Tag Archives: Lisa Theresa Hauser

The Biathlon23 Awards 2018/19!!!

Hello and welcome to the 6th 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. Mirroring the Oscars this season we also had The Favourite, A Star is Born, Incredibles and First Man!(you can decide who is who!)

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):
Technically speaking the most hits this year was Paulina Fialkova again! But seeing as she did the interview in 2017 it is not eligible for this award. Only people interviewed for season 2018/19 are in the running. Coming a close second was the lovely Regina Oja from Estonia but I am very happy to say that this season’s winner is a para biathlete for the first time ever! However I have to questions how many times he has read his own interview himself! 😉
Winner: Derek Zaplotinsky

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:

“reason for grosch to change from germany to belgium biathalom team” A German beer becoming Belgian because it couldn’t get on the bierhalle drinks list
“anna öberg, tim lahaye, laura vittozzi” How they will be known from now on!
“tiril eckhoff see thru” As far as I know she isn’t!
“paulina fialkova postal addressJust send it to P.Fialkova, Slovakia. It will get there!
“what does marie laure brunet do in her spare time” Same as the rest of us she watches biathlon!
“regina oja friend” I think she has one but it is still to be confirmed
“biathlon knit band” What? Seriously though, what?
“biathlon vladimir russia” Yes I think we can safely say he has a hand in it!
“rene denfeld biathlon” Never heard of him/her. Maybe try tennis? 😉

Winner: “jonas dinges boe biathlon” This made me laugh for a worrying length of time!

Best Facial Hair:
There can only be one winner this season despite valiant efforts from both Max Durtschi and Igor Malinovskii. Right from the very first race this guy was always going get this award. Looking much like I would imagine one of the three muskateers would, with the pointy beard and curled moustache! A facial hair legend!
Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There have not been many memorable earrings this season. I was tempted to give this award to one of the Norwegian men who was using frost tape on their ears in Canmore when it was so cold but then I remembered one pair in particular. Bold and beautiful just like their wearer you couldn’t really miss these!
Winner: Mona Brorsson


Best fall:

This season’s award does not go to one single faller but to a whole race. It was a cross between Bambi on ice and Armeggedon back in January. With windy and wet snow conditions this race saw at least 7 big falls with most casualties occuring on the Frankfurter cross. Franziska Hildebrand and Johanna Taliharm were the first to go down but the worst falls came from Karoline Knotten and Lisa Teresa Hauser who both broke their rifles. It was terrible for the biathletes but quite fun to watch all the same!!! Oh we are bad people! 😉
Winner: Oberhof Women’s Relay

Best biathlon video:
Usually this award goes to a video that has been carefully planned and filmed. This one was totally spontaneous and a joy to watch. It features Italian Eurosport commentators Dario Puppo and Max Ambesi and their amazing reaction to the final shooting in the mass start at the World Championships in Oestersund. When Dominik Windisch hit 5/5 to take the lead they seemed quite happy about it! It mainly just involves grown men shouting “five”, “five” “crazy”, “he could be in the lead”, “he’s in the lead!” but most things sound better in Italian when shouted very loudly of course! 😉
Watch the video here:

Winner: Italian Eurosport Mass Start commentary

Best GIF:
This season the IBU made some GIFs for biathlon for use on Instagram. There were quite a few – some good some not so good! There was some fancy dance moves from Erik Lesser and Kaisa Makarainen. The less said about Quentin Fillon Maillet the better though!!! The Norwegians have a strong GIF game with Johannes Boe and Erlend Bjoentagaard but I am giving it to another Norwegian mainly for the most pathetic karate kick in the history of the world and his own reaction to it!
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best rifle design:
With the retirement of the Lord of Rifle Design Anton Shipulin (how could you do that to me Anton?!) rifle design has gone downhill fast. Most are now one solid colour (boring!) or the colours of the national flag (boring!). Some are still super cool like Erik Lesser’s and Marketa Davidova’s but they haven’t changed! Vetle Christiansen has an interesting rifle as it’s the only one without a traditional groove for the left hand but it is a hideous colour which can only be described as puce! Luckily amidst the mediocre appeared one man with an awesome design. He has a white lion carved into the stock at the butt with some red and blue detail and another lion with a crown further up towards the trigger. Děkuji!
Winner: Michal Krcmar

