Tag Archives: Lucie Charvatova

Biathlete23 Season Review 2019/20!

This season has been a strange one for biathlete23. It is the lowest points total so far but then there were three races less than other years with Olso being cancelled. There were no wins and only one podium but the points scoring was amazingly consistent. In fact out of 42 races there were only 4 where biathlete23 was not in the points! I am not one to name and shame but let’s just say Clare Egan, Scott Gow, Lukas Hofer and Selina Gasparin have a lot of work to do in the summer! 😉

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points
Year 6: 730 points (3 fewer races)

This season the points total was 730, made up of 386 for the men and 344 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 17th place in the Men’s Overall between Lukas Hofer and Dmytro Pidruchnyi and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Linn Persson and Mona Brorsson. It seems that Pidruchnyi and Brorsson are the benchmark as biathlete23 has finished alongside them both for two seasons in a row!

Way back in December in Oestersund Atrem Pryma was the first to wear the coveted bib23 in the sprint. He came 35th and Kamila Zuk was 28th in the women’s race. In the individuals Vetle Christiansen was 31st but Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht did the best coming 16th!

On to Hochfilzen where Clare Egan came 66th in the sprint but then Benedikt Doll was 11th! In the pursuits Lisa Vittozzi was 25th and Fabien Claude was 8th. A good round for the men.

Annecy saw 6 races starting with a 22nd place for Vladimir Iliev in the sprint which Emma Lunder followed with 36th for the women. Florent Claude was also 22nd in the pursuit and Janina Hettich was 31st. In the first mass starts of the season Vladimir Iliev was again in bib23 and finished 20th with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova 15th!

After Christmas it was off to Oberhof! The sprint yielded 30th place for Larisa Kuklina and 12th for Benjamin Weger. In the mass start it was 27th for Lucie Charvatova and 28th for Felix Leitner.

Ruhpolding did not start well with 60th place for Scott Gow in the sprint. However Franziska Preuss was 14th to make up for it! In the pursuits Baiba Bendika was 26th and Raman Yaliotnau 27th. See what I mean about consistency!

Pokljuka was next on the calendar and in the men’s individual Evgeniy Garanichev was 35th but Selina Gasparin just missed out on points in 41st. Artem Pryma was 29th in the mass start and Katherina Innerhofer was 22nd.

In February we had the World Championships in Antholz. In the women’s sprint Mona Brorsson took 33rd place and then Tarjei Boe was 4th! So close to a medal – it was very exciting for a minute there! The pursuit saw Karolin Horchler take 15th place while Johannes Dale was 17th. In the individual Fuyuko Tachizaki was 34th and then Jakov Fak came …you guessed it ..4th! AHHH So close again! Can we make a medal for 4th place like tin or something?! Lastly came the mass starts and Ivona Fialkova finished in 25th and Ondrej Moravec was 11th. Points in every race at World Champs we can’t complain too much!

The 7th round of the World Cup was in Nove Mesto and finally, finally biathlete23 got a podium! It was home favourite Marketa Davidova who did it coming 3rd in the sprint! Unicorn power + bib23 = podium! Lukas Hofer however came 64th in the men’s race! Oh well swings and roundabouts! The mass starts saw Larisa Kuklina come home in 10th and Ondrej Moravec take 19th.

At the final round in Kontiolahti Klemen Bauer was 27th in the sprint while Aita Gasparin was 22nd. Jesper Nelin was 23rd in the mass start (a good place to finish!) and Lucie Charvatova was 28th.

Oslo was unfortunately cancelled due to the corona virus and I was tempted to give biathlete23 60 points for each race but in the end I decided that it wouldn’t be fair! 😉

Hopefully next season biathlete23 can get back to winning ways and maybe bag a few more medals!

See the full results on the Biathlete23 page of the blog.

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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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Antholz 2020: Women’s Sprint!

Day two in Antholz was women’s sprint day! It was still beautiful and sunny but our old friend Mr. Wind came out to play too and made for a crazy race!

