against his own incompetence with a lot of pain involved!

Biathlon23:” The Charlie Chaplin of biathlon.” Rating: 5 globes

Hard Target:
Florent-Claude Van Damme makes his film debut pretending to be a Belgian. He is joined in this film by Michael Roesch, who is also pretending to be a Belgian. The duo are hired by Jakov Fak, who is pretending to be Slovenian, to hunt down Torstein Stenersen, who is pretending to be Swedish. Also pretending to be Swedish is his accomplice Chardine Sloof. Are you following this so far? They are hiding out with Anna Frolina and Alexander Starodubets who are pretending to be South Korean. Anastasiya Kuzmina is also involved somehow while pretending to be Slovakian but that’s about all I could work out.

Biathlon23: “Sounds like a lot of make believe to me!” Rating: 1 globe

Open range:
A classic western starring the Estonian biathlon team. A baddie (the IBU) has decided to close down the range in Otepaa and it’s up to the team to open it again. Lot’s of action right from the start with “KALAMITY” Kauri Koiv leading his band of heroes, Kalev “THE FROG” Ermits (also known as Kermits), Rene “THE SNOWDANCE KID” Zahkna, Johanna “THE LONE RANGEr” Taliherm and Kahdri “LETHAL” Lethla. There is plenty of shooting in this one but can they save the day and open the range?

Biathlon23: “Yee-haw! or however you say that in Estonian.” Rating: 5 globes

RamBø 2: The second shooting
Tarjei Bø is released from the Norwegian training camp and sent on a top secret mission to France. His teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has offered him a deal to get out. Go to France and secure the services of their shooting coach. He goes deep undercover and befriends the French team before using his many skills to tempt away their coach. In a desperate attempt to disguise himself he grows his hair longer (after getting the proper grooming advice from expert E.H Svendsen) and ties a red band around his head in preparation to fight the whole French Team. Who will win? Will he get the coach? Will he go totally nuts with a machine gun? Watch and see.

Biathlon23: “Another unbølieveable performance.” Rating: 5 globes

24: The Movie:
The movie version of the TV series 24 starring Klemen “Jack” Bauer. The film follows Bauer for 24 hours in real time in an exciting day in his life. He gets up,has breakfast, trains, eats lunch, trains again, watches some snooker on TV , eats dinner and goes to sleep. Oh did I mention that he also thwarts multiple terrorist plots, including presidential assassination attempts, weapons of mass destruction detonations, bioterrorism, cyber attacks, as well as conspiracies which deal with government and corporate corruption. All in one day- What a guy!

Biathlon23: “Not thought this through! Who would spend 24 hours in the cinema! Rating: 24 globes


Fantastic biathletes and where to find them:

Sorry Nathan Smith fans although this is set in the same wizarding world, Harry Potter isn’t actually in this. All the biathletes have escaped from the magic rifle case where they are kept over the summer before they are allowed out in the winter. The owner of the case and the person responsible for the escape, Andrejs Rastorgujevs, is tasked with finding them all before the evil FIS catches them and tries to make them into cross-country skiers by taking away their rifles! The horror! Joined by teammate Baiba Bendika can they find all the biathletes before it’s too late?

Biathlon23: “Simply magic!” Rating: 5 globes

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Ross Burton: Biathlon Photographer!

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Photo credit: Elena Sobol

As you know biathlon23 likes to look at all aspects of biathlon not just the biathletes. This time I am bringing you an interview with a biathlon photographer. Ross Burton from America has been taking pictures of biathletes on the World Cup for 6 years and has kindly taken the time to tell us exactly what that is like.

He also jointly runs the website Biathlon News International: http://www.biathlonnewsinternational.com/
The site also has a Facebook Page: Biathlon News International

Why do like biathlon?