Best ski suit:
The ski suits have been OK this season. Nothing too horrendous but then nothing that stood out as great either. It’s a bit like the rifles really. The Czech Republic had a nice suit as did Slovakia. Norway’s is always decent. France and Germany didn’t even bother changing theirs. I narrowed it down to two and although I really like the Belarus ski suit I chose this one because I like the design and colours even though they say nothing about the country they are from!
Winner: China

Worst ski suit:
Well there weren’t too many bad suits this season. The Swedes took my recommendation on board and added some blue to the yellow suit. The USA changed theirs entirely as did Russia. No more pixels!!! The award this year goes to a suit that basically looks like a human has been skinned alive and you can see all their veins running down their leg (if veins were green that is!)
Winner: Bulgaria

Best Biathlete23:
There was only one win on the World Cup this year in bib23 so this was an easy decision! It was a young Norwegian guy who was first in the sprint race in Nove Mesto. It is his second victory in bib23. He is not very popular and hasn’t done much in biathlon this season so you may not have heard of him! It’s Jonas Dinges Boe.
Winner: Johannes Thingnes Boe

Biggest Improver:
A hard decision this year with so many new winners on the World Cup mainly for the women but also the men. Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first win as did Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. However my decision came down to two. Vetle Christiansen won his first race in the Soldier Hollow sprint and went from 54th to 13th in the total score. That was mainly due to him completing a whole World Cup season though. My winner moved from 63rd to 18th in the total score, got lots of top twenty finishes this season and got her first ever podium finishing third in the final race of the season in Oslo.
Winner: Clare Egan

Best Team Performance:
There was only one option for this award after this country totally dominated all the relays in Oestersund at the World Championships. They won the mixed relay, the single mixed relay, the women’s relay and the men’s relay!!! That’s team work!
Winner: Norwegian World Champs relay teams

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
There can only be one! I mean who comes from so far back to win the World Championship title in the mass start! In a crazy race he held his nerve and shot clean when most of those around him missed to take his first gold medal. It just shows that you should never give up in biathlon no matter where you are in the race because you never know what might happen!!
Winner: Dominik Windisch

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
There are two main contenders this season. The first in Johannes Thingnes Boe. He dominated the men’s tour with a record breaking 16 wins, all the crystal globes and 4 gold medals at the World Championships. He didn’t win this though! The winner was also a history maker becoming the first woman from her country to win the Overall title and the first to win a World Championship gold medal winning the mass start. She also won the small crystal globe in the pursuit and a silver and bronze in the single mixed and mixed relays at World Championships. It was a huge fight all season for the total score and she had to work so, so hard for it competing against the likes of Kaisa Makarainen at the start of the season and then teammate Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina at the end.
Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
There were some amazing biathlon performances this season for the para biathletes. The USA’s Kendall Gretsch won the sitting class for the women and Ukraine’s Taras Rad for the men. Oleksandra Kononova took the women’s standing with Clara Klug winning the women’s vision impaired and Yury Holub was a double World Champions in men’s vision impaired. However one person stood out having won the overall title in the men’s standing as well as all three World Championship titles. He hardly missed a target all season and skied really well too. I did interview him this season so that probably explains all his success! 😉
Winner: Benjamin Daviet

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
This award goes to a 21-year-old German woman who had a fantastic year. She won the Junior Cup which shows good consistency across the season. At the Junior World Championships in Orsblie she won three medals; silver in the pursuit, bronze in the sprint and silver in the women’s relay.
Winner: Hanna Kebinger

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

Youth biathlete of the year goes to someone who celebrates their 19th birthday tomorrow. What a great present this must be!!! 😉 This young Slovenian won double gold in the sprint and pursuit at the Youth World Championships in Orsblie as well as helping his teammates to the relay silver medal. He also finished 5th in the Junior Cup total score where he is competing against juniors some of whom are 2 or 3 years older than him.
Winner:Alex Cisar

Bonus award:
Craziest fan:

It’s obvious right? Anyone who dresses in a giant dinosaur costume and runs alongside the tracks deserves recognition! We appreciate the madness!
Winner: T-rex from Soldier Hollow

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2016/17!!!