The first big casualty was Tiril Eckhoff! She missed 6 shots out of 10 and finished 59th losing the yellow bib and just scraping into Sunday’s pursuit!

It was then the home team’s turn to suffer with Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi both missing two targets.

Handling the wind well was Aita Gasparin who was the first woman to hit the perfect 10.

It was Norway who would eventually take the gold however with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland rising to the occasion. She hit 9/10 and her ski speed took her to the gold medal. It is her first individual gold at the World Championships having won all her other golds as part of the relay team. It was also vindication of her decision to skip the World Cup round in Annecy to concentrate on these championships which she received a lot of criticism for from the Norwegian press!

Second place went to the USA! It was Susan Dunklee who took the silver medal with the perfect shoot. She gave everything she had in the last loop as she was leading out of the range but it wasn’t enough against Roeiseland. She almost fell coming into the home straight as she was trying so hard but that just shows you what a great competitor she is. It is her second world championships silver medal after she won silver in the mass start in 2017.

The fight for the bronze medal was great. Firstly Denise Herrmann went into third despite 3 misses. She is skiing so fast here it’s unbelievable! Then she was overtaken by Olena Pidhrushna who had one miss and then moments later Lucie Charvatova passes her to claim the bronze medal!

Pidhrushna was 4th, Herrmann 5th and Lisa Vittozzi 6th. Wierer’s 7th place put her back into the yellow bib.

There was a personal best for Milena Todorova in 27th fresh from her success at the Junior World Championships and also for Slovenian teammates Lea Einfalt in 29th and Nika Vindisar in 46th. There was also a PB for Fanqi Meng in 39th shooting 10/10. The only other 10/10 was from Vita Semerenko in 11th.

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Summer World Champs 2019: Minsk!

More than 250 biathletes made the journey to Belarus to compete in the IBU Summer World Championships. Minsk Raubichi was the host to both Juniors and Senior racing over three days from the 23rd to the 25th of August.

Super Sprints
Day 1 on Friday saw an new event for these Championships although we have already seen on the IBU Cup – the Super Sprint. This is when all biathletes race in the qualifying round which is a shortened sprint but only the Top 30 go into the final which is a short version of a mass start. The Junior men kicked us off with Vitezslav Hornig qualifying fastest. For the Junior women it was Anna Kryvonos who topped the leader board.

In the men’s final the gold medal went to the home nation with Mikita Labastau (1 miss), the silver to Hornig (clean) and the bronze to Igor Malinovskii(1 miss). The women’s final saw Russia’s Valeriia Vastnetcova take the gold with Yuanmeng Chu in silver and Kryvonos with bronze. The top two shot clean with Kryvonos missing 1.

In the Senior Super Sprint it was Martin Otcenas who was quickest in qualifying for the men and Darya Blashko for the women. Timofey (the moustache) Lapshin took the gold medal in the men’s event. He was followed home by Klemen Bauer in second and Eduard Latypov in third. Clean shooting was the key to victory with Lasphin only one of two men to shoot perfectly.

The women’s race came down to a sprint finish and it was super! It seems we are still relying on the ladies for the best races! Valj Semerenko won the gold medal on the line by 0.1 of a second from Lucie Charvatova in silver. Bronze went to Ekaterina Glazyrina who was 0.4 of a second from the victory.

Sprints
Saturday was the day for the Sprint, just the regular one without being so super! 😉

This time it was a different Belarus athlete who gave the home crowd something to cheer. Dzmitry Lazouski took the Junior men’s title despite 3 misses! Luckily he roller skis really fast! Mikulas Karlik was second with 2 misses and Yurii Sytnyk was third with 1 miss. The junior women’s gold medal went to Yuanmeng Chu going one better than yesterday! She hit 10/10 to get her first win at international level. Ekaterina Bekh missed 1 for silver and Anastasiia Goreeva missed 2 for bronze.

The senior men’s race went to Timofey Lasphin grabbing double gold after yesterday’s victory. He missed 1 but still finished 4 seconds ahead of Alexander Povarnitsyn who also missed 1. Bronze went to Eduard Latypov with 2 misses.

