Tag Archives: Johannes Thingnes Bø

Season Preview 2019/20: The Men!

The light bulbs in the floodlights have all been replaced in Oestersund, the fog machines have been serviced in Oberhof (you didn’t think that was real fog ,did you?) and the Kontiolahti Wall has been made a little bit steeper. All of which can only mean one thing – the biathlon season is about to start!

The schedule is a little different this year with Oestersund, Hochfilzen and Annecy before Christmas. Then comes Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Pokljuka. The World Championships are in Antholz and then we have three more World Cup rounds in Nove Mesto, Kontiolahti and Oslo.

The big question on everyone’s mind on the men’s World Cup is which Martin Fourcade is going to show up in Sweden? Will it be 7 times champion Martin Fourcade or 2018/19 Martin Fourcade? Fingers crossed it’s the former. It’s about time we had a proper head to head clash on the men’s World Cup.

Last season was fantastic for Johannes Boe. He won the big crystal globe with 1262 points which was 408 points ahead of his closest challenger Alexander Loginov and almost double the tally of Fourcade. Fourcade had many issues last year but he still had a great season by “normal biathlete” standards. However he is not a normal biathlete as we know and if he comes back with his old form we could have a battle between himself and Boe the likes of which we haven’t seen since Troy.

Of course there is an “Achillies Heel”! Johannes Boe is set to become a father for the first time in January. Obviously baby Boe has priority so it could mean him missing some races which could impact a close title fight. And there is Trojan Horse of injury and illness that could sneak up unexpectedly!

Won’t there be any other challengers for the title I hear you ask? No, probably not! There are many biathletes who ski as fast as Boe and Fourcade and many who shoot as well as them too. However there are none who can do both on such a consistent basis as our two favourites.

It is shaping up to be a fight between Norway and France not just via Boe and Fourcade but also with the rest of the guys too. Last season Quentin Fillon Maillet was excellent and finished third overall and Simon Desthieux was fourth. Tarjei Boe was sixth and Vetle Christiansen took a big step forward winning his first World Cup race. Antonin Guigonnat had a great season and Erlend Bjoentegaard will be looking to impress. So the relays could get very exciting as well as the individual races.

Who else should we be looking out for to do well this season? Who could taste victory for the first time and who could make the jump up onto the podium?

There is always a lot of attention on Sebastian Samuelsson after his Olympic successes but he is yet to win a race. I think people forget that he is still a biathlon “baby” aged just 22. He got his first World Cup podium last season and it would be great to see him make the jump up to the top step.

Johannes Keuhn had a great start last season getting a second place in the first race. However he faded a bit after the initial glory but it could be his chance this time to take a maiden victory.

Remember Michal Krcmar? He disappeared last season along with the rest of the Czech men’s team. The year before though he excelled so if he can get that old form back a win could be his for the first time. And let’s face it his rifle deserves a victory!

A surprise winner at the World Championships, it would be good to see Dmytro Pidruchnyi bring that confidence and attitude with him on to the World Cup this season and hopefully gets some more wins under his belt.

Johannes Dale is one to watch for possible podiums this season. He did really well debuting on the World Cup last year and has the ski speed to get among the top finishers. It would also be good to see Sean Doherty live up to the potential he showed as a Junior. 10th is his personal best so far but after joining the army this summer maybe a bit if discipline and a good haircut can propel him up the field! Attention!

Tero Seppala didn’t have the best season in 2018/19 but he had good results the year before so hopefully he can also take a step forward. Christian Gow had a fantastic season with two Top 10 finishes and he could be a good bet to grab Canada a podium this time round.

The men’s season for the Overall Title begins with the Sprint race in Oestersund on the 1st of December. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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Kristian Wulff: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Kristian Wulff.

Kristian Wulff is a Danish biathlete and biathlon commentator. Originally a cross-country skier he came to biathlon a little later in his career. He has competed in two Summer World Championships so far. He commentates for Danish TV as well as having full time job as a teacher. He is a busy man!