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It’s back! That’s right the Biathlon23 awards are now in their fourth year! As usual they are not your typical awards. In fact they are even more la-la than LA-LA Land! Luckily I double checked all the envelopes as I discovered Gabi Koukalova’s name in the Best Facial Hair category – OOPS!!! 😉 Obviously the same rigorous system was 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):
Shockingly this award was almost won by a ski technician. Now I love the ski/wax techs but they are forbidden from winning awards! Andrew Chisholm is the culprit proving very popular among his fellow Canadians. This had to be stopped and there was only one way to it. Interview a German! Luckily for me one of them agreed to do it and since it’s biathlon a German can beat anyone! This one also went on to become World Champion in the Sprint in Hochfilzen! (That’s what biathlon23 interviews can do for you!)
Winner: Benedikt Doll

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:

“biathlon23”: This is happening more often! It’s a worry! 😉
“little bit too much girly habert dorin”: Outrageous behaviour from a girl!!!
“martin fourcade and final lap of relay. did he cheat?” Yes he cheats in every race by being faster on skis and better at shooting than everyone else – Damn him!
“is aiden miller one of the fastest people”: I think it’s still Usain Bolt!
“simon fourcade has child”: I don’t think he can!
“van damme biathlon”: Well Belgium are always looking for biathletes!
“tarjei bø party”: I want to go!
“tarjei bö shirtless”: The party just got better!
“lisa theresa hauser high heels”: Not when she is skiing I hope!

Winner:“anton panton biathlon”: It’s Pantov! Anton Pantov! It must be the rhyming here that made me cry laughing so that’s why it wins!

Best Facial Hair:
Talk about famine to feast. Last season there was obviously some sort of offer on shaving items as there was hardly a whisker to be seen but this year the beard is back! It’s not just the biathletes either some of the coaches have beards and even the new IBU TV guy. Well sorry gents but this is a biathlete only award. The French put up a good fight this season with Simon Fourcade and also Antonin Guigonnat trying to become an extra on “Vikings”. The Canadians have Macx Davies trying to defend his title and a hidden gem in the IBU Cup with Matthew Neumann’s wonderful effort. The Germans tried but I’m sorry to say failed with Erik Lesser and Arnd Peiffer attempting the goatie but with little success. Klemen Bauer always has a great beard. Benni Weger was a strong candidate but the winner has a great beard to go with a great personality and also some great form!
Winner:Michael Roesch

Best earrings:
A strong category this season. There are a lot of ladies wearing earrings to compete and so it was a tough decision. Kaisa Makarainen has her snowflakes as does Tiril Eckhoff. There were a lot of ladies choosing long earrings this year. They are brave, I mean imagine if they got caught in your harness – AHH!!! The ones I liked best however were small blue earrings that actually looked like real flowers.
Winner:Nicole Gontier

Best fall:
We don’t like to see biathletes fall. That’s a total lie we love it as long as they don’t get hurt! This year’s award has to be shared for a magnificent two person effort. Picture the scene. The Men’s Relay in Pokljuka, the first lap, a herd of biathletes hurtling down the hill. Sergey Bocharnikov of Belarus falls and Tuomas Gronman of Finland skis into him and goes flying through the air and lands on his face! Fortunately both were OK but it was a spectacular crash to watch.
Winner: Thomas Gronman and Sergey Bocharnikov

Best quote in a press conference/interview:
Again this has to go to a Boe! This year it’s Johannes but he does have to share it with Gabi! Asked at a press conference in Hochfilzen about Valentine’s Day he put his arm round Gabi and said he had everything he needed for Valentine’s Day. To which she replied that he would have to wait a few days because her husband was there! So funny and very cheeky as usual! (actually Gabi saying that Laura Dahlmeier ‘runs like a horse’ was also in contention!)
See the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLI4rZgjECE
Winner: Johannes Boe and Gabriela Koukalova

Best biathlon video:
There is only one possibility. Filmed in a bathroom at the World Championships (no it’s not that get your mind out of the gutter!) by the American team. Please feel free to ignore most of it except of course the part where Maddie Phaneuf talks about this blog! Fame at last! It’s all about 23! 🙂
(Actually you should watch all the videos they did as it’s a great behind the scenes view with some raw emotions too.)
see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UdHH16RR8c&feature=youtu.be
Winner: US biathlon women’s team

