Tag Archives: Kaisa Mäkäräinen

The Biathlon23 Awards 2019/2020!

Hello and welcome to the 7th 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. To be honest it has been a bit of a struggle writing these this season in the light of world events but if they can even just make you crack a small smile all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair will have been worth it! (To be fair the pulling out of hair is the only way I can get it shorter with no trips to the hairdresser allowed!)

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):
Paulina Fialkova was not the most popular interview on my blog this season! Just the second most popular even though it is now a few years old! This season’s winner was a slow burner that picked up a lot of interest a little while after it was published. It belongs to a biathlon renegade! From the naked lady on her rifle to her super cool middle name from her maths genius (!) to her hilarious instagram ramblings – what’s not to like!

Winner: Joanne Reid


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:

‘dorothea wierer speaking german’ Yes she does and Italian and English! Is there no end to her talents?
‘dorothea wierer jeans’ I don’t think the super fashionista and helicopter traveller would be seen in jeans these days! 😉
‘tuuli tomingas prize money’ If you want to know how much money she has Mr and Mrs Tomingas just ask her!
‘petra fialkova biathlon’ My favourite of the Fialkova sisters!
‘laura dahlmeier biathlon where she been’ Great question! Wasting her time by not being a biathlete anymore!
‘when did hanna oberg begin her youtube career’ Hey Oberg stick to biathlon! Leave the vlogging and blogging to others please! 😉
‘biathlon and drugs’ What you do at the weekend is your own business!
‘what is a super sprint in biathlon’ Exactly! All I know is it’s a sprint and it’s super!
‘benjamin weger career end’ Fear not he only ended the season early. Do you get the feeling he knew something we didn’t!

Winner: ‘scottish biathlete mike dixon best result’ – I believe it was getting a sweet job as biathlon commentator on Eurosport! Or as I like to call it – my job!

Best Facial Hair:
It looks like I am going to have to give this award to the same person in perpetuity! I mean nobody else has made much facial hair effort this season. Are beards out now? Are we back to clean shaven? Anyway nobody can beat this guy. Imagine the effort it takes to comb and wax that moustache everyday to look like D’Artagnan?

Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There were some good earrings around this season but they were all blown out the water by the newly discovered Estonian earring legend! Sporting an earring made from an old casing – well hopefully it is old!- what could be more appropriate than that for a biathlete! Not sure anyone can top that in the future!

Winner: Regina Oja

Best fall:

There were quite a lot of falls this season especially in Oberhof. Kalev Ermits skied right off the tracks onto the road and then Dominik Windisch managed to hit everything down the side of the tracks but luckily just missed the lampost! However the best fall was in Kontiolahti. You have just announced your retirement, your team throws you up in the air in celebration – and then drop you on the ground from a great height! Hilariously funny and a great way to end a stellar career! NOT! 😉
Note to French team – see Finnish team for proper technique!

Winner: Martin Fouracde

Best GIF:
The GIFs on Instagram are a lot of fun! We had some dances, some very strange facial expressions and a bit of comedy too. My favourite and the one that comes in the most useful is a Norwegian who lifts his glasses, has a look and then gives a round of applause. Hopefully he will do the same for these awards!

Winner: Johannes Dale

Best rifle design:
Well I think this award is going to be retired this season! The biathletes are pretty pathetic at rifle design. We have the standouts of course – Davidova, Krcmar, Lesser etc. but they are not new. Seriously how hard is it to come up with a cool design! Oh I know I will just change the colour! Not good enough people! (I apologise if I have missed any good work on the IBU Cup or Juniors). Anyway in what is almost certainly the final awarding of best rifle design it is going to someone who actually makes their own rifle with their own fair hand which is pretty amazing.

Winner: Quentin Fillon Maillet

Best ski suit:
What do we look for in a good ski suit? Well first it needs to be easily recognisable from afar or in a crowd. It needs the colours of the country and of course it needs pizzazz! Germany looked like Germany again this season which was good. Norway always have a good suit. This year’s winner though was made especially for the World Championships. Normally I am against changing suit for World champs but this one is actually better than the World Cup suit! It has all the colours of the national flag and has pizzazz in abundance!