Again it was the women’s race that provided the most excitement with two gold medals awarded! Ekaterina Glazyrina and Lucie Charvatova had exactly the same time and were both given the win! However Glazyrina shot clean while Charvatova missed 1! The bronze medal went to Darya Blashko. They silver medal is available if anyone wants it!!! 😉

Pursuits
On Sunday we had all four Pursuits races. It was business as usual for the Juniors with the men’s title going to Dzmitry Lazouski and the women’s to Yuanmeng Chu. Lazouski led a Belarus 1-2 with teammate Mikita Labastau taking silver. He moved up from 10th to get the silver and Igor Malinovskii moved up one place from fourth to third to complete the podium.

Chu had a great race in the junior women’s pursuit missing only one target on the final standing shoot. Goreeva moved up a spot from the sprint to take silver and Anna Kryvonos went from 10th to third to grab the bronze medal.

Pursuit gold was won by Martin Otcenas in the men’s race on his birthday. He shot the perfect 20/20 to move from 22nd to first – nice present to himself! Latypov missed 5 but still came in second and Klemen Bauer went from 6th to third to take bronze despite 6 misses.

Yan Zhang made it a golden day for China by winning the women’s pursuit to match her junior teammate. She came from 12th missing 1 shot to take her first senior win. Tamara Voronina (1 miss) came from 8th to take silver and Vita Semerenko ( 2 misses) went from 6th to third to claim bronze.

P.S Don’t forget this weekend (31st August) there is also the inaugural Festival of Martin Fourcade where you can find out about what he eats for breakfast, his shoe size and what kind of toothpaste he uses….no wait…. it’s the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival for biathlon and cross country skiing! Easy mistake to make! 😉

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Oberhof 2019: The Relays!

Summary of the relays in Oberhof – fall, fall, fall, broken rifles, fall, fall, amazing shooting by the Russians, fall, fall, penalty loops, fall and telemark turn!

There were big surprises in the women’s relay today in Oberhof. It was won by the Russian team who haven’t won a relay in ages! The team of Evgeniya Pavlova, Margarita Vasileva, Larisa Kuklina and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht needed just 8 spare rounds to seal victory.

The conditions were really tough with a strong wind and wet snow to contend with. It went down to the last shoot today with Yurlova-Percht holding her nerve after Denise Herrmann missed and had two penalty loops to do. She hung on for a second place for the German team of Karoline Horchler, Franziska Hildebrand, Franziska Preuss.

The Czech Republic were third with a team of Lucie Charvatova, Veronika Vitkova, Marketa Davidova and Eva Puskarcikova. They had one penalty loop on the first leg but the final two women were fantastic using one spare between the two of them and that brought them up to third.

Falls for Lisa Teresa Hauser and Karoline Knotten ended in broken rifles but luckily no broken body parts!

Norway were 4th, France 5th and Slovakia 6th.

The men’s relay also went to Russian with some more great shooting. The team of Maxim Tsvetkov, Evgeniy Garanichev, Dmitry Malyshko and Alexander Loginov led from the second leg onward and weren’t seriously challenged using only 6 spares in total.

Second place went to France with a team of Antonin Guigonnat, Simon Desthieux, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade. On the last leg Fourcade had too much to do to catch the Russians but he did show us a telemark turn and also a smile on his face which was nice to see.

Third place went to the Austrian team of Tobias Eberhard, Simon Eder, Dominik Landertinger and Julian Eberhard. Eberhard actually fell on his way to the finish but was far enough ahead to stay on the podium.

The Czech Republic were 4th, Sweden 5th and Italy 6th.

The action continues in Ruhpolding on Wednesday with the men’s sprint.

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PyeongChang 2017: The Relays!