Best rifle design:
It’s been a lean year for rifle design. I mean biathletes have all summer to come up with a idea and then we get a blue,black or red rifle or a wooden stock. Come on people! We have a few saviours thankfully. Erik Lesser has a design that I think is miners. Joanne Reid has a naked lady! (Don’t look kids!). Andrejs Rastorgujevs has his like a zebra in case we do safari biathlon! Anastasiya Kuzmina has gone a bit psychedelic. Jaroslav Soukup has his kids on there (AWW!). Shipulin and Gasparin still have their cool rifles from last season but the winner is a lady who has a cat’s face on her stock. You can just see the eyes staring at you when she shoots. It’s PURR-fect! 😉
Winner: Darya Usanova

Most ridiculous rifle colour:
Well it’s not technically ridiculous and not even that bad but as almost everyone has gone boring this season someone has to win. I don’t want to be too harsh, she may be short of money and that’s why she used her grandmother’s flowery wallpaper to cover her rifle including the barrel!
Winner: Veronika Vitkova

Best ski suit:
There has been a noticeable improvement in this years ski suits. I particularly like Estonia, Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic. The Norwegians and Great Britain have done well too. The winner was actually hard to choose for a change but I went with this country because I like the design and the colours and they deserve praise for getting rid of those pixelated trousers from last season!
Winner: Austria

Worst ski suit:
Well there is a clear winner this year but first I must commend some previous winners for improving their suits. Not France of course because theirs still sucks! Lithuania however have made major improvements in colour abandoning the yellow/green horror for a lovely shade of red. China came close to getting this award but avoided it by at least using the colours of their flag. However the winners was an easy choice. They have chosen the colour of the phlegm you cough up when you have a chest infection and matched it with silvery grey. None of these colours are on the country’s flag and hopefully it will never been seen again!
Winner: Romania

Best range decoration:
Oestersund got us started with range decoration this season by throwing some shells (the wrong size by the way) on to a pile of snow! Creativity at it’s best! PyeongChang got in on the action with a rabbit watching the shooting (FYI rabbits don’t like rifles!). The clear winner however is the digger and the penguin. Not that much to do with biathlon to be fair but good work nonetheless.
Winner:Ruhpolding

Best TV turn:
You may have noticed at the start of Sprint and Individual races the biathletes pop up with a TV turn at the left bottom corner of your screen. Most of them either cross their arms or put their arms on their hips. Luckily we have 2 creative rebels to entertain us. Vladimir Semakov of Ukraine does the 2 thumbs up and the winner who is 100% biathlon at all times makes a gun with his fingers for shooting!
Winner:Anton Shipulin

Best Biathlete23:
Difficult this season without a win for bib23. We have had 3 podiums. Susan Dunklee was third and Anton Shipulin and Justine Braisaz were both second. How do you choose between them? You don’t! I have gone left field for this one. A biathlete who contacts the blog to say they are in bib23 in the first race of the season and then goes on to achieve their personal best wearing it deserves the title! It doesn’t matter if it’s World Cup, IBU Cup or the Junior World Cup. In this case 14th in the Junior Men’s Individual in Lenzerheide!
Winner: Tom Lahaye-Goffart

Biggest Improver:
One person in particular has had an amazing season. This season she has progressed from an athlete who would move between the IBU and World Cup to a regular on the World Cup. She got her first ever World Cup podium in Nove Mesto where she came second in the Sprint. She won her first ever race in the Pursuit a day later. She was also on the podium in Antholz coming second in the Individual and again in PyeongChang when she was 3rd in the Sprint. She won a bronze medal in the Sprint at the World Championships. Last season she was 39th in the Total Score and this season she was 7th. You can see the clear improvement!
Winner: Anais Chevalier

Best Team Performance:
There can only be one winner in this category. Winning every Women’s Relay of the season and the World Championships is a remarkable achievement. I mean it helps to have Laura Dahlmeier on the anchor leg but they can even win without her as was proved in PyeongChang.
Winner: German Women’s Relay Team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
This one comes from the World Championships. Dominik Landertinger’s final lap in the Men’s Relay was a strong contender but there could only be one winner for me. Winning the Individual race for the USA was an outstanding achievement. A perfect shooting performance and a excellent ski meant he deserved all the accolades he got. However this award is actually for the whole Championships. He was also 4th in the Sprint, 6th in the Pursuit and 6th in the Mass Start. After being overtaken in these races and losing positions his win in the Individual showed some amazing mental fortitude as well as his obvious talent.
Winner: Lowell Bailey

