Tag Archives: Laura Dahlmeier

Canmore 2019: The Relays!

Freezing cold and windy, Simon Fourcade looking like a ninja, Evgeniy Garanichev looking like he was on his summer holidays and Michael Rosch flying all the way to Canada to race and getting lapped – the men’s relay ladies and gentlemen!!!

That’s right when everyone is taped literally everywhere (Susan Dunklee even did her toes!) and wrapped up as much as possible, Tyumen resident Evgeniy Garanichev made no adjustments to his normal attire! He took the first leg for Russia and was leading until his standing shoot when ironically he froze!! It took him ages to hit all 5 targets needing all 3 spares and handing Antonin Guiggonat the lead ahead of Lars Hegle Birkeland.

It proved to be a fight between France and Norway until the end. Vetle Christiansen got the better of Emilien Jacquelin on leg two despite the Frenchman using 1 spare to the Norwegians 2. The third leg saw a fantastic race from biathlon ninja (black face tape!) Simon Fourcade using 1 spare to Erlend Bjoentegaard’s 3. However the Norwegian got the better of the French thanks to their faster skiing and gave Johannes Boe a nice lead to take into the final leg.

Of course he smashed it hitting 10/10 and cruised to victory by over a minute from Quentin Fillon Maillet. Russia held on for third with Eduard Latypov, Alexander Loginov and Alexander Povarnitsyn along with Garanichev using 9 spares.

Austria had the chance to go for a podium but on the final leg Julian Eberhard had a nightmare with 3 penalty loops letting Germany into 4th. Austria were 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

Home team Canada were 10th but after the first two legs from the Gow brothers they were in 4th which is a good sign for the future.

The women’s relay was another good one. Italy as usual started well with Lisa Vittozzi on the first leg shooting clean and taking the lead. Emilie Kalkenberg had a tough leg for Norway with 2 penalty loops. Vanessa Hinz and Anais Chevalier did well as did Estonia’s Regina Oja.

Nicole Gontier had a great second leg for Italy only needing one spare and maintained the lead. Justine Braisaz and Franziska Hildebrand kept their teams in it with good legs too. Ingrid Tandrevold started Norway’s comeback with a great leg using only 1 spare.

On the third leg Dorothea Wierer had a lead over Anais Bescond and Denise Herrmann. However after using 2 spares on the stand she left the range with a 26 second lead which incredibly Herrmann made up and passed her to put Germany in the lead with Dahlmeier on the last leg. Tiril Eckhoff put Norway back into contention with just 1 spare needed from her.

At the first prone Dahlmeier need 2 spares but left the range before Sanfilippo got her first shot away. Julia Simon had problems using all 3 spares. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland had no issues hitting all 5 and moving into third behind Italy.

The wind had a massive influence on the final stand. Dahlmeier went on the penalty loop but still came out in the lead after the others also had issues having to shoot carefully. Sanfilippo also went on the penalty loop. Julia Simon came out best moving from second to fourth and Roeiseland stayed in third.

Dahlmeier skied home for first place but unfortunately for Simon she couldn’t hold off Roeiseland who overtook her to give Norway second with France getting third.

Italy were 4th, Switzerland were 5th and Austria were 6th.


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Antholz 2019: The Pursuits/Mass Starts!

The pursuit races were held on Saturday in Antholz and it was home glory for the Italian team in the women’s race.

Dorothea Wierer won her first pursuit race in front of friends and family. It didn’t go all her way at the start of the race however. It was Laura Dahlmeier who took the early lead with some excellent prone shooting hitting all 10 targets. Wierer and Vittozzi both missed on the first prone leaving Dahlmeier out front with Lisa Hauser in second.

It was in the standing where the race was won and lost. Dahlmeier missed on the first stand and Wierer and Vittozzi cleaned to give themselves a lead. At the final shoot Wierer and Vittozzi missed 1 each while Dahlmeier cleaned. Wierer had a big enough time cushion to get around the penalty loop in the lead but it wasn’t so easy for Vittozzi. She and Dahlmeier were together on the final loop but the German was too strong and took second with Vittozzi third.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th, Anastasiya Kuzmina was 5th and Lisa Hauser was 6th getting her best result for a while. Caroline Colombo got her first point scoring finish in 22nd.