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It was the final day of racing in PyeongChang and also the final men’s and women’s relays of the season. There are reports going around that after his record equaling 6 Overall Titles in a row and 12 wins in a season that Martin Fourcade was using his big crystal globe to drink soju from! Soju is like the Korean version of sake. We thought he might miss the Relay but as these reports were from an American source it’s possible that it was fake news! 😉

Laura Dahlmeier did miss the women’s relay which is real news! The German’s lined up with their ‘H’ team (like the A team but further down the alphabet) of Horchler, Hammerschmidt, Hermann and Hildebrand! The absence of Dahlmeier didn’t prevent them from winning their fifth relay in a row and every relay this season. A fantastic achievement.

At one point it looked like it wasn’t going to happen though. Nadine Horchler had a solid first leg with just one spare needed handing over to Hammerschmidt in third place behind Chevalier of France and Crawford of Canada.

Hammerschmidt moved Germany into the lead after her leg using 2 spares but staying ahead of France’s Anais Bescond and Canada’s Julia Ransom. Ransom had an amazing leg shooting 10/10 and handing over to Megan Tandy still in contention for the lead.

Denise Hermann was confident on the prone hitting all five. However in the standing shoot she had a lot of trouble and ending up on the penalty loop. This meant that Justine Braisaz of France could take the lead handing over in front of Hermann. Then came Tiril Eckhoff of Norway who had a stunning leg making up for Hilde Fenne’s penalty loop on leg 2. Megan Tandy was brilliant in 4th using just 1 spare.

Celia Aymonier took over for France and was up against Franziska Hildebrand, Marte Olsbu and Emma Lunder. After a solid prone she had a horrible stand ending up with 2 penalty loops and so France were out of the picture. Hildebrand was excellent with just one spare meaning she had a comfortable final loop to victory.

The race was still on for the podium and it came down to a sprint finish on the line between Marte Olsbu, Gabriela Koukalova and Anna Magnusson. Some excellent shooting from these three put them all in with a chance but on the line Olsbu took second by 0.1 of a second with Koukalova in third just in front of Magnusson.

Emma Lunder needed 2 spares and in the end Canada finished 8th but it was a great race from ever member of their team racing in the top 4 for much of the relay.

The men’s race was a little less dramatic but still entertaining. Lukas Hofer set off very fast and led the first loop for Italy before having to do 3 penalty loops on the prone! Norway were up at the front after a great leg from Vetle Christiansen shooting 10/10. The USA were in seconds thanks to Lowell Bailey’s clean shoot and the Ukraine were in 3rd with Artem Pryma.

Bjoerndalen held on to the lead for Norway in the second leg with 3 spares. France’s Simon Fourcade moved them up from 7th, where Beatrix handed over, using just 1 spare. Ukraine were still in third after Sergiy Semenov’s leg.

The third leg saw France move into the lead and they wouldn’t give it up. Simon Desthieux was steady on the range unlike his competitor Vergard Gjermandshaug who incurred a penalty loop for Norway. Austria moved into second with two great legs from Simon Eder and then Julian Eberhard and Norway were still in third.

That’s how the race would end with legs from Martin Fourcade, Dominik Landertinger and Henrik L’Abee Lund. They were all good enough on the range to stop any others catching or passing them.

That is the end of the pre-Olympic event here in PyeongChang and now it’s back to Kontiolahti for World Cup 8!

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Season 2016/17 Preview: Women

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It’s almost time! Just a few days until the start of the brand new biathlon season and it’s time for the women’s preview!
Unlike the predictable Men’s World Cup the Women’s World Cup is really exciting! It’s very hard to choose a winner this season and it should be a great one to watch.

Last season saw Gabriela Soukalova win her first ever Overall Title but I’m sorry to say there is no chance of Soukalova winning this season. Why not? Only because she has changed her name to Koukalova!!! She has every chance of winning again but it will be far from easy.

This season they are lining up to win the big Crystal Globe. With Darya Domracheva missing the start of the season after giving birth to her first child in October the race for the title will be between five or six biathletes.

As defending champion Koukalova will be the favourite this season. However it is often said that retaining a title is more difficult than winning the first one. She will have a lot more expectation on her shoulders this time and that means added pressure. Her committments outside of training may also play a factor if she hasn’t had enough time to prepare properly for the races.