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
So it has to come down to Martin Fourcade vs. Laura Dahlmeier. That’s a race I would love to see! Martin now has 6 Overall Titles in a row and won an amazing 14 races this season. Dahlmeier won the Overall Title for the first time and won 5 gold and 1 silver medal at the World Championships. She also won 10 races this season and was a fantasic anchor in the Women’s Relay team. Basically I think it comes down to the more competitive nature of the women’s field as to why I chose this winner and that the first World Title is often the hardest.
Winner: Laura Dahlmeier

IPC biathlete of the Year:
I think this is the hardest award of all to choose with 3 categories of men and women there are a lot of possibilities. This year I have chosen someone who dramatically claimed his first ever biathlon World Title at the final World Cup round in Japan in the final race. He also won two gold medals at his home World Championships in Finsterau in the sitting category. Also he likes biathlon better than cross-country which is very important!
Winner: Martin Fleig

Junior Biathlete of the Year:

A very tough category especially as there is now a Junior World Cup as well as World Championships. I chose this guy because of his consistency over the season as well as his obvious talent in skiing and shooting. He won the Overall Title on the Junior World Cup and silver at the European Junior Championships in the Individual. He also won silver in the Sprint at the World Championships and helped his team to Relay gold.
Winner: Kirill Streltsov

Youth Biathlete of the Year:
This was a duel between two biathletes again. Irene Lardschneider and Claude 3 or Emilien as he is also known. They have both competed on the Junior World Cup. They both won 2 gold medals at the Youth World Championships in the Sprint and Pursuit. One of them also won a bronze medal with their team in the Relay so for that and the fact that they have a great surname here is the winner.
Winner: Irene Lardschneider

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Holmenkollen 2017: The Pursuits!

We had the final Pursuits of the season in Holmenkollen on Saturday. It was still windy but sunny and the conditions caused a little difficulty like they did in the Sprint.

Mari Laukkanen was amazing today. She won the Pursuit comfortably and was never troubled by anyone else for the lead. Her only mistake was missing a target on her final standing shoot but she had enough of a gap to second not to bother her too much. She is on fantastic ski form and her shooting is the best it’s ever been. After winning the Sprint, her first ever victory yesterday, she was full of confidence starting the Pursuit.

If you listened to a certain commentary team however you may have thought differently. They gave her no chance at the start and didn’t see her winning even after she hit 15/15 on the first 3 shoots. Please remember biathletes are not just their statistics! It’s not a case of ski stats + shooting stats = result. There is a lot more to it as Mari showed today.

Second place went to Gabriela Koukalova who shot the perfect 20/20 to move from 4th onto the podium. Third place went to Justine Braisaz who missed 4 shots and gave her no chance of fighting for the win. Teja Gregorin finished 4th, her best performance of the season, missing just 1 target. Lisa Hauser came from 22nd to 5th hitting 20/20 and Marte Olsbu was top Norwegian in 6th.

Kaisa Makarainen moved from 27th to 7th, Laura Dhalmeier went from 31st to 9th to win the Pursuit title and Lisa Vittozzi went from 46th to 16th.

The Men’s race was just between the top three from the Sprint. Johannes Boe, Martin Fourcade and Anton Shipulin. They were pretty closely matched right up to the final shoot. Fourcade and Boe both missed 1 in the first prone, then Shipulin missed in the first stand so it all came down to the final shoot!

This was where Mr. Pursuit showed just how good he is in this event. Shipulin shot clean and the other two both missed a target. Shipulin won by 5 seconds but Fouracde and Boe had to fight it out on the tracks for second. Fourcade attacked on the uphill and Boe didn’t have the energy to match him. That makes 21 podiums for Fourcade this season.

Freddie Lindstrom moved from 15th to 4th shooting 20/20, Lukas Hofer went from 21st to 5th and Julian Eberhard went from 10th to 6th.

Andrejs Rastorgujevs had a good race going from 23rd to 10th (YEAH!), Michal Krcmar from 28th to 13th, Dominik Windisch from 40th to 15th, Artem Pryma from 39th to 21st, Lowell Bailey from 44th to 23rd, Vladimir Iliev from 58th to 29th and Vetle Christiansen from 53rd to 30th.