The men’s race basically turned into Johannes Boe vs. France. Johannes led the whole race despite missing three targets. He missed one in each prone and another in the final standing. Luckily for him his skiing is so good he had a cushion each time and was always out front.

Behind him it was Antonin Guiggonat who was his closest challenger. He hit 19/20 to get another podium here in Antholz.

Third place went down to a sprint finish between Quentin Fillon Maillet and Simon Desthieux. They both hit 18/20 but it was Fillon Maillet who just snatched the final podium place on the line in a photo finish. Martin Fourcade was 5th missing three and with his skiing still below his usual standard it was the best he could do.

Arnd Peiffer was 6th. Tomas Krupcik got a PB in 18th and Thomas Bormolini equalled his PB in 19th.

The mass starts were on Sunday and the sun was still out for the biathletes. The women’s race was won by Laura Dahlmeier who has made an amazing recovery after she was so exhausted in the sprint race. It was her first win this season.

It didn’t go according to plan for her at the start missing 1 in the first prone. That meant it was Kaisa Makarainen and Justine Braisaz in the lead with Wierer and Vittozzi too.

Wierer missed 1 in the second prone and Vittozzi 2 leaving Braisaz and Makarainen ahead. The third shoot was crucial with the leading group all missing and Dahlmeier cleaning to take the lead. She was followed out by Vanessa Hinz and Iryna Kryuko.

Kryuko missed 1 on the final shoot with the two German’s going clear. Marketa Davidova meanwhile had also cleaned and moved up to third. She chased down Hinz and passed her before the finish to take second place.

Hanna Oberg was 4th, Wierer 5th and Makarainen 6th. That result leaves Wierer in the yellow bib 34 points ahead of Vittozzi heading to the next race in Canmore.

In the men’s race we had a brand new winner! Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first World Cup win. He has been really close with several photo finishes putting him in second but today the victory was all his. It was a perfect race hitting all 20 targets.

At the start of the race 18 men went clear after the first prone with fast shooting Simon Eder leading out of the range. After the second shoot it was Antonin Guigonnat who was in the lead. However out on the tracks it was Johannes Boe who was controlling the pace and getting back to the lead.

That was until Fillon Maillet decided to go with him and they created a small gap on the rest of the chasers. It was a risky tactic for the Frenchman but it paid off in style when Boe missed a shot and he cleaned to take a decisive lead.

He remained calm and when he cleaned the final stand no one could stop him. Not even a charging Boe who after missing another shot in the final stand had to chase down Arnd Peiffer to take second place but was too far behind Fillon Maillet to catch him. Peiffer also had a perfect shoot with 20/20.

Martin, new name, Fourthcade was 4th again! Guigonnat was 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. That now leaves Boe with a massive 282 point lead in the overall ahead of Fourcade who is now in second.

There is a short break now but battle resumes in Canmore on the 7th of February with the individual races.

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Antholz 2019: The Sprints!

Biathlon has returned to beautiful Antholz. It’s a favourite with many of the biathletes for the scenery, weather and food! It also provides some great racing for the fans and that was true again in the women’s sprint on Thursday.

It was won by unicorn power! That’s right Marketa Davidova with her unicorn covered rifle took her first ever win. She shot clean for the first time in her career and skied really well to keep the lead all the way to the final finisher. That final finisher was Laura Dahlmeier who also shot clean and gave Davidova a nervous wait to see if she could hold on.

Dahlmeier gave it everything in the last loop but it wasn’t enough. She struggled in the last 200 metres and collapsed at the line and had to be helped away by her coach. She finished 4th in the end just 4.2 seconds from the win and happily she is fine now. Kaisa Makarainen took second with one miss finishing just 1.7 seconds behind the Czech. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was third 3.5 seconds back also with 9/10.

Lisa Vittozzi was 5th and Monika Hojnisz 6th. The top six were only separated by 10 seconds which means we are in for a great pursuit on Saturday.

