Tag Archives: Julia Simon

Season Review 2019/20: The Women!

As a responsible citizen I have recycled the photo from last season! 😉

What can you say about season 2019/20 in biathlon! Obviously it got cut short by the corona virus but that also gave us a thrilling end to what has been another great season of biathlon on the women’s side.

Everything came down to the last race – the pursuit in Kontiolahti. There were two women in the running for the overall title Dorothea Wierer the defending champion (expected) and Tiril Eckhoff (totally unexpected)!

We are used to Eckhoff having some great races but they are usually few and far between. This season however it was like she was a different biathlete altogether. She has always been a brilliant skier but this season she finally discovered how to shoot! What I mean by that is hitting targets on a consisitent basis and not having some of the meltdowns and disasters on the range that have characterised her career up to now.

It was fantastic to see Eckhoff finally showing her true biathlon potential and not just having a few exceptional days in a season. In fact this season she won 7 races including 3 pursuits which won her the small crystal globe for topping the standings in that event.

We know all about Hanna Oeberg’s talent and sometimes forget she is still just 23 (great age!). She proved it again this season winning the individual title and claiming 1 win in the Pokljuka mass start and a bronze at World Champs also in the mass start.

The sprint globe was won by Denise Herrmann at the last minute! She was second in the standings heading into the final race in Kontiolahti which she won. Dorothea Wierer who was leading the standings could only finish 19th and that gave the German the small crystal globe. Herrmann had an amazing end to the season winning three races including a perfect individual in Pokljuka. If she had started better she could have had a shot at winning the overall.

The mass start globe went to Dorothea Wierer. She had an extremely consisitent season with her worst result being 24th! She won 4 races in total although none in the mass start!

The rookie of the season award went to Elvira Oeberg who announced her arrival on to the World Cup with a 12th place finish in the sprint in the opening round in Oestersund. She followed that up with 13th in the sprint at World Championships and then got her best result so far of 8th in the Nove Mesto sprint. It seems she likes the sprint! 😉

At the World Championships in Antholz it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who was the big winner. She won an unprecedented 7 medals in 7 races, 5 gold and 2 bronze. She won all three relays, the women’s, mixed and single mixed as well as the sprint and the mass start. She took bronze in the individual and the pursuit. It was an incredible achievement.

Wierer also had a terrific home World Champs winning the pursuit and individual gold medals in her back garden! She also picked up silver in the mixed relay and showed everyone just how easy the standing shoot is rattling 5 targets down in the women’s relay! 😉

We had only one first time winner this season and it came in the very last race when Julia Simon took victory in the Kontiolahti pursuit. Making on to the podium for the first time were Lena Haecki who was third in the Annecy pursuit, Linn Persson who was third in the Annecy mass start and of course Lucie Charvatova who picked up a bronze medal in the World Championships sprint!

Back to the World Cup and the outcome of that final race for the big crystal globe. Up until the final shoot Eckhoff was the virtual champion but in the final standing she missed three targets to Wierer’s one which ruined her chance. She would finish 10th and with Wierer in 11th it meant the Italian took the title by just 7 points! She is the first women to defend the overall title in 18 years since Magdalena Forsberg. Quite incredible!

The women’s relay was totally dominated by Norway who won every single race! They are a strong team but there are many thing that can go wrong in relays and to win six out of six is astonishing although it does help to have Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in your team!

The single mixed relays on the other hand were shared out. Sweden won the first race in Oestersund with Hanna Oeberg and Sebastian Samuelsson. France won in Pokljuka with Anais Bescond and Emilien Jaquelin and Norway took World Championship gold in Antholz with Roeiseland and Johannes Boe.

Last but certainly not least the end of the season saw the retirement of a legend! Kaisa Makarainen decided to call it a day at home in Kontiolahti. It seems like she has been around forever and will be sorely missed. She won three overall titles and raced against some of the greats of biathlon. She has been a fantastic ambassador for Finnish biathlon and biathlon in general and was universally popular. Hopefully she will return in some capacity like a coach or commentator. Good luck Queen Kaisa!

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Pursuits!

And deep breath! Wow what a day of biathlon that was! Both overall titles going down to the last lap of the season and two huge retirements from the sport!

It started with the men’s pursuit and with it being Martin Fourcade’s final ever race it was always going to be special. The overall was on the line and Fourcade needed to win to have a chance of taking it and of course he did. Unfortunately for him if Johannes Boe finished 4th he would claim the title an he did just that!