Winner: Belgium

Worst ski suit:
Bulgaria won this last season and then had the audacity not to even change their suit for this season! Do they not read the awards!!! This season I had to give worst suit to what can only be described as a harlequin gone wrong – badly wrong!

Winner: Romania

Best Biathlete23:
Not a lot of competetion this year for this award. Jakov Fak and Tarjei Boe both came 4th in bib23 at the World Championships in Antholz which was great. However almost at the last minute our heroine stepped up to save the day by getting biathlete23’s only podium in the sprint in Nove Mesto when she finished third! Unicorn power + bib23 = success! It’s simple maths! 😉

Winner: Marketa Davidova

Biggest Improver:
This was a straight fight between two biathletes. One is an estabished competitor who made leaps and bounds in performance this season and one is a young biathlete who has shown what amazing potential they have. Some suggested that it was Tora Berger in a mission impossible style mask, but I believe it was Tiril Eckhoff who won all those races and challenged for the overall title. A fall in the summer meant she spent a lot of time on her shooting and boy did it pay off. She was like a new biathlete. However the award is going to a young man who went from 24th to 5th in the overall in one season, took his first win at World Championships no less and won the world cup pursuit title. He had never made the World Cup podium before this season. Now that’s what I call improvement!

Winner: Emilien Jacquelin

Best Team Performance:
This was a no brainer! I mean winning every single race on the World Cup and the World Championships is a remarkable feat. The relay can easily be lost if just one team member has a bad day or even just one bad shoot. This team overcame everything that was thrown at them to be the first to win six races in one season.

Winner: Norwegian Women’s relay team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
A difficult choice this season between three biathletes. Martin Fouracde winning his last race in Kontiolahti was emotional and Kaisa Makarainen winning in horrible conditions in the Oberhof mass start in her last season was extremely impressive. The award goes to another however. She won the pursuit gold medal in her home town at the World Championships under enormous pressure. After a shaky start in the sprint were she finished 7th she fought off some of the best biathletes around to take the win. It was a dream come true! – oh and she isn’t retiring!

Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
A tough decision this year. We had Johannes Boe winning his second overall in a row and Dorothea Wierer doing the same. Martin Fourcade came back to near his best and Emilien Jacquelin and Tiril Eckhoff both had breakthough seasons for different reasons. However the award is going to a history maker and fantastic biathlete who is the first to win seven medals in seven races at World Championships. She went home to Norway with five gold and two bronze medals from Antholz. Sustaining that level of performance over such a short time is outstanding.

Winner: Marte Olsbu Roeiseland

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
The para biathlon World Championship was cancelled this year so it comes down to World Cup performances to decide this one. Ivan Golubkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev and Oleksandra Kononova were strong contenders for this but the award goes to a sit skier who is a remarkable biathlete. She skis very well but her shooting is incredible. She took the overall title in the sitting category, winning 4 of the 7 races, for the second year in a row up against some tough opposition.

Winner: Kendall Gretsch

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
It wasn’t an easy decision for this one. There have been some very good performances from the juniors this season not only on the junior tour but also on the World Cup. One that stood out was a 22-year-old from Bulgaria. She won a medal in each individual event at the Junior World Championships (individual silver, sprint and pursuit bronze) and took a personal best on the World Cup of 17th at the Senior World Championships. She is from a small biathlon nation that lacks the same funding as the big nations which makes her performances even more impressive!

Winner: Milena Todorova

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

The Youth World Championships were held in Lenzerheide in January and one biathlete stood out for his performances across the whole event. The 18-year-old Norwegian won three gold medals. He was first in the individual, first in the pursuit and anchored the Norwegian relay team to victory. His worst result over 4 races was 4th in the sprint! Outstanding – watch out Johannes!

Winner: Martin Nevland

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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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Pokljuka 2020: The Mass Starts!

The last day in Pokljuka was for the mass starts and they were worth waiting for! The men got us underway and it was a tight race all the way through.

At the first shoot all the favourites hit 5/5 except Johannes Boe! It didn’t stop him though as he had almost caught the leaders before the second prone.