Don’t cry but tomorrow is the final day of the World Cup season! It’s the Mass Starts though so it should be a good one!

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Oestersund 2016: The Relays.

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Finally! You wait ages for a biathlon race and two come along at once! That’s right biathlon is back and the season got under way in Oestersund, Sweden. The Mixed Relay started us off and that was followed a little later by the Single Mixed Relay just to ease everyone in gently.

What I thought might be an appetizer followed by a main course actually turned out to be a main course followed by the cheeseboard instead of the dessert platter. What I am trying to say is that the Mixed Relay was better than the Single Mixed Relay (unless you prefer French cheese!).

The Mixed Relay got off to a good start with the women fighting for the lead. In the end it was the USA’s Susan Dunklee who made the hand over in first place but with less than 7 seconds covering the Top 5 teams. The second leg saw Dorothea Wierer hit the front and she handed over a lead of around 5 seconds from Birkeland and Dahlmeier.

Lukas Hofer maintained Italy’s lead up until his standing shoot which was heartbreaking. Having cleared the first 4 targets he thought the 5th was down and almost had his rifle back on his back when he saw taht it wasn’t! He then had to reset his position and preceded to miss all three spares and go on the penalty loop. Taking advantage was the evergreen Bjoerndalen who gave Norway a 17 second cushion over Doll of Germany.

Johannes Boe wouldn’t give up that lead with some fast shooting and skiing. Second place went to Germany with a bearded Arnd Peiffer. (Do you think he is after some kind of award!) In third place came Italy after a great leg by Dominik Windisch who beat Anton Shipulin in a sprint to the line to save teammate Hofer from a bad evening! France were 5th, Sweden 6th, Czech Republic 7th, USA 8th, Switzerland 9th and Ukraine 10th.

Next up came the Single Mixed Relay. France put in their top team of Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin-Habert and they really dominated the race. They were never out of the top three teams in any leg. They won by 16 seconds and it could have been more with a few more hits from Dorin Habert. In second place was a strong Austrian team of Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder who both shot really quickly and well just using 2 spares between them.

Third went to Germany with Preuss and Lesser. The race for the minor places was actually better with Sweden eventually taking 4th, Kazakhkstan taking 5th, Switzerland came from 18th place to 6th, Canada were 7th, Russia 8th, Ukraine 9th and Belarus 10th. If you are wondering what happened to Norway, Ingrid Tandrevold fell on the first of her loops and they never recovered and came home 11th.

So that concludes the first days racing of World Cup 1 in Oestersund. The next race is on Wednesday and it’s the Women’s Individual followed by the Men’s race on Thursday!

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WC1: Oestersund 2015 Review!

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AT LAST! Winter is here and the withdrawal symptoms have gone – biathlon is back! As usual we kicked off the season in Oestersund, Sweden and this year we started with the Single Mixed Relay.

This time around it was poor Simon who suffered from the “Oestersund Curse of the Fourcades” when he failed to fire all his bullets and missed a penalty loop which cost the French team a victory. Simon and Marie Dorin Habert were winning by a margin but after a 3 minute time penalty they ended up 21st. This left the way clear for Norway to win with a team of Kaia Nicolaisen and Lars Birkeland. In second and taking their first ever relay podium was the Canadian pair of Rosanna Crawford and Nathan Smith and third were the German team of Maren Hammerschmidt and Daniel Boehm.

Next came the Mixed Relay which Norway controlled and won by a margin big enough for Tarjei Boe to pose in front of a car advert pleasing the sponsors immensely. Second came Germany and in third was the Czech Republic. It wasn’t the most exciting relay apart from the first takeover where Franziska Hildebrand, Vanessa Hinz and Ekaterina Yurlova managed to play skittles with each other and Jean Guillaume Beatrix and Freddie Lindstrom treated us to a sprint finish for 4th place.

On Wednesday the first individual race of the season got underway and coincidentally it was the Men’s Individual 20km! It was won by Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who had a great race shooting 20/20 to win his 95th race. He profited slightly from calmer conditions on the shooting range but that doesn’t take anything away from his victory. In second was Overall Title contender Simon Schempp and third was Alexey Volkov who also shot clear. Windy and snowy conditions made it a difficult day on the range with Martin Fourcade missing 5 shots to finish in 21st, Tarjei Boe missing 4 in 22nd and Anton Shipulin missing 3 to finish 16th. Svendsen came joint 4th with Quentin Fillon Maillet who was France’s top finisher in the race.