Follow Kristian on Twitter: @Kristian_Wulff

Why did you become a biathlete?

I probably started as every other cross-country skier – in a sled pulled by my parents and got my first pair of skis when I was three years old. In Denmark there is not a lot of snow in winter, so we went skiing primarily in Sweden and Norway and only for a few weeks per year. When I was about 10 years old I participated in the Danish National Championships in cross-country (held in Sweden) and I found out that skiing was the perfect sport. Beautiful nature, high pulse, and demanding technique – combined!
I have participated as a cross-country skier in the Youth Olympics, Junior WCH, and WCH in Oslo 2011. But with full time study and becoming a father at the age of 26 I stopped competing – and only did training for fun. Four years ago at the age of 30 I started regular Biathlon training together with other former cross-country skiers at the local club. Now I have been to two Summer World Championships – Nove Mesto and Minsk – and I still want to train and compete even though I am on the second page on the result list.
Earlier I loved cross-country skiing because of combination of the beautiful nature, high pulse and demanding technique – NOW I love Biathlon because it adds shooting – and that makes it even more fun!

Tell us about the Summer World Championships this season?

It was a very good experience. I was in good skiing shape, but not in that good shooting shape. So I know what I need to work on. It was nice together with the other nations at the hotel, so I did some networking and talked to some of the other biathletes to get even more experience and advice to bring home to Denmark. Minsk was also a part of the trip – a tourist attraction. It was good to spent some time with the team together in Minsk on the last day. We did some classic sightseeing in a city that I would not have travelled to on my own with my family – and that’s what this is all about – to get some good times and get to know the culture in other countries.

How did you become a biathlon commentator?

I started working as cross country commentator for Eurosport in 2008-2009 but got a job offer at TV2 Denmark (a national channel) for the Olympics in 2010 – both cross country skiing and biathlon. Since then I have mostly done biathlon for TV2 and I love it. It is my passion – I would watch everything anyway. The hard thing is to combine it with time with my family, my training and my other full time job as a high school teacher.

What was the best race you commentated on last season?

Uhhh… that’s a tricky one… I think it must have been WCH Östersund 15 km Mass start with the crazy victory for Dominik Windisch. I think he came in to the last shooting placed as number 10 with everyone standing in the crazy snowstorm in Östersund and he was one of the few to shoot clean and suddenly becoming world champion! That’s what biathlon is all about!

Are you going to compete on the IBU Cup this season? If not which Danish biathletes should we look out for?

I have not done the final plans for this winter. Maybe I will be at Sjusjöen at the IBU cup or maybe before the opening of the season. But I know that my teammate Jens Hulgaard wants to qualify for the WCH in Antholz, so I hope to commentate the championships with a Danish flag on the start list!

You are teacher and a commentator? When do you have time to train and what have you been doing for summer training?

Yes, I am a full time teacher I teach geography and sport science. I train very little but very hard! That’s my motto! Sometimes in my 30 minutes lunch break I do some intervals on a Thoraxtrainer (a skiergometer) before I have to do a lecture in sports science with my students. They find it OK that I am a bit sweaty starting the class I think…
This summer I have been in southern France and in Tuscany with my family – and with my bike on the bike rack behind the car. It has been great with a lot of biking and running – but no shooting practice. So that is the key for development in biathlon to train more shooting.

You are heavily involved in trying to get more people to do biathlon in Denmark. How is it going so far?

At the summer WCH last year we were only two participants. This year we were 5 participants – 3 seniors together with 2 juniors. So that’s progress! Next year we plan to bring one or two junior girls to the summer WCH. So we are still trying to improve

What are your strengths and weaknesses? (biathlon or commentary!)

My strength is being enthusiastic – both in biathlon and in commentary!
I love skiing full speed and sometime find it difficult to calm down entering the shooting range. So maybe this is also my weakness.
And I love biathlon so much that I maybe talk a bit too much doing my commentary. So maybe that’s also my weakness.
Being enthusiastic about biathlon is both my strength and apparently also my weakness!