Challenging Gabi will be of course Kaisa Makarainen who happily decided to continue her biathlon career. She is the most experienced of all the contenders and has won the overall title twice before. However she was the favourite last season and she didn’t deliver struggling with her shooting. She is still the fastest skier though and that will give her a big chance.

After the experience of Kaisa we have the youth of Laura Dahlmeier. She had a great season last year on the World Cup and at the World Championships. She is a fantastic shot and copes well under pressure. The biggest barrier to Laura however is her health. She usually misses one or two World Cup rounds through illness and you can’t give away that many points if you want to win the overall.

Marie Dorin Habert was amazing last season and pushed Gabi all the way coming second in the Total Score just 46 points behind. If she repeats her success then she possibly has the best chance of winning the overall title. If she can add a little more consistency she could make it a double World Title for France alongside Fourcade.

Trying to stop all of these ladies will be Dorothea Wierer. She won the small Crystal Globe for the Individual last season and was third overall on the World Cup. She was however over 100 points behind the winner. This means she needs to improve her points scoring over the whole season. Even if she doesn’t win the races she has to finish ahead of her main rivals as often as possible. The Mass Start was probably her weakest event last season but if she can improve her head to head racing she will have an opportunity to take the title.

There are others who we expect to do well like Tiril Eckhoff. She didn’t have a great World Cup last time and finished 11th overall. She will need to work on her shooting to move forward as we know she is a great skier. Franziska Hildebrand will be hoping to better her 5th place in the Overall and if she has a similar season this year she just might do it.

Further down the field Susan Dunklee will be hoping to win her first World Cup race after coming second in Presque Isle last time. Rosanna Crawford will be doing her best to get that elusive first podium finish to improve her personal best of 4th.

Looking to see a big improvement in results will be the Russian women’s team who had a hard time last season. Teja Gregorin and Valj Semerenko will also be hoping for better results this season.

Keep an eye out for the youngsters doing well this season. Galina Vishnevskaya, Lucie Charvatova, Julia Schwaiger, Paulina Fialkova, Ingrid Tandrevold and Lisa Vittozzi will all be out to impress.

There are a lot of others biathletes who will want to have a good season like Karin Oberhofer, Julia Dzhyma, Krystyna Guzik, Olena Pidhrushna, Veronika Vitkova, Anais Bescond and Franziska Preuss and others who will be missing like Weronika Nowakowska and Vita Semerenko but it should be a really exciting season for the women and I can’t wait for it to start!

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Lucie Charvátová: The Interview!

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Lucie Charvátová is a Czech biathlete who was born on the 1st of February 1993 in Hradec Kralove. She made her international debut in biathlon in 2013 and competed at the World Junior Championships in 2014 and the World Championships in 2016. Her personal best result came last season in Hochfilzen when she finished 5th in the Sprint and ended the season in 31st place overall.

Like her Facebook page: Lucie Charvátová (Sportsperson)

Why did you decide to become a biathlete?

When I was about 10 years old I started to do cross country skiing. I was quite good at it, I took part in the World Junior Championships in the youth and junior categories and I even raced during the World Championships in Val di Fiemme in 2013 as a junior. Furthermore, I also won the biathlon race during the “Children’s Winter Olympic Games” in the Czech Republic and a lot of people told me that I had a talent for shooting. When the situation became worse in cross country skiing in the Czech Republic and one of the most popular winter sports started to rise, I decided to change to biathlon in the Spring of 2013. Spectators love biathlon due to its popularity, variety and attractiveness. Good training conditions for the biathlon team in the Czech Republic support the fact that I am happy to be a biathlete. The start of my biathlon training was hard – I had to learn how to shoot and on top of that, all the training lasts much longer than in cross country skiing. But my third biathlon competition was in the World Cup, so I am confident that I chose the right sport for me.

Your personal best result is 5th from the Sprint race in Hochfilzen last season. Can you describe the race and how you did you feel at the end?