It was a careful start for Johannes who had a 21 second lead but he took a long time on the windy range. He hit all 5 in the first prone but so did Fourcade and Jacquelin who made up a lot of time with faster shooting. At the second prone both Frenchmen again hit all the targets but Boe missed one and left them in the lead.

At the third shoot Boe missed 3 and it looked like Martin could maybe take the big globe afterall. Both he and Jacquelin missed 1 shot but had a clear lead over Boe. Arnd Peiffer meanwhile moved into 3rd place and Quentin Fillon Maillet into 4th.

At the final shoot it was Fourcade’s turn to miss 2 and Jacquelin 3! This time Boe hit all 5 and found himself in a battle with Jacquelin and Fillon Maillet for the podium. Fourcade went on to win his last race – very Fourcade! – but Boe knew he just needed to be 4th. Lucky for him there were only 2 Frenchmen ahead of him as he was tiring towards the end but won the overall in the end by just 2 points.

Fillon Maillet was second and Jacquelin third making it a French clean sweep! Arnd Peiffer was 5th and Erlend Bjoentegaard 6th. It was a fitting way for Martin Fourcade to end such an amazing career. His first win was in the Kontiolahti pursuit and so was his last, his 83rd career victory! Astonishing!

Elsewhere Anton Smolski improved his PB to 14th and Said Khalili was 25th with 20/20 for a big personal best!

Just before the start of the women’s pursuit Kaisa Makarainen announced that she would also be retiring after the race! I mean how much do they think we can take in one day!

To the race itself and it was another showdown for the overall this time between Tiril Eckhoff and Dorothea Wierer. Eckhoff started in 3rd and Wierer in 19th so the advantage was with the Norwegian. At the first shoot she missed 2 and Wierer 1 but it was Franziska Preuss who hit 5/5 to take the lead on her own. Behind her came Denise Herrmann and Lisa Vittozzi.

The second prone was a disaster in a windy range for Preuss. She missed 4 but Marketa Davidova hit all 5 to take over at the front of the race. Vittozzi moved into second place and Julia Simon up to third. Eckhoff was into 4th while Wierer was 10th.

The first stand saw Eckhoff hit 5/5 and move into the lead followed by Simon and Vittozzi. Wierer missed 2 to leave the range in 16th place.

At the final shoot Eckhoff had a lot of problems and missed 3 targets! Julia Simon cleaned as did Selina Gasparin. Vittozzi missed 1 to find herself in second place behind Simon and just in front of Gasparin. Wierer missed 1 and was on the penalty loop with Eckhoff.

She came out ahead and just had to stay with Eckhoff for the final loop to take the overall. At the front Simon was taking her first ever win and Selina Gasparin passed Vittozzi to finish second with the Italian third.

Kaisa Makarainen in her final race had moved from 18th to 4th but just couldn’t manage one last podium! Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 5th and Mona Brorsson was 6th from a start of 25th!

Emilie Kalkenberg got a PB in 15th and weirdly the Oebergs finished in 18th (Hanna) and 19th (Elvira) and the Gasparins in 37th (Aita) and 38th (Elisa)! Sisters racing together!

In the end Eckhoff came home in 10th but with Wierer was 11th so it meant the big crystal globe was Doro’s once more winning by 7 points!

That is the end of the 2019/20 biathlon season! It has been one to remember and we will need the extra long break to recover I think!……can’t wait until next season though! Roll on November!

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Antholz 2020: The Mass Starts!

Well the women’s mass start was definitely worth waiting for! What a race to end the World Championships on the women’s side.

It started well for a lot of biathletes with 16 going clear on the first prone. Those who didn’t included Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann!

It was Katherina Innerhofer who would lead out of the second prone with another perfect shoot along with Julia Simon. Monika Hojnisz- Starega was third with Wierer and Herrmann up to 4th and 5th after hitting 5/5. Roeiseland missed another target to fall to 22nd.

At the first stand it was Simon who shot the best getting all 5 targets down. Innerhofer missed 3 to put her out of contention, Wierer missed one but Hanna Oeberg hit all 5 to move into second place behind Simon. Behind them Roeiseland cleaned to move herself back up the field.

The final shoot was crucial as usual but not defining this time! The front three all missed! Wierer with one and Simon and Oeberg missing 2. That left Wierer out in front heading to the final lap. Roeiseland meantime cleaned again and found herself in second place 14 seconds behind Wierer.

Oeberg, Hojnisz-Starega and Simon all headed to the final lap together to fight for the bronze. Roeiseland put in a stunning final lap to catch and pass Wierer to take her 5th gold medal and 7th medal of the championships. Both were tired but Roeiseland just had a little extra in her legs. She made history by becomong the first woman to win seven medals at the same World Championship with her 5 gold and 2 bronze medals! Amazing!