Svetlana Mironova was 7th her personal best. Megan Bankes was fantastic in 26th for her PB, Caroline Colombo set yet another PB for her in 42nd as did Larisa Kuklina in 43rd and Yelizavta Belchenko in 44th.

The men raced on Friday and you won’t be surprised by the winner. Yes Mr. Johannes Boe won again. He has won 5/6 sprint races so far this season. What are the odds that he wins all the rest of them except the one he really wants at the World Championships? Funny things like that always happen in sport!

He missed a target today but his skiing is still way better than everyone else. It was a 1-2 for Norway with Erlend Bjoentegaard finishing second shooting 10/10. Antonin Guigonnat completed the podium with a lightning final loop after he missed 1 in the standing.

Martin Fourcade shot clean in 4th, Simon Eder missed 1 in 5th and Simon Desthieux was 6th despite 2 misses. Quentin Fillon Maillet was 7th meaning there were 4 Frenchmen in the Top 7 – shame there is no relay in Antholz!

Martin Jaeger got a personal best in 14th as did Roman Yeremin in 18th. American Jake Brown got his first World Cup point in 40th.

There is just over 30 seconds between the Top 6 for the pursuit tomorrow so hopefully it will be a good one.

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An Ode to Biathlon!

This year’s Christmas holiday special to keep you going over the biathlon break is in the form of a poem. That’s right there is no beginning to my talents! 😉 Eat your heart out Homer – it’s epic! 😉

Biathlon, biathlon,
Why do I love you so?
Because you are the best sport,
Shooting and skiing in the snow!

From Fourcade to Dahlmeier,
Makarainen and Boe,
You always entertain us,
With one hell of a show!

Sprint, Pursuit, Individual,
Relay and Mass Start,
We love watching all of them,
The excitement is off the chart!

We have the best fans around,
And that will never change,
Cheering on the athletes,
When they are on the shooting range!

But watch out dear biathletes,
There is always someone ready to swoop,
Especially when you miss a target,
And go round the penalty loop.

The World Cup takes us everywhere,
To many places we go,
To help support our favourite stars,
Just like Anto Guigo!*

There are many families in biathlon,
And we are not sure how,
But there is Boe, Fourcade, Gasparin,
Claude, Fialkova and Gow.

Some biathletes have ups and downs,
Like Slovenia’s Klemen Bauer,
But when he finishes in the Top 6,
He’s guaranteed a flower!

We also have team Sweden,
With gold medallists Seb and Hanna,
They are still brilliant biathletes,
Even dressed like a banana!

Italy have some amazing shooters,
Like Vittozzi and Wierer,
Making all the other biathletes,
Wish the targets were nearer!

Then there are our officials,
Who carry out all the checks,
We appreciate all the coaches too,
And especially the wax techs!

Don’t forget para biathlon,
With sitting, standing and VI,
Their impairments don’t hold them back,
Their limit is the sky!

Imagine doing biathlon blind,
And shooting with your hearing,
Using a guide to get you around,
And help you with the steering!

I am obsessed with biathlon,
That’s obvious to see,
But the most important thing of all,
Is to support bib23!

*for rhyming purposes only! 😉

Please feel free to send me your biathlon poems!

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Nove Mesto 2018: Sprints/Pursuits!

Nove Mesto is back! Biathlon23 is back! A nice Christmas treat for everyone! 😉

The atmosphere in Nove Mesto is always amazing and especially under the lights and when we kicked off round 3 of the World Cup on Thursday with the Men’s Sprint. Obviously there was only ever going to be one winner as the combination of Johannes Thingnes Boe and Bib23 are frankly unstoppable! He won the race in 23 minutes just for good measure.

Second place went to Russia’s Alexander Loginov who has started the season really well. He has always been super talented which begs the question why he decided to dope. Anyway he served his ban and is back performing well. Third place went to Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma taking his first ever individual podium with an impressive race.

