Tag Archives: Kendall Gretsch

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰
‘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! πŸ˜‰
‘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! πŸ˜‰
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! πŸ˜‰

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: Para biathlon!

Yury Holub

Just when para biathlon finally gets it’s own World Championships without a cross country skier in sight along comes a global pandemic and it gets cancelled!!! What are the chances?!

Normally the para nordic world championships are with both biathlon and cross country but this season it was going to be biathlon only – the dream! However they were cancelled the night before they were due to start in Oestersund. It’s a shame but the health and safety of the world comes first and there will be more chances to hold them in the future.

Before that anti-climax there were three World Cup rounds in Lillehammer, Altenberg and Finsterau. How very biathlon – Norway and two rounds in Germany! πŸ˜‰

As you know there are three categories in para biathlon; sitting, standing and visually impaired (VI) and they are for both men and women so you get six races a day and six world cup winners! In your face IBU! πŸ˜‰

Taking his first world cup title in biathlon in the visually impaired category was Yury Holub from Belarus. He won two out of the seven races across the season and was consistently on the podium which ensured he would win the crystal globe in a very competitive field. In the women’s VI it was Russia’s Vera Khlyzova who was victorious overall.

In fact Russia took three world cup titles this season on the team’s return to action after being banned due to the ‘Sochi shenanigans’.

Vladislav Lekomtsev dominated the men’s standing with 5 wins from 7 races reminding everyone what a tough customer he is! The men’s sitting saw simliar success for Ivan Golubkov who won four races to clinch the crystal globe ahead of Martin Fleig of Germany.

The women’s standing went to Ukraine who have many talented biathletes in this category. Oleksandra Kononova took the title for the second year in a row fighting off competition from teammate Iryna Bui.

The women’s sitting title went to American sharpshooter Kendall Gretsch who makes Annie Oakley look like an average shot! πŸ˜‰ She also claimed the crystal globe for the second season in succession winning four of the seven races.

Next season the biathlon world championships will be held in Lillehammer in February 2021 – hopefully!

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Para-Biathlon World Champs 2019: Prince George!

I’m not sure how the International Paralympic Committee got permission from the Royal family to let Prince George host the Para-Nordic World Championships but the little guy did a good job!!! Of course not! They were held in Prince George, Canada! πŸ˜‰

There were three biathlon races, the middle on Saturday 16th February, the sprint on Wednesday 20th February and the individual on Thursday the 21st of February.

Biathlon Middle:

There were surprise wins in the sitting categories with neither of the pre-races favourites, Americans Kendall Gretsch and Daniel Cnossen, taking the wins. Instead the women’s title went to fellow American Oksana Masters who missed 3 targets from 20 but Gretsch missed 4 on the final shoot after having hit the first 15. She still got silver and Germany’s Andrea Eskau took the bronze medal hitting 19/20.

In the men’s race Ukrainian Taras Rad won the gold medal hitting the perfect 20/20. He finished ahead of Canada’s Collin Cameron who despite 3 misses got his best biathlon result to date. The bronze medal went to Eui Hyun Sin of South Korea with 1 miss.

There was also a shock in the women’s standing. After winning all of the World Cup races this season the Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova became unstuck with this one. Her teammate Liudmyla Liashenko grabbed gold with 3 misses, Yuliia Betnkova-Baumann was second with 2 misses. Kononova took bronze also missing 3 to make it an all Ukrainian podium.

The men’s standing went more to form. France’s Benjamin Daviet was the only man to shoot 20/20 and so no one could stop him winning the gold medal. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset missed 3 but skied hard to take silver. Canadian Mark Arendz finished third with just 1 miss.

The vision impaired (VI) races went exactly to form. German Clara Klug missed 3 but still took the title with guide Martin Hartl. Oksana Shyshkova from the Ukraine missed 1 and finished in the silver medal position with guide Vitalii Kazakov. Bronze went to Ukraine’s 16-year-old Andriana Kupustei and guide Nazar Stefurak at their debut World Championships.

In the men’s race Yury Holub from Belarus missed 1 shot to win the gold medal with guide Dzmitry Budzilovich. Vitaliy Luk’yanenko of Ukraine hit 20/20 to take silver with guide Borys Babar. France’s Anthony Chalencon missed 5 but skied well to get bronze with guide Simon Valverde.

Biathlon Sprint

Amazingly considering this is biathlon and anything can happen every single winner in every class won again in the sprint meaning we had 6 double World Champions! Yury Hulub missed 1 in the men’s VI but held off Ukrainians Dmytro Suiarko and guide Vasyl Potapenko who took silver with 10/10 on the range and Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksander Mukshyn who took bronze with 2 misses.

Clara Klug took gold with 1 miss in the women’s race. Oksana Shyshkova missed 3 and had to settle for silver ahead of clean shooting Adriana Kapustei.

Benjamin Daviet shot clean again to take the men’s standing title. Behind him also shooting 10/10 were Ukrainian Gregorii Vovchynski in second and Mark Arendz in third.

Liudmyla Liashenko defeated her teammate Oleksandra Kononova on the tracks after both women missed a shot in the standing sprint. Norway’s Vilde Nilsen was third with 2 misses getting her first World Championship medal in biathlon after skipping the middle distance race.

Taras Rad was too quick for Germany’s Martin Fleig in the men’s sitting race after they both shot clean. Fleig took silver in bib23!!! The bronze medal went to Aaron Pike who won his first medal at a major event in biathlon with 1 miss.

Oksana Masters continued to surprise herself with back to back wins in biathlon after a tough summer with an elbow injury. She shot the same score as teammate Kendall Gretsch, both women missing 1 target, but was stronger on the skis. Third place went to Andrea Eskau with no misses.

Biathlon Individual

Benjamin Daviet continued his amazing form in the individual winning despite 1 miss which added a minute to his time. Mark Arendz in second, who had perfect shooting, and Gregorii Vovchynskyi in third with 1 miss could do nothing to stop him becoming a triple World Champion in biathlon.

There were another three triple World Champions crowned on Thursday. Liudmyla Liashenko with the perfect 20/20 led a podium clean sweep for Ukraine with Oleksandra Kononova in silver with a 2 misses and Yuliia Batenkova-Baumann getting bronze despite 3 misses.

There was another perfect shooting score in the women’s sitting with Kendall Gretsch finally getting her first gold medal at World Championships. Oksana Masters took the silver with 3 misses and Andrea Eskau got bronze with 1 miss.

Taras Rad won his third biathlon gold in bib23!!! πŸ™‚ He beat Martin Fleig into second with 18/20 and Ukraine’s Vasyl Kravchuk was third with the same shooting score grabbing his first medal at this event.

Clara Klug was the final biathlete to secure triple gold with a clean shoot in the women’s VI. Her teammate Johanna Recktenwald with guide Simon Schmidt shot the same 20/20 to take bronze for her first World Championship medal. Oksana Shyshkova split the German pair with 1 miss costing her the chance of victory.

In the men’s VI it was Paralympic champion Vitaliy Luk’yanenko who got gold hitting all 20 targets. Yuru Holub missed 3 but finished only 10 seconds behind after a great ski. Ukraine’s Iaroslav Reshetynskyi and guide Kostiantyn Yaremenko won the bronze medal with 18/20.

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