I was a cross-country skier in the early 70’s. The Army National Guard had a biathlon team, and I joined the Guard so I could get paid for skiing. We had wooden skis, bamboo poles, Remington 513T rifles, and it was classic only. After 3-4 years, I went into the active Army, and that was the end of biathlon. Then the Internet changed everything. Biathlon is
and was a small sport in the USA, as I believe it is in the UK. Before the Internet, there was virtually no information about biathlon, except for maybe 5 minutes coverage during the Olympic broadcasts. After the Internet came, there was plenty of information, even full races on the IBU Eurosport channel.

I decided I wanted to attend a World Cup in 2009, and a German friend suggested Ostersund. I went, and it was a life-changing experience for me. I decided I wanted to move my photography in that direction. At about the same time, a Russian friend, Raniya Kutumova, and I decided to build an English-language news website to enhance interest in
biathlon in the USA. The news website was not particularly successful in generating interest in the USA, but it was marvelously successful in other parts of the world, largely Germany and Russia, despite the fact that it’s in English.

I have been an Olympics fan all my life, and never in my fondest dreams did I ever think I would be paid to go to the Olympics (Sochi.) So, one could say that I have had a life-long interest in biathlon as a competitor, volunteer, journalist and photographer.

How long have you been a photographer and when did you start doing it in biathlon on the World Cup?

I am not a life-long professional photographer. I started working professionally in biathlon during 2010 when my friend Per-Ole Lindell, manager of the Finland team, needed some pictures featuring their new Viessmann sponsorship.

What kind of camera do you have? Do you mainly do digital photography? Have you thought about using a drone?

I have two Nikon D4’s and lenses from 14mm to 400mm focal lengths. Everyone does digital now. I have never thought of using a drone, but I have nightmares of a drone going out of control and landing in the range or on a biathlete.

How often do you go to World Cups and how do you choose which ones to attend?

Between 2-4 World Cups or two World Cups and the World Championships or Olympics. I choose based on time available from USA commitments, money, and logistics.

Where are you going this season and why?

Hochfilzen for sure because it’s the World Championships this year. Looking at Pokjluka and Nove Mesto for World Cups because of favorable logistics.

Do you get to enjoy the races or are you too busy trying to get good shots?

Mostly too busy, but for the first-in, first-win races like the pursuit, relay and mass start I’m always at the finish line, so it’s fun to see the winners and the celebrations. My finest moment was seeing my friends Darya Domracheva and Nadya Skardino win their Olympic medals for Belarus.

Are there a lot of other photographers working on the World Cup? Are you competitive like the biathletes to see who can get the best pictures or is there a good camaraderie?

Yes, there are numerous photographers who attend the World Cups. Of course, we all want to get the best pictures for our customers, but we all are great friends. There is no photographer who won’t take the time to share what they know about the best locations they have found, or the fastest workflow, or anything else that might be a help other photographers.

Since I know a bit about biathlon, I think it’s important to help photographers who are not that familiar with biathlon. We can explain how the races go, which are the big stars, and other things they might consider important. I don’t know how many times I have been asked, “which one is Bjoerndalen?” by new or unfamiliar photographers.

What do you do with the photos? Who do you sell them to? Do you keep some for yourself?

I keep enough for myself to post on my website, http://www.biathlonnewsinternational.com, but I am always working for some team or some photo agency. I have worked for several foreign photo agencies, but Team Finland is my best customer. I have worked for them since 2009. In fact, the last issue of the Finland Biathlon Magazine has a four-page spread
of just my pictures. It can be seen at biathlon.fi.com. Most of the winter cover shots on the magazine are mine too.


What is the best/favourite photo you have taken in biathlon?

The Finland team picture which appears in the header of my Biathlon News International Facebook page.

What is your favourite biathlon venue – for pictures and for racing?

Pictures: Presque Isle. Racing: Holmenkollen

Does your camera have a name?

Yep, Camera 1 and Camera 2.

Describe yourself in three words.