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

I love the track in Holmenkollen because of the crowd – I participated as a cross country skier in WCH Oslo 2011 and it was amazing to hear the “Kollenbrølet” (Kollen roar). And I commentated the WCH Oslo in biathlon in 2016 live on site at the stadium and experienced once again the crazy “Kollenbrøl”!

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

Like everyone else I have to say Ole Einar Bjørndalen because he could always find some small details to improve. And because he went on for so many years. I am 34 years old, so he motivates me to continue improving even though I’m not getting any younger.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ahh… nope… I actually don’t have my own rifle yet. I always use the same rifle at my club so it’s kind of mine, but I have not bought my own yet.

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic, Social, Ambitious

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): hahah… Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy (IN BLUE)
Favourite shooting range: Antholz because of the surroundings
Lucky bib number: 23…
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Johannes Bø
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup:Klemen Bauer
Best thing about being a biathlete: Seeing places that you would not normally see as a tourist and training with some cool stuff – skis and a rifle – what’s not to like!

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Spring Things 2019!

It’s summer! Not a biathlon fans favourite season is it? But it means there is only autumn between now and winter! Before the biathlon23 summer season of interviews starts it’s time to remind you what things happened in spring. That’s right -it’s Spring Things!!!

Retirements:

Well we all got a shock in May when Laura Dahlmeier announced her retirement at the age of 25! (How dare she!!) It was pretty well known that she wouldn’t be a Bjoerndalen and carry on forever but we thought we could get another Olympics out of her at least! Gabriela Koukalova who hasn’t raced for 2 seasons confirmed that she won’t be coming back and so is another biathlon pensioner!

Other retirements in spring included Henrik L’Abee Lund who joins Bjoerndalen and Svendsen in putting his feet up on the Norwegian sofa. Canada’s Erin Yungblut also ended her career as did Finland’s Laura Toivanen.

Relationships:

It was a spring of weddings this year with Eva Puskarcikova tying the knot. Russian pair Nikita Porshnev and Anastasiia Morozova also got married to each other. Monika Hojnisz married another Polish nordic star cross-country skier Maciej Starega.

Anais Chevalier will miss the season after she announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Congratulations to all of them!

In tragic news young Russian biathlete Artemii Khasankaev passed away.

Coaching carousel:

As usual we had the annual swapping of biathlon coaches. Sometimes I think they just put all the names in a hat and then the countries pick them out like a raffle!

Michael Greis left the US men’s team and is now coaching the Polish women’s team after Nadiya Bilova stepped down for health reasons. Norwegian Vegard Bitnes takes over the US men’s team.

Also in North America Mathias Ahrens is no longer coaching the Canadian national team but will coach for Biathlon Alberta.

Wolfgang Pichler retired from Sweden and was replaced by Anders Byström who will be the National Team Manager and Johannes Lukas who takes over the position of National Team Coach.

Russia have added another coach with the appointment of Maxim Maksimov as assistant to the head coach.

Simon Fourcade is the new coach of the French Junior team.

And if you have followed all that you deserve a medal! Not an Olympic one of course maybe just a bronze from a World Cup round! 😉

Injuries:

The bike strikes again this time with Erik Lesser falling off and breaking his collarbone. Vetle Christiansen had surgery to correct an issue with his left knee. Anna Magnusson also had an operation on a ligament in her left hand. Tiril Eckhoff had a rollerski accident ending with an enormous lump on her hip.

Other things of spring:

Martin Fourcade announced that he will be hosting a nordic festival over the weekend of the 31st of August in Annecy. He has ingeniously called it the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival! How did he come up with that! 😉
Most of the big stars in biathlon will be there including Johannes Boe! Imagine if he beats Fourcade in his own competition!!!

Kaisa Makarainen, Liza Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer will be competing along with many of the French biathletes amongst others.

We also had the excitement of the Giro d’Italia finishing a stage in the Antholz biathlon arena watched on by all the Italian biathletes. It was nice to see but we don’t really want to encourage other sports that are not as good as biathlon, do we!

