Tag Archives: Kadri Lehtla

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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Biathlete23: Season 2014/15 Review!

novemesto15

After the excitement of a debut season your next full year on the World Cup can be difficult. There are no excuses you know what it’s all about now. Mostly you just want to improve your performances and results from the season before. It’s been an up and down year for biathlete23 but thankfully no one suspended for doping which is always good news. In case you don’t know this blog follows the fortunes of whoever is lucky enough to be drawn in bib 23 throughout the season and calculates the points to see how they compare to the real biathletes. Last year there were 2 wins from the bib from Selina Gasparin and Johannes Thingnes Boe which were coincidentally on the same day and were also their debut wins!

This year got off to a slow start no doubt due to the pressure that biathletes suffer when they learn they are in bib 23 and have to represent the blog. It may also be from fear of repraisals from me. If you think the Norwegian coaches are tough you haven’t seen anything yet! In Oestersund the biathletes in 23 were Diana Rasimoviciute, Simon Desthieux, Dmitry Malyshko,Juliya Dzhyma, Jitka Landova and Lowell Bailey which yielded a total of 64 points. Not the best results ever but it was still early days.

On to Hochfilzen and happy days! Kaisa Makarainen was drawn in bib 23 and went on to win the Sprint! The first win of the season is always sweet. It was backed up by a solid 17th place for Krasimir Anev. In the Pursuits Luise Kummer failed to score any points but Maxim Tsvetkov was 21st and meant a total of 104 points from the round.

The last races before Christmas came in Pokljuka and I was lucky enough to get home favourite Teja Gregorin into bib 23! She didn’t disappoint coming home in 7th and for the men Simon Eder took 11th place. Fredrik Lindstrom finished 12th in the Pursuit but bad luck struck when Tiril Eckhoff pulled out of the race. In the Mass Start Quentin Fillon Maillet got 12th and Fanny Horn 21st which meant leaving Slovenia with 115 points.

Luckily for her Tiril Eckhoff got to make up for her DNS in Pokljuka by finishing 13th in the Sprint in Oberhof. Backing her up in 10th was Artem Tyshchenko. Fanny Horn did the business again getting 29th in the Mass Start and Vladimir Iliev kept up the points scoring with 19th in the men’s race which gave a points total of 93. It was then on to Ruhpolding where we started with the women’s Sprint and a fourth place from Valj Semerenko! In the men’s race it was over to legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who was 15th. It’s always a pleasure to see Ole Einar in bib 23! On to the Mass Starts with Lisa Hauser taking 21st and Vladimir Iliev, in his second appearance in 23, coming home 30th. Biathlete 23 left Germany with 100 points from round 5.

Antholz came next and it wasn’t the highest scoring round. Daniel Mesotitsch failed to score any points coming 45th in the Sprint. Juliya Dzhyma did better in 30th for the women. The Pursuit saw 2 Czech biathletes race with Gabriela Soukalova in 21st and Michal Krcmar in 24th. That only meant a total of 48 points for bib 23.

Just like after Hochfilzen biathlete23 doesn’t take disappointing results lying down -oh no! Laura Dahlmeier stepped up in Nove Mesto and won her first World Cup race and 60 points! Woo hoo second win of the season. It was Emil Hegle Svendsen’s turn next but he failed to get any points finishing 43rd in the men’s race. We can rely on the Czechs though and another one Eva Puskarcikova got 14th in the Pursuit and Simon Fourcade went one better and came home 13th. Another 115 points gained.

In Oslo we saw Juliya Dzyhma in bib 23 for the third time this season and she used the occasion to perform well. She came in 6th in the Individual to earn some vital points to make up for Ondrej Moravec who was 70th staining the Czechs good form in the bib. In the Sprint Kadri Lehtla was 28th and another appearance for Vladimir Iliev saw him finish 27th. 65 points was the total from that weekend.

So it was on to Kontiolahti and as the result counted towards World Cup total score it was important to have some biathletes in the points here too. The Sprint races were first and Daria Virolaynen came in 21st and Dominik Windisch was 35th. In the Pursuit we had Ondrej Moravec, making up for Oslo, who was 9th and Megan Heinicke in 28th. For the Individual Anna Magnussen was 72nd and Tim Burke 31st. Lastly we had the Mass Start and Jana Gerekova was 12th for the women and in the men’s race my old pal Brendan Green was in bib23 once again. That’s the Olympics and now the World Championships where he found himself in bib 23! That’s why he is the unofficial ambassador for bib23 (unpaid position!). He finished 21st and meant total points from Kontiolahti were 130.

On to the final round and Khanty Mansisyk. The last chance to score points and see where biathlete 23 would have finished in comparison to the other biathletes in the total score. The first races were the Sprints and for the men Simon Fourcade was 8th. Why he chose this one occasion not to come 4th I don’t know!!! For for the women Elise Ringen was 47th which meant no points. In the Pursuit race Tiril Eckhoff was back and got 17th while Florian Graf got 18th place. The final races were the Mass Starts and biathlete 23 regular Juliya Dzhyma finished in 18th and Sergey Semenov was 26th. The final points total from Russia was 119.

So where did that leave us at the end of the season. Well like the real biathletes you have to deduct your two worst finishes from your total but as biathlete 23 had more than 2 non points scoring finishes it wasn’t necessary!!! The final total for the men was 467 which would have put them in equal 20th place in the overall with the exact same score as Jean Guillaume Beatrix! The women’s total was 481 and left them between Daria Virolaynen in 16th and Susan Dunklee in 17th in the overall. The big question however was did they do better than last year?