In contrast to Bjoerndalen the winner of the Women’s race collected her first ever win on the World Cup. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer shot clear to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time. Marie Dorin Habert put in a great skiing performance to come second and Olena Pidhrushna was third after coming out of retirement. Overall title hopefuls Tiril Eckhoff and Gabriela Soukalova finished 4th and 5th. Also in the Top 10 was Lisa Hauser getting her best finish of 8th on the World Cup.

On Saturday came the Sprints and they were held in windy conditions which meant shooting was very difficult. Fortunately for winner Martin Fourcade he can miss some targets and still win. This time everyone missed targets except one.In second was Arnd Peiffer and third was Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. The wind threw some new names into the TOP 20 with Macx Davies of Canada finishing 10th shooting 10/10. Raman Yaliotnau from Belarus was 15th and Jesper Nelin of Sweden was 16th.

In the Women’s race Gabriela Soukalova hit 10/10 to take the win denying Italy’s Federica Sanfilippo her first World Cup victory. Second is still an amazing result for her finishing ahead of a resurgent Olena Pidhrushna who was third for the second race in succession.

The Sprint result meant that Martin Fourcade would start the Pursuit 52 seconds before Peiffer and it would be very difficult to beat him, and so it proved as he won comfortably. Peiffer maintained his second place and Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got on the podium in third after two 4th place finishes.

You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned Kaisa Makarainen yet. She got off to an inauspicious start by her standards with a 24th and 10th place finish. She showed her class in the Pursuit though with a stunning final shoot and last lap to claim victory. Second was Dorothea Wierer and third was Franziska Hildebrand who couldn’t hold off Kaisa and her amazing skiing.

Others who did well in the Pursuits were Tarjei Boe who went from 29th to 4th, Dmitry Malyshko 34th to 7th, Evgeniy Garanichev 27th to 8th, Simon Fourcade 49th to 14th and Lars Birkeland 58th to 25th. For the women Marte Olsbu went from 26th to 7th, Eva Tofalvi from 60th to 19th, Megan Tandy from 46th to 25th and Nadezhda Skardino from 26th to 7th.

All in all it was a great start to the new season and we now head to Austria and Hochfilzen for round 2 with Martin Fourcade in the yellow bib for the men and Gabriela Soukalova for the women. It promises to be a great World Cup round!

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Aiming for the Top: Season Preview Women 2015/16

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After the news that last season’s champion Darya Domracheva has decided to take the season off to recover from mononucleosis we have been denied the chance to see her go head to head again with Kaisa Makarainen. Bad news for us but good news for Kaisa as she is the now the clear favourite to regain the Overall Title. It will be difficult for the other female biathletes to challenge her due to her superior ski speed but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be trying their best to beat her.

The main competition to Kaisa will come from the Ukraine, Germany, The Czech Republic, Italy, France and hopefully Norway. Last season’s third place biathlete in the Total Score was Valj Semerenko. It was her best season to date and it seems she did better without her twin sister Vita who might miss another season due to injury.

The biggest challenge to Kaisa could come from Germany and not just from 1 biathlete but possibly from 3. Franziska Hildebrand was 5th in the Total Score last season, Laura Dahlmeier was 8th and Franziska Preuss was 9th. They are all young, hungry biathletes and if they can produce their form from last season and put some more consistent points scoring races together they will be a real threat. Dahlmeier looks the most dangerous as she has shown she is capable of winning races but her inexperience may count against her.

Veronika Vitkova and Gabriela Soukalova were 4th and 6th respectively last season and both have the talent to improve their positions. If Soukalova has a better start to the season we could see her on the podium much more often and hopefully she has concentrated more on her summer training this year than her commercial deals. Vitkova will be looking for more wins and more podiums and could end up on the Overall podium at the end of the year although I’m not sure it will be on the top step.

Dorothea Wierer, 7th last season, and Karin Oberhofer,10th, constitute the danger from Italy. Both had fantastic seasons and with a few more good results they could both move up the rankings. They can challenge Makarainen in individual races but I am not sure if they can sustain it over an entire season.