Dorothea Wierer also put in an appearance at the Moto GP race in Mugello getting a photo with some guy called Marquez. Better still she also got a photo with Herbert Cool the former Dutch biathlete and now biathlon commentator who is moonlighting at the Moto GP in the summer!

The IBU announced a few changes with prize money now being awarded to the top 20 finishers instead of the top 15. Why stop there? Shouldn’t it be the Top 40 – if you get a point, you get a prize!

They have also introduced a “season opening” to open the 2020/21 season in Kontiolahti. (They get their naming ideas from Martin Fourcade!) I think this is basically just an extra World Cup round that they can’t call World Cup 1 as Oestersund was already given the title!

The IBU also held a gender equality conference in Poland which is an excellent initiative. Biathlon is one of the most gender equal sports when it comes to the athletes but has a long way to go with a lack of female coaches and women in leadership positions.

Last but certainly not least the IPC have announced that Para-biathlon will have it’s own World Championship this season for the first time! They will take place in Oestersund from the 11th to 15th March 2020 without a cross-country skier in sight!!!
(Up until now cross-country and biathlon have had combined World Championships.)

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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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Season Review 2018/19: The Men!

Well, well, well you didn’t expect that at the start of the season did you? After 7 years of total domination Martin Fourcade’s reign as Overall champion is over. Johannes Boe is the new champion finally living up to his potential!

However we have basically just swapped one dominant biathlete for another as no one got near Boe in the Total Score.He accumulated 1262 points to win his first big crystal globe. Second place went to Alexander Loginov with 856 points and third to Quentin Fillon Maillet with 843 points.

There were only 8 men who even won a race this season including Boe but we did have 4 brand new victors which is always good to see.

At the start of the season in Pokljuka it looked like business as usual for Martin Fourcade as he won the first race of the season taking victory in the individual. It didn’t continue that way as we know with Boe winning both the sprint and pursuit.

It was still pretty even in Hochfilzen with Boe taking the sprint but Fourcade the pursuit. Yes we thought – a proper battle for number one! Alas we were to be disappointed on that front but Boe gave us some amazing races to enjoy along the way.

He really turned the screw in Nove Mesto winning all three races and taking a lot of points from the others. In Oberhof we got our first new winner of the season with Alexander Loginov taking the sprint for his debut win on the World Cup. I imagine it might have come sooner if he had decided to be a clean athlete and didn’t miss two years with a doping ban.

Johannes came back to win the pursuit and did the double in Ruhpolding with sprint and pursuit victory. He won the same two races in Antholz but in the mass start the biathlon gods finally looked down on Quentin Fillon Maillet and gave him his first ever World Cup win. After 5 second place finishes in his career he really deserved it.

In Canmore there was just the short individual which Boe won but in Soldier Hollow he didn’t get a victory for the first time at a World Cup round!! Instead it was teammate Vetle Christiansen who got his maiden World Cup win in the sprint. The pursuit went to Fillon Maillet who waited ages for his first win and then gets another one shortly after. I wonder if he takes the bus! 😉

In Oestersund at the World Championships there was no such domination from one athlete with four different winners in the individual events (hurrah!). The sprint of course went to Johannes Boe but Dmytro Pidruchnyi won the pursuit which was his first ever win, Arnd Peiffer took the individual and the mass start went to Dominik Windisch in a race we won’t forget for a long time.

At the final round in Holmenkollen it was the Boe show! He won all three races; the sprint, pursuit and mass start with some fantastic performances. He also broke the record for the most wins in a single season. He won 16 races!!! Unboelievable!!! The previous record was 14 which Martin Fourcade did last year to match Magdalena Forsberg. I’m sure he was delighted it was broken so quickly!!! 😉

It was a clean sweep of all the small globes for Boe in the sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start unsurprisingly.

Rookie of the year went to another Norwegian called Johannes but this time it was Mr. Dale who won it!