Wierer took the silver and it was Oeberg who was the strongest of the others taking the bronze. It was redemption for Oeberg after finishing 4th several times and having a tough time in the women’s relay.

Hojnisz-Starega was 4th, Simon 5th and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht 6th.

The men’s race was not as exciting as a finale but there was some great biathlon on show. It was a cat and mouse first loop with the French trio of Martin Fourcade, Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet taking the lead and trying to put pressure on Johannes Boe.

It didn’t work as all three missed a shot! It was Jakov Fak who left the range in the lead with Simon Desthieux and Benedikt Doll following. Boe hit all five and soon took over the lead on the tracks bringing his brother Tarjei and Johannes Dale with him.

All three Norwegians cleaned and behind them so did Jacquelin, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux. At the first standing shoot it was only Johannes and Desthieux who hit all 5. That left Boe with a nice lead followed by the fast skiing Fillon Maillet.

It was to be a perfect day for Johannes hitting all 5 again in the final shoot to cruise home for the gold medal! As the only man with 20/20 he was unbeatable. Fillon Maillet missed 1 but was comfortable in second. It was for bronze that we got the battle. Jacquelin cleaned his final shoot but Tarjei Boe took a penalty which meant he came off the loop just 7 seconds behind.

It was a tough final loop for Tarjei who caught and passed Jacquelin but he couldn’t hold on and was passed by the Frenchman before the finish line.

Desthieux finished 5th and Felix Leitner in 6th.

That concludes the World Championships in Antholz for 2020 and it has been a great event. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was spectacular and Dorothea Wierer fulfilled her dreams here too. For the men Johannes Boe became the first man to win 6 medals at the same Worlds and Martin Fourcade now has gold in each discipline after France finally won the relay!

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Oberhof 2020: The Sprints!

It was a beautiful sunny day that greeted the biathletes for the first race of the season! Of course it wasn’t!!! It’s Oberhof! It was foggy and damp! Just the way it’s supposed to be!

The women started off 2020 with the sprint and the Norwegians continued their domination of the World Cup so far. However this time it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who won. She shot the perfect 10/10 in difficult conditions on the range and skied very well to win by 33 seconds.

Denise Herrmann finally gave the German women’s team something to cheer about and pleased the home crowd by finishing second. She missed one shot in the stand. Third place went to Julia Simon who missed one in the prone but skied well to finish on the podium ahead of Dorothea Wierer who also missed 1.

Tiril Eckhoff was 5th with 2 misses and Paulina Fialkova was 6th with 1 miss.

Canada’s Emma Lunder got a new personal best in 7th shooting clean.

There were also a number of debuts with her teammate Emily Dickson who was 46th, Austria’s Tamara Steiner 71st, Italy’s Michaela Carrara 76th, Czech Tereza Vobornkova 84th and American Hallie Grossman 80th.

The men’s sprint on Friday had less fog but heavy rain overnight destroyed the tracks and left just the 2.5km loop available for the race. That meant the men had to ski 2.5 km, shoot prone, ski 5km and then shoot stand and then ski the final 2.5km. The man who coped best with this was Martin Fourcade. He hit 10/10 and skied well to take his second win of the season. With Johannes Boe at home awaiting the birth of his first child they were valuable points for the Frenchman.

Second place also went to France with Emilien Jacquelin getting his third podium of the season. He missed 1 shot but if he had hit 10 he would have been very close to the win. Third place went to Johannes Kuehn who also missed 1 target.

Matvey Eliseev was 4th with perfect shooting, Alexander Loginov was 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th both missing 1.

There were personal bests for Raman Yaliotnau in 14th and Vytautas Strolia in 20th. There were also a couple of crashes for Simon Bartko and Kalev Ermits but both were unhurt.

Tarjei Boe managed to forget his penalty loop and had to ski back up the hill to take it! OOPS!

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Oestersund 2019: The Individuals!

Mon Dieu, Zut alors, tres bien, restaurant and other French words!!! What a race in the Oestersund Individual for the French Men’s team! They took the top four places in one race which hasn’t been done since 2009.

Leading them was Martin Fourcade who took his first win of the season shooting 19/20. He looks in much better shape than last year thank goodness! Second place went to Simon Desthieux who also shot 19/20 but was 12.7 seconds behind Fourcade. Skiing like the wind in third was Quentin Fillon Maillet who missed 3 targets!