Someone with possibly the best chance of stealing the crystal globe from the clutches of Makarainen is France’s Marie Dorin Habert. She finished 15th in the Total Score but didn’t compete in all the races after having her first child. However when she did turn up she was on the best form of her life. Strangely she won her first race just last season so it may be a bit premature to call her a title contender but she has what it takes to outscore Kaisa if she maintains last season’s form and can consistently be on and around the podium.

Another first time mum is making her way back into biathlon and Selina Gasparin will be hoping to copy the success of Habert. You may also note that the Russian biathletes are completely absent from the Top 10 with Ekaterina Glazyrina their best biathlete in 13th. I can’t really see any of the Russian women in the hunt for the crystal globe this season either.

Tiril Eckhoff is Norway’s big hope in the Total Score. She was 11th last year and she will be under pressure to perform this season. She has the talent to win races and be very competitive but seems to lack the consistency required to compete for the Overall Title. She may also be focussing her season on her home World Championships.

It will also be a big year for the North American ladies. They get to race at home this season with World Cups in Canmore and Presque Isle. The likes of Rosanna Crawford, Megan Tandy, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker will be desperate to do well in front of their home crowd.

Away from the Overall winner there is some young talent to keep an eye on. Ukraine’s Iryna Varvynets looks like a good prospect along with the French pair Enora Latuilliere and Justine Braisaz. Germany’s Luise Kummer and Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser were impressive last season and Elisa Gasparin will be looking to build on her good form as will Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi.

It’s hard to see past Makarainen for the Overall Title but it is biathlon and anything can happen. It should be an exciting season in the women’s races with lots of new young talent coming through who will be trying to get a podium or break into the Top 10 or Top 20. We can look forward to a lot of fantastic women Aiming for the Top!

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Lisa Theresa: A HAUS-hold name!

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What a season Lisa Teresa Hauser had in 2014/15! The 21-year-old came 26th in the Total Score and had 10 Top 25 finishes including three at the World Championships in Kontiolahti. All that in only her second season on the World Cup!

Lisa was born in Kitzbühel, Austria on the 16th of December 1993. She initially began cross country skiing when she started school and only started biathlon in 2011. By the 2012 season she was already in the Austrian Youth Team who went to the Youth/Junior World Championships in Kontiolahti. In the Youth Category she managed to come 11th in the Individual and then was selected as the anchor leg in the Relay. The team came third and then Lisa took third place in the Sprint race too.

Obviously her background in cross country gave her a solid start as a biathlete but to learn to shoot well and start winning medals one year after you begin is an amazing achievement. Those results earned Lisa the chance to go to the final IBU Cup that season where she got a 23rd place. From there she started the next season 2012/13 on the IBU Cup and has never looked back.

She went to Sochi as part of the Austrian Olympic squad and performed admirably taking 3 TOP 40 finishes, her best a 27th place finish in the Sprint race. Last season however was her really good as she improved her personal best from 24th to 13th which came in the Oestersund Sprint. She added another 6 TOP 25 finishes throughout the World Cup season and then got three in a row at the World Championships.

Lisa finished a fantastic 14th in the Mass Start after coming 24th in the Sprint, 22nd in the Pursuit and 26th in the Individual. Not bad for someone who only picked up a rifle 4 years before. She was also part of the Austrian Mixed Relay team who were 5th and the Women’s Team who were 9th.

She is not just a talented biathlete however. Her hobbies include playing the flute and the guitar, which could possibly earn her a place in the biathlon band, as well as cycling, slacklining and reading.

Next season could be a very good one for Lisa if she stays fit and healthy so what can we expect from her? Well if her progress so far is anything to go by we can expect a lot! She will definitely be aiming to break into the Top 10 but I think she has the ability to get on to the podium this season. She is a strong skier and her shooting is improving all the time. At 21 she has plenty of time to get better at both disciplines. She also has a chance of making it into the Top 10 of the Total Score if she can improve and become more consistent.

In Oslo at the World Championships she has an outside chance of an Individual medal but the Mixed Relay could be the event where she has a serious chance of winning. With Landertinger, Eder and Innerhofer, Austria has a really good team capable of getting a medal. So look out for Lisa’s results this season because she will soon be a HAUS-hold name!

You can like Lisa’s Facebook page: Lisa Hauser

She has her own own website too: http://www.lisahauser.at/

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