I often used to hear the sentence… “ once if you hit..” And that was that day. My success depends on shooting, because my legs are usually fast. On the prone shooting I missed once, but the standing shooting was clear. Before the last lap, I really hoped to be in 10th place, but in the last uphill our coach shouted at me that I could reach the medals! But my legs couldn’t work more… I finished in 5th place, 3 seconds from the bronze medal. I was happy, before the start nobody had expected such a good result and people around me were as delighted as I was! Now that it is over, I remember the race in Hochfilzen as one of the best days of the whole season.
The most bizarre recollection, which I will never forget is that before the whole World Cup season (before the competitions in Östersund) I cut part of my shooting finger and up until Hochfilzen I had stitches in my finger and I almost had no feeling in it.

You had an amazing season in 2015/16. Did you change anything before the season? Why do you think you did so well?

That’s true. In fact, I took part in all the World Cup starts and my overall result was 31st place. But I think the main reason is that it was my third season in biathlon. In the first two years, I had to learn everything from the beginning so I believe that I have made good use of all my training. However, I am still not as good a shooter as those who started with shooting when they were young. My greatest weakness is still in shooting and I think that further improvements won’t come so fast as during the first two years. Every race in season 15/16 was a new experience, I met new people and I saw new places. The winter season ran away so fast and I can’t wait for the new season to start now.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan until the season starts?

We had some hard summer training camps with our team, the first part of summer in the Czech Republic and in August, we were in France in Prémanon. I have focused on my shooting. However, my weakness of unbalanced shooting, which appeared during the winter season, is probably in my head so I also try to solve this problem with my psyche. But this is “a long distance run”… I am really looking forward to winter preparation before the season because it will be a bit closer to the first competitions. I hope that snow conditions will be good and final training is going to start well.

What are your goals for this season?

I would be happy to reach at least the same result as last year and to gain some World Cup points. I am not overambitious, but rather quite pessimistic, and I accept the situation as it is. The World Championship is in my favourite place, Hochfilzen, so I hope that I can achieve some good results there.

Are you excited to compete in Nove Mesto this season?

I have to admit that the shooting range in Nove Mesto is not my favourite one (it is quite windy), but on the other hand I like the tracks there. I hope that the upcoming winter will be severe and freezing and Nove Mesto will have enough snow to organize an unforgettable competition. Fans in the Czech Republic are amazing and they love biathlon so I think that in Nove Mesto, there will be a great atmosphere. My grandma and parents who will cheer me on the track are surely more excited than I am.

Gabriela won the Overall last season. What is she like as a teammate? Does she give you advice? Do you feel some pressure to be really successful like her?

We work as a team together and share advice. Gabi has more work in the background of the sport – with sponsors etc. and in this way she loses a lot of energy necessary for training. It is in the background of all successful sportsmen lives, but everybody has to set their own limits. I don’t feel any pressure, I want to work on my own, and we will see how it goes.

Do you have a favourite biathlon race (sprint, pursuit, etc.)? Which is it and why?

I really like the Sprint because there are only two shootings. You know, when the race has four shootings, there is a bigger probability to spoil it – in my case. But I also got some good results in the Pursuit. It is a contact race which requires tactics and I really enjoy fighting face to face on the track.

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

I’ve never had any sport idol. I think that it isn’t necessary to have some “model” and to do exactly the same things as him/her. Everybody is a unique personality and they should do what they think is the best for them.

Does your rifle have a name?

No, it doesn’t. Sometimes when I shoot bad I call it by some swear words…

Describe yourself in three words.
 
Dutiful, intelligent, pessimistic, home loving, nature lover…

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): France
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Ondřej Moravec – he has the Czech lion as the national emblem
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Austria
Favourite shooting range: Pokljuka
Lucky bib number: every odd number
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: All of the Norwegian men’s team.
Best thing about being a biathlete: When you are the owner of a rifle, others can think that you could kill them!

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WC8: Presque Isle Review 2016!

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Scarily it’s World Cup Round 8 already – the final one before the World Championships! We were in Presque Isle in Maine, USA for this one and the conditions were great for the first races that took place on Thursday.