Last year’s total score for the men and women combined was 754 points. This year it is 948! An improvement of 194 points. Although last year the Olympics didn’t count towards the overall so that will account for some of the difference but even if you deduct the World Championship points of 130 the score would be 818 points so it is still a better year than the first! The women’s score last year was 407 and the men’s was 347. Good news the results improved! The coach is very happy!!!

Special thanks goes to all the biathletes who are lucky enough to be drawn in bib23 and that have scored points for biathlete 23! Juliya Dzhyma has been in bib23 a record 4 times this year! A great team player! Obviously the biggest thanks has to go to the two athletes who won in bib 23 Kaisa Makarainen and with her debut win Laura Dahlmeier! Biathlete 23 will return next year and who knows maybe we can win 3 races and sneak into the TOP 10! 🙂

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LEHT’s go KADRI!

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Estonia has only been a country in its current form since 1993. It has a population of around 1.3 million, one of the least-populous in the EU, and yet it is producing some quality biathletes. Kadri Lehtla is one of these.

Born in Tallinn on the 3rd of May 1985 she has been competing in biathlon since 2006. She has managed to break into the TOP 30 at least once every single year since 2007 which is an amazing feat in itself and she finished 18th in the Pursuit in Kontiolahti in the 2011/12 season. Already an Olympic athlete she achieved some respectable results in Vancouver finishing 18th in the 4Ă—6 km relay, 45th in the 15 km individual and 64th in the 7.5 km sprint.

This summer she has spent time training in Estonia, Finland and Austria. She trained alone away from the rest of the Estonian team in Obertilliach to help her prepare for Sochi. Estonia is not a very mountainous country, it can be described as hilly at best, so it is important to do some training at higher altitudes. Kadri suffered a minor setback with her rifle this summer when she got it caught under her rollerskis and snapped a piece off. Fortunately she has a very handy brother who stuck it back on with glue and tape so she could carry on shooting!

Kadri’s big goal for this season is to break into the TOP 10 and obviously to perform well in Sochi. She needs to improve by around 10-15 places to achieve this and it will be difficult considering the competition but she definitely has the potential to do it. If she can remain illness free for a whole season there is no reason why she can’t be up there with the top biathletes. In biathlon if you can shoot clear anything is possible.

At 28 Kadri is probably now getting to her peak years. With plenty of experience behind her now is the perfect time to try and push on and attain the high goals she has set for herself. She has started this season well with a career best 15th place in the Individual in Oestersund shooting clear. If she does break into the TOP 10 it will be a massive boost both for herself and Estonian biathlon. If she can keep her rifle in one piece she has a great chance – LEHT’s go KADRI!

Kadri’s website: http://www.kadrilehtla.com
You can find her on Facebook too.

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The Swede Smell of Success!

oestersund

Well that’s Oestersund over for another year. A disrupted calendar due to high winds but pretty interesting all the same. It began what feels like about 10 years ago with the mixed relay. The Czech Republic won with a very solid performance from all 4 athletes and with a little help from Martin Fourcade who proved he is in fact human and not just a lean, mean, biathlon machine.

He soon put all that behind him though by winning the Individual by over 2 minutes with an “in your face doubters” kind of display. What’s most remarkable about this guy is that after a disaster in the relay and 4 days to sit and dwell on it he comes out and shoots clear. His mental strength is unbelievable and you can’t help but be impressed by the way he handled the situation. We know his physical ability but to have that mental toughness is why he will be so hard to beat this season. Many people would have crumbled after the relay but he comes out even stronger and wins the Sprint too just for good measure. Four-midable!

On the women’s side Tora Berger didn’t get off to a great start either. She also had a bit of a shocker in the relay. Like Fourcade she worked her way back on to the podium finishing 3rd in the Sprint.Elsewhere Gabriela Soukalova started where she finished last season with an impressive performance in the Individual and Ann Kristin Flatland had a great race to win the Sprint. It was great to see Marie-Laure Brunet get the podium that her amazing shooting deserves and Olga Zaitseva making it in there too after a rocky start for Team Russia. Slovakia also earned a podium through Kuzmina.

Special mentions have to go to the French men’s team especially Jean-Guillame Beatrix for his 4th place in the Sprint and Baptiste Jouty for an amazing 13th place in the same race.In fact the French men had 5 finishers in the TOP 40. Also to Fredrik Lindstrom for restoring some home pride in a tough meet for the Swedes. What might have been if he hadn’t fallen we will never know but I like to think he would have won. Tim Burke also hit some early season form in the Sprint and his fellow North American JP Le Guellec proved that he must really like Oestersund by getting a 4th place in the Individual to follow his Sprint win last year. The Austrian men also performed very well in the Individual with Eder in second, and Mesotitsch in third after competing in Idre in the IBU Cup.

The Italians also had some great results from both the men and women. Oberhofer and Weirer both finished in the TOP 10 -a first for Italy and Hofer and De Lorenzi repeated the feat for the men. Kadri Lehtla was the only woman to shoot clear in the Individual and earned her a career best 15th place. Andorra’s Laurie Soulie was also having the race of her life in that event right up until the final shoot.If she hadn’t missed 3 targets she could have made the TOP 5.

On the other hand it was a bit of a disappointing weekend for the big guns from Norway and Russia especially on the men’s side with no podiums for either team.If you are a fan of theirs though you shouldn’t worry too much. I think they both have a master plan that involves peaking in time for the Olympics and if last season’s World Championships are anything to go by the Norwegians at least will be bang on form for Sochi.

It was unfortunate that both the Pursuits were cancelled. It seems my powers of weather forecasting are brilliant as I did predict a hurricane in my last post! Not to worry though the fun starts again in Hochfilzen on Friday. Fourcade, Soukalova, Flatland and the Czech relay team leave Oestersund with the Swede smell of success but can they repeat it in Austria? You’ll have to wait and see!

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