The top three all shot clean but Martin Fourcade’s strange season continues after he missed four and finished 43rd. His form is a mystery but maybe the pressure Boe is putting on him is starting to show. This season Boe has been starting races ahead of Fourcade on the list and posting tough times to beat.

Another Norwegian 21-year-old Johannes Dale, who was on the Junior World Cup last season, got his chance to race on the World Cup and shot clean to finish 15th.

The women’s sprint also went to Norway with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland getting her first ever win on the World Cup. She shot clean and managed to do enough to stay ahead of a remarkable Laura Dahlmeier who made a fantastic comeback after illness. If she hadn’t missed a target the race would have been hers. Third place went to Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova who has been outstanding this season. Let’s just say since her Biathlon23 interview she hasn’t looked back! 😉

Elsewhere there were personal bests for Poland’s Kinga Zyblut in 8th, Canada’s Sarah Beaudry in 12th and teammate Emma Lunder in 17th.

The pursuits took place on Saturday and with a lead of 21 seconds Johannes would be hard to beat. He actually missed 4 targets but luckily for him so did Loginov in second and that’s how they finished the race. Tarjei Boe made it a boe-dium moving up 5 places to take third with just 1 miss. Martin Fourcade hit 20/20 going from 43rd to 5th and was the only man to shoot clean. Sebastian Samuelsson moved from 52nd to 10th despite 2 misses.

In the women’s pursuit Roeiseland held on for the win with two misses in a sprint finish to the line with World Cup leader Dorothea Wierer who went from 9th to 2nd. Hanna Oberg moved from 6th to 3rd to take the final podium spot. Her teammates from Sweden had an excellent race with Mona Brorsson going from 36th to 12th, Anna Magnusson from 44th to 4and Linn Persson from 37th to 15th.

The first mass starts of the season take place on Sunday.

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Season 2018/19: Women’s Preview!

Three points! That’s all that separated the top two women in the Overall last season. It went down to the very last race at the final World Cup. In stark contrast to the Men’s Title no one knows who will win the Women’s Overall Title.

Kaisa Makarainen was victorious last season and she is probably just the favourite for this year but really it could go to any one of three.

Anastasiya Kuzmina was unlucky missing out on what would have been her first ever Overall victory. She had an astonishingly consistent season which hasn’t happened for her before and to lose out on the big crystal globe in her home town of Tyumen must have been heartbreaking. She decided to race again this year to try and win the one thing that has eluded her so far in biathlon.

Challenging both of these women will be Laura Dahlmeier. She had a fantastic Olympic Games but wasn’t as good as usual on the World Cup. She finished third, 92 points behind Makarainen but won’t have the big distraction of the Olympics this time around. She has already won the Overall and so knows exactly what it takes to do it. She still suffers with illness during the season however and that could make the difference between winning and losing in the Total Score. She even had to take a break this pre-season from training in October due to ill health so hasn’t had the ideal preparation.

There are other biathletes who will feature in the Top 5 or 10 of course but none of them have yet showed they have what it takes to win the World Cup. The Italians Lisa Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer are always strong and are fantastic shots but lack the consistency for the Overall Title. Tiril Eckhoff is a great biathlete but you never know what you are going to get with her. One day she is outstanding, the next she disappears. Justine Braisaz and Anais Bescond both had good seasons in 2017/18 but the French duo are also a bit hit and miss.

The Women’s Relays will be very interesting this season. Last year the dominance of the German Team was ended with France and Belarus both taking victories. However both of those teams will be missing big guns, Dorin Habert, Domracheva and Skardino, so hopefully other teams like Italy, Ukraine and the Czech Republic will threaten the Germans.

It will also be fun to see who comes out on top in the Mixed Relays. There were three races last season and three different winners; France, Norway and Italy. This could be a really exciting event with quite a lot of strong teams around.

The season starts on the 2nd of December in Pokljuka with the Single and Mixed Relays. The programme also includes the Individual, Sprint and Pursuit races. We then head to Hochfilzen and Nove Mesto will take us up to Christmas! What an awesome present! 🙂

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Herbert Cool: The Interview!