Again all the top runners went clear including Boe with Quentin Fillon Maillet, Martin Fourcade, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Dale all up front. Missing 1 and dropping back a little were Benedikt Doll, Tarjei Boe and Erlend Bjoentegaard.

At the third shoot it was Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade who both missed a shot which left Boe and Christiansen out front themselves.

However their lead was not too big and the Frenchmen were catching before the final shoot. The two Norwegians missed this time and the two Frenchmen cleaned but Fillon Maillet was faster and left the range with a clear lead. Behind him Benedikt Doll hit 5/5 and was in second but chased hard by Boe, Christiansen and Fourcade.

It was a fantastic final lap with Doll pushing hard all the way. It was cat and mouse behind him with the other three but it would come down to a four way sprint for the podium spots.

In the end Doll held them all off to finish second. Third went to Johannes Boe and Vetle Christiansen nipped in ahead of Fourcade to snatch 5th. There was only 0.8 of a second between the four guys!

It was Fillon Maillet’s second mass start victory after he won the same race in round six last season although it was in Antholz. He thoroughly deserves his first win of the season.

There were two men who shot the perfect 20/20 and they were Simon Eder in 8th and Matvey Eliseev in 11th.

The women raced later and with Tiril Eckhoff already tucked up in bed back in Norway after she got sick the race was wide open.

Denise Herrmann started fast but it didn’t pay off after she missed 1 on the first prone. That left Hanna Oeberg and Justine Braisaz at the head of an 11 stong group of clean shooters.

At the second prone Oeberg hit all 5 again as did Marte Roeiseland and they opened a small gap over Lisa Vittozzi and Kaisa Makarainen.

Oeberg and Roeiseland skied together and shot together and also missed together! Makarainen missed two but Lisa Vittozzi hit all five to take the lead.

The final shoot was decisive with Oeberg shooting fast and accurately to leave the range ahead of Vittozzi who hit all 5 again to make it 20/20. Behind them Anais Bescond emerged out of the chasers hitting 20/20 to move into third.

That was the way it would finish with Oeberg skiing so well that she couldn’t be caught. It was her first win this season and Vittozzi’s first podium of the season. Bescond made it three races in a row on the podium here in Pokljuka.

Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 4th hitting 19/20, Justine Braisaz missed 3 in 5th as did Marte Roeiseland in 6th.

Now we have a short break before the first race of the World Champinships begins in Antholz on the 13th of February but don’t forget the Youth/Junior World Champs is on now and the IBU Cup continues too.

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Oberhof 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was very windy in Oberhof for the Mass Starts on Sunday which is good if you are watching biathlon but not if you are doing it! Let’s just say the penalty loop was a busy place!

The women raced first and Tiril Eckhoff took an early lead after some impressive shooting in the prone. It wasn’t so impressive in the first standing however when she missed three! That left Iryna Kryuko and Kaisa Makarainen in the lead.

Trying to keep pace with Kaisa was difficult for Kryuko and the wind was very difficult in the range for the final shoot. Makarainen was unbelieveable however waiting and waiting and then hitting 5/5! She went on to win the race which is her first victory since Hochfilzen last year. It was her birthday yesterday so it was a nice present!

Kryuko didn’t do as well missing 4 targets. That gave Eckhoff the chance to get back on the podium and also her teammate Marte Roeiseland despite both missing 1 target on the final stand. They had to race each other on the tracks on the final loop but it was Eckhoff who proved stronger taking second place with Roeiseland settling for third.

Dorothea Wierer was 4th with 4 misses, Denise Herrmann 5th with 6 misses and Hanna Oberg was 6th with 5 misses. It just shows how good Kaisa was today as she hit 19/20.

The men raced in the afternoon and in the first prone many of the top names cleaned 5/5 like Fourcade and Tarjei Boe. At the second prone however nearly everyone missed except Arnd Peiffer who went into the lead on his own.

Unfortunately for him he missed 2 in the first stand and lost the lead to the two Frenchmen Fourcade and Desthieux who were neck and neck leaving the range.