The Men’s Sprint came first and was won by a refreshed Johannes Thingnes Boe.He skipped the last round in Canmore and flew out with big brother Tarjei for this one. That was a good decision! He won by over 27 seconds shooting clean. In second was Anton Shipulin who beat Martin Fourcade into third by only 1 second. However Anton shot clean and Martin missed a target. The Swiss team had a great race with a personal best for Serafin Weistner in fifth and teammate Benjamin Weger was sixth with by far his best result of the season. Thirteen may be unlucky for some but not Sean Doherty who got his career best result on the World Cup at home fresh from winning 3 medals at the World Junior Championships.

The Women’s race was up next and was won by Total Score leader Gabriela Soukalova which obviously means she extended her lead in the race for the Overall Title. She is a very popular biathlete but possibly not in Preque Isle as she beat home favourite Susan Dunklee into second place. The fans can’t be too upset though as that is Susan’s best ever result and she saved it for them. Third place went to Krystyna Guzik who is having a great time in North America taking 2 podiums in 2 weeks. Kaia Nicolaisen got a personal best in 9th as did Celia Aymonier in 11th.

Friday saw both the Pursuit race and again the men raced first. The weather conditions were much more difficult for this one with some wind and a lot of cold around -16. Martin Fourcade was again victorious beating Johannes Boe into second and Anton Shipulin remained in third. Fourcade missed 2 shots and the others missed three but the big difference was when they missed. Martin cleared the final shoot and the others didn’t which is so often how he wins. Erlend Bjoentegaard raced into 5th for a personal best. Estonia’s Kalev Ermits came from 19th to 11th to earn his career best result.

Other impressive Pursuit races were had by Tim Burke who went from 20th to 7th, Vladimir Iliev 21st to 8th, Alexander Polvarnitsyn 28th to 10th, Oleksander Zhyrnyi 31st to 16th, Dmytro Rusinov 49th to 33rd and Daniel Boehm 54th to 37th. It wasn’t a good race however for Arnd Peiffer who came off the tracks at a corner and hit a tree. He was taken to hospital with suspected concussion.

In the Women’s race, despite being critical of holding the round in Presque Isle, Gabriela Soukalova made it a double victory! Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who moved up from 5th and in third place was Marie Dorin Habert despite missing 5 targets. Mona Brorsson achieved a peronal best finishing in 17th as did Tatiana Akimova who was 19th.

Other women with good Pursuit results were Lisa Hauser who went from 28th to 12th, Franziska Preuss 36th to 14th, Ekaterina Shumilova 39th to 16th, Anais Chevalier 50th to 21st, Lisa Vittozzi 46th to 29th and Dunja Zdouc 52nd to 30th

Both the Men’s and Women’s Relays were held on Saturday. Originally the Women’s Relay was scheduled for Sunday but low temperatures below -20 degrees were forecast and the races cannot take place below that temperature. The Men’s race was full of excellent shooting. Norway were the winners using only 7 spares with Lars Helge Birkeland, Erlend Bjoentegaard and the Boe brothers. France were second using only 2 spares rounds but even with Desthieux and Beatrix shooting clean in legs 3 and 4 they couldn’t match the Norwegians. Third place went to Germany who used 11 spares to beat Russia for the final podium place by 6 seconds. The USA were 5th in their home race their best Relay result of the season.

The Women’s race started 2 hours after the Men and consequently finished in the dark! Maybe they should have pushed the schedule forward as the only light seemed to be a torch across the finish line! The winners of the race were the Czech Republic who even with a penalty loop crossed the beam of light first. The team of Eva Puskarcikova, Lucie Charvatova, Gabriela Soukalova and Veronika Vitkova will get a good confidence boost ahead of the World Championships. The race for the remaining podium places was really tight. In a Sprint finish Olena Pidhrushna of Ukraine lunged over the line 0.2 of a second ahead of Germany’s Karoline Horchler to grab second. Poland had to settle for fourth with Krystyna Guzik just half a second behind.