Herbert Cool is a former Dutch biathlete who was born in Rotterdam on the 9th of February 1985. He retired from biathlon in 2012, which was far too soon!, with a top finish of 50th in both the Sprint and Pursuit races at the 2008 World Championships in Oestersund. After retiring he began commentating on biathlon for Dutch Eurosport.

Follow Herbert on Twitter: @CoolHerbert

Why did you become a biathlete?

My father loves to go cross country skiing. As we have no snow in the Netherlands we used to spend our vacations in Germany and the Czech Republic. I got into the sport as well, enjoyed it, enjoyed racing against the local youth and sometimes even beating them. Age 18 I participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Bled, Slovenia. I came 9th in the Sprint which was great. We hardly ever trained on snow, only roller skiing and some shooting in a shooting range without a roller ski loop. This made me realize I had a talent for the sport and made me decide to pursue a professional career in biathlon. At age 19 I moved to the US to train with the US Junior team in Minnesota. A year after, I moved to Ruhpolding and stayed there for 6 years.

What are your best memories from your biathlon career?

For sure the first year in the US was the most fun. Obviously it is a great experience to live there on the whole, especially after finishing school. I got to see a lot of the country and was surprised about the large Nordic community it has, not to mention the beautiful cross country tracks. Also, the team was great. Just a bunch of young people wanting to make it in a sport that wasn’t normal in the country they came from. I guess we shared this experience, even though our countries were so far apart. We shared the troubles with funding, we shared having to travel away from your own country to be able to do what you love. And we had a great coach, Vladimir Cervenka, who is still coaching the US Juniors in Minnesota. Of course there were many great memories after that year, but things became a bit more serious, more like a job.

How did you become a commentator for Eurosport and how long have you been doing it?

Unfortunately I didn’t qualify for the Vancouver Olympics. The Dutch Olympic Association wants biathletes to be top 8 in the world, which obviously is a requirement similar to countries like Germany or Norway. However, there is hardly any funding and no talent development whatsoever. I really hope this will change and I am putting energy into this myself, but for now it is unrealistic to expect any talent from the Netherlands (nor is it realistic to expect youth to become interested in the sport, there simply are no facilities). Eurosport gave me a call; whether I would be interested in joining their biathlon commentator during the Olympics. I did, and it was a lot of fun. After I decided to quit in 2012 I pretty much became their new biathlon commentator. I still enjoy it a lot, and nowadays do some other sports as well as some presenting in front of the camera. For example during the 2018 Olympics. It’s a lot of fun and it enables me to stay on top of the sport that I love.

Did you find the transition from biathlete to commentator difficult? Was it harder or easier than you thought? Do you ever run out of things to say? 😉

I think it was the fact that I could become the biathlon commentator at Eurosport that helped me in the transition. You have to understand, I am a city boy. I was born and raised in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. Definitely worth a visit if you have the time. So living in Ruhpolding was about as far away from living in the city as possible. Although I often miss the beautiful nature in the Alps (and the snow, obviously) I also really wanted to go back to Rotterdam. And I’m not just a commentator, I also own a sports management agency. We are into sports marketing, event management and athlete management. For example, this year we will bring a large group of Dutch biathlon fans to the World Team Challenge in Gelsenkirchen for the first year. You’d be surprised how many Dutch people love watching biathlon. When it comes to winter sports, speed skating is obviously the number 1 by far, but I would say biathlon is the second most popular winter sport on television here!
(Definitely not running out of things to say 😉 )

How much and what kind of research do you do before the races?

Honestly, I hardly do any research. I simply love the sport so much that I read and see everything no matter what. Before a race, I obviously do my preparation work, but that doesn’t take a lot of time this way.

Do you have some favourite/memorable races or moments that you have commentated on? Why were they special?