Relays
In the four relays before World Championships Sweden won the first in Hochfilzen, Russia won in Oberhof and Norway triumphed in both Ruhpolding and Canmore. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold with Lars Helge Birkelund, Vetle Christiansen and the Boe brothers making up the team.

There were just two mixed relays before the Worlds and both were won by the French. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold. The team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Boe were too strong for the other teams.

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Mass Starts!

It wasn’t really the epic battle we hoped for between Dorothea Wierer, Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina to decide the winner of the overall title in the mass start. All three looked physically and mentally drained after a tough season. They finished with Kuzmina in 10th missing 6 targets, Vittozzi in 11th missing 5 and Wierer in 12th also missing 5!

It was more than enough though for Wierer to claim her and Italy’s first ever big crystal globe in the women’s event. It was very well deserved by Wierer as she has been in the fight from the start fighting with Kaisa Makarainen in the earlier part of the season, then against Vittozzi and then finally Kuzmina.

Back to the race and it was close after the first prone with Hanna Oberg, Dorothea Wierer, Paulina Fialkova, Kaisa Makarainen, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Tiril Eckhoff all shooting clean and getting themselves a small lead over the others.

At the second prone it was again Oberg who led out of the shooting range hit 5/5. The leading group was halved however with just Eckhoff and Fialkova matching Oberg with no misses.

The three arrived at the first standing and all three missed! Oberg and Fialkova missed 1, Eckhoff missed 2. That gave the chasers a chance to close the gap and that’s just what Clare Egan with 15/15 and Denise Herrmann with
13/15 did.

At the final stand Oberg missed one again but so did her rivals Egan and Eckhoff. Herrmann missed 2 and Fialkova 3. That left Oberg out in front but being pursued by Eckhoff and Egan. Egan caught and passed Eckhoff but possibly used too much energy doing so and the Norwegian repassed her and even had a go a catching Oberg for the win but she ran out of track.

It was Oberg’s first win on the World Cup and also saw her win the mass start crystal globe. It was a personal best and first ever podium for Egan in third.

Herrmann was 4th, Lisa Hauser 5th and Fialkova 6th.

Evgeniya Pavlova was crowned rookie of the year.

Who wins 16 races in one season? Johannes Thingnes Boe that’s who! What an unbelievable season it has been for the Norwegian and he capped it off with a hattrick of wins at home and shooting 20/20 in the mass start to secure the small crystal globe. He made a clean sweep of all the globes this year and he has been outstanding. Unlike his celebratory viking helmet!!! Not only historically inaccurate but not very well fitting either! 😉

In the race itself it was Antonin Guigonnat who took the lead after the first prone but he was followed very closely by Julian Eberhard, Vetle Christainsen, Boe, Sebastian Samuelsson and Arnd Peiffer.

At the second prone it was Christiansen who took on the lead with Boe, Peiffer, Phillip Nawrath and Fabien Claude behind him after they all shot 5/5.

Christiansen missed 2 on the first standing but Boe, Peiffer and Nawrath cleaned as did Bendikt Doll who was making up ground fast after an early mistake.

It was Boe who pulled out a lead before the 4th and final shoot of the season. He seems to have solved all his standing issues and cleaned and cruised off to victory. On the range Peiffer cleaned also hitting 20/20 to take second place. Christiansen made no mistakes this time leaving in third. Doll had 1 miss but came off the penalty loop right behind the Norwegian.

Christiansen couldn’t hold off the charging Doll however and he was passed on the tracks. Doll took the last place on the podium and Julian Eberhard came back to take 4th with Christiansen having to settle for 5th. Lukas Hofer took 6th but he and Simon Desthieux got tangled up on the small hill before the finishing straight and both fell. It was the Italian who recovered fastest to take the final flowers of the season!

Fabien Claude got his personal best in 12th and Lucas Fratzscher pushed his up to 13th.

Johannes Dale won rookie of the season.

And just like that the season was finished! It has been a historic and memorable one but more about that in my season reviews and there is the small matter of some awards to hand out too! 🙂

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