It all came down to shoot 4 and despite missing 1 target Martin Fourcade came out in the lead. Mainly because nearly everyone else missed too! He had a comfortable ski to the line to take his 79th win on the World Cup and the yellow bib.

It wasn’t a comfortable ski for Desthieux though. He was second leaving the range but was caught and passed by Arnd Peiffer in the final straight before the finish line. He did look very tired though so did well to get third place.

Johannes Dale was 4th with 4 misses and Jakov Fak was 5th with 3 misses. A special “toot toot beep beep” goes to Philipp Horn for getting his personal best in front of his home fans in 6th place!

We are back racing on Wednesday in Ruhpolding with the Women’s Sprint.

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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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Season Review 2018/19: The Women!

WOW! What a year we had on the women’s World Cup! We had 12 different winners, 6 brand new winners and an amazing battle between Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi which kept us hooked all season. For the second year in row the title was won in the very last race of the season!

In the end it was Dorothea Wierer who won the Overall Title but it was far from easy! She finished the season with 904 points. Vittozzi was second with 882 points and Anastasiya Kuzmina was third with 870 points.

The season began in Pokljuka with the Individual and Yuliia Dzhima got the season rolling with her first win on the World Cup. Last year’s champion Kaisa Makarainen looked really good at the opening round winning the following two races; the sprint and pursuit.

Wierer got her fantastic season underway with her first win of the new campaign in the Hochfilzen sprint. Makarainen took the pursuit and was at the top of the standings.

However in Nove Mesto Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, got her first World Cup win in the sprint and then her second in the pursuit. It would be the foundation for her best ever season. Anastasiya Kuzmina won the mass start.

In Oberhof we got another first time winner and this time it was Lisa Vittozzi who did the sprint and pursuit double. She had been in and around the top 5 all season up until then when she finally made her big breakthrough and was well on her way to a shot at the big crystal globe.

Ruhpolding was the venue for Kuzmina’s second win of the season in the sprint. Home favourite Franziska Preuss won the mass start taking her first gold medal on the World Cup.

Antholz was next up and there was yet another debut World Cup victory this time from Marketa Davidova in the sprint. Wierer took her second win at home in the pursuit.

Canmore saw races cancelled but Tiril Eckhoff managed to win the shortened individual race. In Soldier Hollow Roeiseland took her third win of the season in the sprint throwing her into the mix for the yellow bib with the two Italians. Denise Herrmann got her third career victory in the pursuit.

The World Championships in Oestersund gave us four different winners in the four individual competitions and all debut winners of a World title! The sprint went to Anastasiya Kuzmina despite being unwell. Denise Herrmann won the pursuit, Hanna Oberg won the individual on home soil and Dorothea Wierer took the mass start.

Everything came down to Holmenkollen. There were still 3 women in serious contention to win the big crystal globe; Wierer and Vittozzi, who started the round on equal points, and Kuzmina. In the sprint it was Anastasiya Kuzmina who came out all guns blazing to take the win.

Lisa Vittozzi had a terrible race failing to score any points and she didn’t qualify for the pursuit either. Wierer took the overall lead after finishing 11th. Kuzmina also won the pursuit while Wierer was 12th so everything went down to the mass start.

All three women struggled after a long hard season. It was Hanna Oberg who won the race taking her first win on the World Cup. Kuzmina was 10th, Vittozzi 11th and Wierer 12th and that meant the overall title belonged to Wierer and the big crystal globe was on it’s way to Italy for the first time!

The small globes were shared around with Vittozzi taking the individual title, Kuzmina winning the sprint, Wierer the pursuit and Oberg the mass start.

Rookie of the season was Evgeniya Pavlova.

Relays
The women’s relays were much like the rest of the women’s season with four different winners in the first four races. Italy won in Hochfilzen, Russia in Oberhof, France in Ruhpolding and Germany in Canmore. However at World Championships it was Norway who came out on top with a team of Synnoeve Solemdal, Ingrid Tandrevold, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Roeiseland.

There were only two single mixed relays on the World Cup which France won in Pokljuka, and Italy in Soldier Hollow. The first ever World title in the event went to Norway with a team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Johannes Boe.

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