My relationship with the US team runs like a red line through my career. First I moved to Minnesota to train with the US Juniors. After that I moved to Ruhpolding where I was fortunate enough to have Ricco Gross coach me and help me a lot. He helped me connect to the US World Cup team -they waxed his ski’s during that time- and I ended up going with them in some of their training camps as well as travelling with them throughout the winter. A great setup for which I am still very grateful to both Ricco Gross, Bernd Eisenbichler, their high performance director and the team as a whole. It was during the time Tim Burke did very well, he even led the World Cup total score during Christmas, and I roomed up with them and learned a lot. So to answer the question, during the Hochfilzen World Champs there was the epic individual race men’s race. Moravec was in the lead, Lowell Bailey started really late. He shot well, and the finish loop was so intense. I think I screamed during my commentary and for sure I wasn’t very objective, but I didn’t care. It was such a great win for Lowell and I felt a lot of joy, especially seeing all of the wax techs and coaches celebrating afterwards. You know how hard they all work for it and how much effort goes in behind the scenes.

Is biathlon popular in The Netherlands? Can you tell us something about the current biathletes from the Netherlands.

It’s a difficult subject at the moment. The Dutch ski federation has chosen not to invest in talent development. One of the reasons is that the Dutch Olympic Association will only send a biathlete to the Olympics if he or she is around top 8 in the world. This is almost impossible to achieve in general, but especially with no funding, no facilities (no snow) and, very important, no athletes who are already on a World Cup level. You need to train with athletes who are at least as good as you on a daily basis. A good example is Chardine Sloof; she is a talented biathlete who got introduced to the sport because she lives in Sweden. She became a Junior World Champion for the Netherlands, which is crazy. Luck hardly has any influence on the sport of biathlon, if you become Junior World Champion you are talented. Period. After that she struggled with some physical issues and the funding stopped. She decided to switch to the Swedish team. A good decision, because she is surrounded by great athletes, the right culture and great facilities as well. She achieved 3 top 15 results during the Oberhof World Cup 2 seasons ago, really great stuff. I hope we will see more of her in the upcoming season.

Do you have any predictions for the up coming season? Anyone we should be looking out for to do well?

As always after an Olympic season we saw some big names quit. Of course we will miss Domracheva for example. She has one of the best techniques on the women’s side and is of great added value to the exposure of biathlon due to her personality. On a personal note I will miss Bjoerndalen, because he was my idol when I was a biathlete myself. I think Johannes Thingnes Boe will again be a little bit better and more solid this time, although he did admit to not training as much as he should have done in spring. But it will be interesting to see whether Fourcade can take another overall World Cup. I think it’s Boe’s time now. And the Swedes will be strong. They have the momentum after their successful Olympics. Of course there is a big difference between having nothing to lose and being one of the favourites, so this will be a role they will have to get used to. On the women’s side I think Dahlmeier will be very strong, if she stays healthy on her way to December. But I’m afraid that if she wins a lot, she will quit after this winter, which would be a big loss to the sport. I would also keep an eye on Lisa Vittozzi, she made big steps last season and is still very young.

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

I loved Östersund. Great atmosphere downtown, great energy on the whole and tracks that suited me. Long uphills that you really had to dig into. Antholz is everybody’s favorite, not only because of the great food and kind people. I always joke during my commentary that they somehow always seem to have a lot of snow, yet the sun is always shining!

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

Bjoerndalen, because he made biathlon into the sport it is today. He pulled it out of cross country skiing’s shadow. His technique was perfection. Someone who also has great balance and style on ski’s is Simon Fourcade, I love watching him ski. When it comes to fighting spirit you have to mention Kaisa Makarainen. Such a great athlete, a fierce competitor on the tracks and a great person once she crosses the finish line.

Did your rifle have a name?

Nope.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, passionate, calm.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Right now: Belgium!
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Shipulin’s carved rifle looks great.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Not sure which year, and a bit of a different sport, but I loved the suit the Norwegian cross country team had in the last seasons Bjorn Daehlie was racing.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Being active in a worldwide sport that is still small enough to be a small community, and the closeness to nature.
Best thing about being a commentator: Sharing what you love with viewers who really discover your sport -and how great it is. Because biathlon wasn’t really known in the Netherlands, viewers can ask me question through Twitter during the race. This works out great and gives me the chance to bring the sport closer to the Dutch audience.

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