So that’s it for our journey to North America. Fourcade and Soukalova continue in yellow (as usual!!). It has been an enjoyable 2 weeks and Presque Isle did a good job of hosting and brought the cold that has been missing this winter as well as a penalty loop that goes around a building! Now everyone heads back to Europe for 2 weeks of recovery and preparation for the World Championships with the first race on the 3rd of March. Don’t miss it!

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WC4: Ruhpolding Review 2016: Part 1!

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So we found ourselves in Ruhpolding for round 4 of the World Cup. As you know there is not much snow around so the organisers in Oberhof were forced to cancel the races there. All of which means we have 8 races in 10 days just like a biathlon version of the Tour de Ski!

Coincidentally just like the Tour de Ski we had an all Norwegian podium in the first race in the men’s sprint. Johannes Boe managed to beat his brother Tarjei into second and teammate Emil Hegle Svensen into third. All three shot clear but Johannes just had enough ski speed to defeat the other two. Some might suggest that it was karma as earlier in the week Johannes chose his big brother as his favourite biathlete while Tarjei went for Dorothea Wierer! Sven Grossegger finished 5th, his personal best result, leading an Austrian charge with Eder, Landertinger and Julian Eberhard all making the Top 20.

In the Women’s race Franziska Hildebrand became the first woman this season to win 2 Sprint events by winning her home race. It was a bit surprising as the Top 3 all shot clear but Hildebrand skied a little faster than Gabi Soukalova in second and Kaisa Makarainen in third. However Soukalova was unlucky dropping a ski pole which cost her the chance of victory as she only finished 0.3 of a second behind Hildebrand.

The Men’s Pursuit raced promised to be a great one with Boe,Boe, Svendsen and Fourcade all starting one after the other battling for the victory. So of course Simon Eder won! In a dazzling display of shooting he claimed the third victory of his career. Shooting hampered the others although Fourcade still finished second with 2 misses and Michal Slesingr shot clean to complete the podium.

New Dad Evgeniy Garanichev came from 40th to finish 9th! Simon Fourcade or should we call him Mr. Pursuit this season came from 29th to 13th, teammate Antonin Guigonnat went from 51st to 31st and Alexander Os came from 45th to finish 32nd.

The Women’s race also promised excitement and didn’t disappoint even with Makarainen and Hildebrand bowing out quickly with misses. That left a race long head to head between Soukalova and Dahlmeier. In the end Dahlmeier won by 7 seconds and Dorothea Wierer took her chance to get on the podium in third. Paulina Fialkova made up 9 places to finish a personal best 6th.

Tiril Eckhoff came from 17th to 4th, Lisa Hauser went from 27th to 12th, Karin Oberhofer from 35th to 16th, Valj Semerenko from 41st to 17th, Lucie Charvatova from 42nd to 20th, Olga Abramova from 44th to 25th and Yan Zhang from 51st to 32nd.

The final races of this round were the Mass Starts. In the men’s race Martin Fourcade took victory over Ondrej Moravec in a battle of the new fathers! Despite Moravec being the only biathlete to shoot clean Fourcade was just too quick on the skis. In third was Tarjei Boe with an impressive last lap to deny Simon Fourcade, Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Arnd Pfeiffer who all had a chance at claiming the final podium position. Svendsen was in a good position coming into the final shoot alongside Fourcade but had a nightmare missing 3 shots – very un-Svendsen-like!

The women’s race was dominated by Laura Dahmeier. She shot clean to see off the challenge of Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 and finished 15 seconds down. The fight for third went right to the line- literally! In a photo finish Tiril Eckhoff beat Anais Bescond by a toe nail to get onto the podium. Japan’s Fuyuko Tachizaki (formerly Suzuki) shot clean in 10th to get her best ever result in an individual race.

So that’s it for Ruhpolding we now set off for…..Ruhpolding!! Round 5 involves a crazy schedule with the Men’s Individual on Wednesday and the Women’s on Thursday followed by the Men’s Relay on Friday, the 2 Mass Starts on Saturday and the Women’s Relay on Sunday!

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