Fourth went to Emilien Jacquelin which is also his personal best with 2 misses. In fact 5 of the the top 7 were French with Fabien Claude coming home in 7th place with 18/20. We won’t mention the 6th member of the team though! We will mention the wax team however who prepared some excellent skis which worked really well in warming conditions.

Benjamin Weger had an excellent race in 5th and Tarjei Boe was 6th. Johannes Boe looked tired today but still finished 10th shooting 18/20. I hope he hasn’t got what Martin had last season!

There were only two men who shot clean and they were Anton Babikov in 14th and Krasimir Anev in 15th. China’s Fangmeng Cheng got a huge personal best in 22nd improving by around 60 places!!! I wonder if it has anything to do with his new coach! 😉

Jakub Stvrtecky was 32nd getting a personal best with 3 misses. Junior Champion Alex Cisar from Slovenia made his World Cup debut at 19 years old and was 92nd.

Unluckily for me I used up all my french words for the men but I should have saved some as the Women’s Individual also went to France. Justine Braisaz who had an awful sprint race on Sunday was fantastic missing 2 shots but still winning by just over 11 seconds. She came from nowhere to take her second World Cup win.

The only woman in the whole field to shoot 20/20 was Yuliia Dzhima and it was good enough for second place. Julia Simon got another podium for France and a personal best for herself in third with 2 misses.

Ingrid Tandrevold was 4th, Larisa Kuklina 5th with her personal best and Lena Haecki was 6th despite 3 misses.

Dorothea Wierer finished 7th, two places ahead of teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi who was 9th.

There were also personal bests for Tamara Voronina in 14th, Grete Gaim in 27th and Anastassiya Kondratyeva in 34th.

Next races in Oestersund are the men’s relay on Saturday and the women’s relay on Sunday. Man the Swedes must really love a relay as they are getting 4 this week! 🙂


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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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Ruhpolding 2019: The Relays!

Tissues! I need tissues! Michael Roesch raced for the final time in Ruhpolding. He is loved by everyone – the fans and his fellow biathletes mainly for his sense of humour and being such a nice guy. He will be sorely missed by the biathlon family!

Back to the race and what do we know about the men’s relay in Ruhpolding? That’s right Norway always win! So of course Norway won! With a team of Lars Helge Birkeland, Vetle Christiansen, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Boe they got their fifth win in a row here.

It was a tight race however. Mr Roesch finished on a high shooting clean on the first leg for Belgium. Six teams came to the first exchange together- Ukraine, France, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic and Germany.

Christiansen put Norway in the lead using one spare and Martin Fourcade handed over in second place. Tarjei Boe needed two spares in the standing which let France, Germany and Austria catch up to the leaders.

Tarjei handed over to Johannes with a tiny lead of under a second. He was neck and neck with Benedikt Doll but took the lead after the prone. However he needed 3 spares in the stand to Doll’s 1 and so they left the range together.

Behind these two it was a battle between Simon Desthieux and Julian Eberhard for third place. Johannes attacked on the steep uphill and pulled away from Doll to give Norway the victory. Norway used 8 spares in total.

The German team were second with Roman Rees, Johannes Kuehn, Arnd Peiffer and Doll using 6 spares. There was a sprint finish for third with Desthieux coming out on top. The French team of Emilien Jacquelin, Fourcade, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Desthieux used 9 spares.

Austria were 4th, Russia 5th and Sweden 6th. Roesch’s Belgian team finished 19th.

The women’s relay was on Saturday and what do we know about the women’s relay in Rupholding? France haven’t won here for ages. So obviously France won! The team of Julia Simon, Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier used only 4 spares to take the victory for the first time here in 25 years.

Unsurprisingly Italy took an early lead with Dorothea Wierer shooting clean. However Simon was right with her after hitting 10/10 and Norway’s Synnoeve Solemdal did the same in third.

Anais Bescond was steady on the second leg using 1 spare and handed over to Braisaz ahead of Italy and Slovakia who moved up after a great leg from Paulina Fialkova.

Braisaz used 2 spares but was fast enough to complete both shoots before the others had fired a round. Tiril Eckhoff had a super leg moving Norway into second and Preuss brought Germany into it handing over in third.

That was how the race finished with neither Marte Olsbu Roeiseland nor Denise Herrmann able to catch Anais Chevalier. One spare was the difference between second and third with 2 spares needed by Norway and 3 by Germany on the last standing.

Sweden were 4th, Russia 5th and Slovakia 6th with Kuzmina moving them up from 16th on the final leg.

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