Lucky, Lazy, Ludicrous.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation: A tie between the USA and Finland
Favourite biathlete: Long Past: Dennis Donahue Recent Past: Agnieszka Cyl Present: Peter Dokl Future: Jessika Rolig and Auli Kiskola.
Favourite race(sprint,pursuit etc.): The single gender relay
Favourite ski suit design: Belarus, two years ago.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Past, Bjoern Ferry, by a mile! Present: Tarjei Boe
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tie between Johanna Talihaerm and Kadri Lehtla. The rest of the Estonian women are all very nice too.
Best thing about being a photographer: Pragmatically, free food. Emotionally, seeing my pictures published in worldwide circulation.

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Johanna Talihärm: The Interview!

Talihärm

Johanna Talihärm is an Estonian biathlete who was born on the 27th of June 1993 in Tallinn. She is a part of the Estonian Women’s Relay Team and last season she broke into the TOP 40 on the World Cup. She has a brother who is also a biathlete. Next season she will be trying to get into that TOP 40 more often and score some more points if she can sort out her prone shooting!

Blog:http://www.johannablogi.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: @johannataliharm
Facebook: Estonian Fantastic Four in the biathlon world

How popular is biathlon in Estonia?

Biathlon used to be in the shadow of cross county skiing which is “the national sport” in Estonia, but we are gaining popularity now.
You can help too by following Estonian fantastic four on Facebook!

You achieved your best career result last season at the World Championships in Kontiolahti coming 39th in the Sprint in difficult conditions. How good did that feel and how much confidence has it given you for next season?

I had a rough start for the 2014/15 season. Then I started to feel better, gained energy and confidence during the season and was finally prepared to give my best in the World Championships. After 3 penalties in prone I thought the race is over, but I got myself together again and pushed as hard as I could and cleaned the standing. I never thought I had a chance for points with 3(!!!) penalties, I was super happy that I finally reached the top 40 goal I had had for so long. It showed me how much more is possible with clean shooting.

The Estonian Women’s Team seem to be very good friends. How nice is it to travel and compete in such a good atmosphere?

I don’t even want to imagine how hard and boring it would be if we didn’t get along so well. I feel so lucky to be able to call my teammates my best friends. It is great to share the emotions, no matter if they are good or bad with them immediately. To explore the world with them! And of course to race in the same relay team!

What are your plans for summer training?

We have a new team coach with whom I personally have worked since last August. We’re mostly training in Otepää, where we have an amazing center with a 6km rollerski track with two shooting ranges.

What are your goals for next season?

To improve technique and balance, to hit more targets and shoot faster.

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

It depends on what time the race starts. Usually our races are in the afternoon so I like to sleep longer, have breakfast, then go for a run and have an light lunch and get ready to go to the stadium. I eat “normal food” but avoid milk products because they don’t suit my stomach.

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 quite a slow shooter, and also much worse in prone than standing. Ski wise I want to improve balance and technique.

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 usually wear my favorite pieces of clothing, but just because they are the most comfortable. Also I have a routine of warm up exercises, which I do every time before the start.

How difficult is it to keep up with the WADA rules for doping? Is it hard to keep track of all your food, supplements and medicines etc?

It comes with time, and now we have a database made by the Estonian anti-doping where we can search for all the medicines sold in Estonia to see if they are allowed or not.

I don’t want to criticize but you are Johanna and your brother is called Johan which shows a lack of imagination by your parents!!!;-) Does this ever cause any confusion because your names are so similar?

You are not the first one to ask this question. Both Johan and Johanna are very common names in Estonia and Scandinavia so usually there is no problem. Our parents just wanted them to be similar for both siblings and international.

Does your rifle have a name?

I usually call it “rifle” or “gun” 🙂

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiling, independent, lively.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Oslo
Favourite biathlete (past or present):The whole biathlon family is super friendly and fun, it would be a shame to pick just one.
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): pursuit and relay
Favourite/best race of your career so far? First ever clean shooting at the Sochi Olympics
Favourite food: chocolate
Favourite singer/band: can change daily
Favourite film: 1+1 (The Intouchables)
Favourite TV show: news or any other show that is not read in some language that I can’t understand.

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