Tag Archives: Maren Hammerschmidt

Oberhof 2017: The Sprints!

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Biathlon is back after the Christmas break and we find ourselves in Oberhof! Or do we? You might not recognise it because of all the snow but it is in fact Oberhof. After a few years struggling with no snow , you may remember last year’s World Cup was moved to Ruhpolding, now there is too much!

It meant a difficult race for the Men’s Sprint on Thursday afternoon with fresh snow on the tracks making them slower and changing wind and snow conditions throughout the race. Although it’s good for the fans as it throws up some different results.

After his near total domination before Christmas Martin Fourcade didn’t win! (Of course he chooses the race when he is in bib23 to do it but I won’t hold a grudge…..well just a small one!) Instead we saw Austria’s Julian Eberhard win the second race of his career. He is one of the fastest skiers in the field and if he hits the targets he always has the chance to win. It’s just that he doesn’t hit them that often! Today he did and with 9/10, just 1 miss in the prone, he won by almost 11 seconds. I have a theory that the wind makes his bullets hit when they normally miss so if it’s bad conditions put your money on Eberhard! 😉

Second place went to the Czech Republic’s Michal Slesingr who also missed just one target and in third place was Dominik Windisch from Italy also with 1 miss. Martin Fourcade finished in 8th after missing 3 shots in the standing shoot. He was beaten for the first time this season by rivals Simon Schempp in 6th and Emil Svendsen in 7th. It should make for a fun Pursuit on Saturday!

Two biathletes managed to shoot 10/10 in the tough conditions. Lukas Hofer who started in bib 70 cleared the targets to finish 4th just 0.1 of a second from 3rd place and South Korea’s Lee In-bok came 51st, his career best result.

There were more personal best World Cup results from the Czech Republic’s Adam Vaclavik in 17th, Germany’s Matthias Bischl in 22nd, Poland’s Grzegorz Guzik in 26th and Croatia’s Kresimir Crnkovic in 37th. It wasn’t a good race from Klemen Bauer however as a problem with his rifle meant he had to use the team’s spare and missed all 5 prone targets and 2 in the stand eventually finishing in 96th place.

The women were treated to much better conditions on Friday. The sun was out and the wind was calm which made for a lot of good shooting. Gabriela Koukalova started where she finished off in Nove Mesto by taking the win with 10/10. Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who missed 2 shots in the standing but must be skiing really fast to end up second. Third place went to Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 shot.

Laura Dahlmeier decided not to race today but should be back for the Mass Start on Sunday. Darya Domracheva made her long awaited comeback and finished 37th with 2 misses. Anais Chevalier continued her good form in 4th and the best German on the day was Maren Hammerschmidt in 5th.

Chardine Sloof who is now racing for Sweden got her personal best result with clean shooting in 10th. Poland’s Gwizdon and Guzik had good races on 8th and 11th places respectively and China’s Jialin Tang made it back into the points in 20th.

It sets up two very exciting Pursuit races tomorrow and who knows what the conditions will be like! I can’t wait!

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Pokljuka 2016: The Pursuits!

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Like idrijski žlikrofi, Slovenian potato dumplings, the Pursuit races in Pokljuka were stuffed full of tasty stuff! The men’s race was in the morning and the Martin Fourcade bus keeps on rolling. With no wins in Pokljuka for years two come along at once. I ran out of words to describe this man a long time ago but his mental strength is astonishing. I think he is one of the toughest sports people in the world when it come to the mental side of the sport. He takes risks and I think he isn’t afraid to lose. He pushes himself and his opponents to their limits but he is usually the one who comes out on top.

It was the same today. Anton Shipulin gave him a good run for his money and watching them shoot clean side by side was fantastic. However on the final shoot Shipulin missed a target and denied us a great finish but Fourcade was imperious today. Second place went to Emil Hegle Svendsen, remember him? It’s great to see him back up the front shooting 20/20 and holding off Shipulin who was third. It was a great display of shooting all round at the front.

Taking sixth place was Michael Roesch of Belguim who also shot clean. Lars Birkeland came from 32nd to finish 13th, Julian Eberhard went from 47th to 21st and Ondrej Moravec from 31st to 14th.

The women raced later in the day and Laura Dahlmeier made it a double victory when she beat Kaisa Makarainen by around 17 seconds. They both missed 2 targets but Dahlmeier is very strong at the moment and hard to beat. In third was the Czech biathlete Eva Puskarcikova who made the podium for the first time on the World Cup missing just 1 shot and beating Marie Dorin Habert in a close finish.

Dorin Habert had a good race also missing one to move up from 17th to 4th. Susan Dunklee took 5th from Lisa Hauser in 6th who is continuing her great early season form. Yuliia Dzhima went from 28th to 11th, Galina Vishnevskaya from 25th to 13th, Veronika Vitkova from 30th to 15th, Iryna Kryuko from 33rd to 18th, Maren Hammerschmidt from 41st to 24th, Anna Magnusson from 47th to 28th and Mari Laukkanen from 56th to 35th.

We were treated to two good races from the men and women in Pokljuka and as there are Relays tomorrow it means that Laura Dahlmeier leads the women’s overall by 69 points from Kaisa Makarainen and Martin Fourcade leads Johannes Boe by 95 points.

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Biathlete23: Season Review 2015/16

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For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 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.

In the first year the total for the men and the women was 802 and last year the total was 948. Excellent a bit of progress! Not this season however. Biathlete23 in 2015/16 had a bit of a “Tiril Eckhoff” season. Full of early promise, mostly disappointment but ending in surprising success!

That’s right Biathlete23 got off to a promising start in Oestersund with Quentin Fillon Maillet wearing 23 in the first race. He also shared a photo of his bib and rifle as he was so excited to be number 23! 😉 He was 4th and the other biathletes also did well meaning we left Sweden with 149 points.

In Hochfilzen Anton Shipulin also got 4th and 2 of the 3 others scored points to make a decent total of 85. Pokljuka wasn’t a great success with 48 points and a top result of 18th from Julian Eberhard.

World Cup 4 in Ruhpolding was better with Susan Dunklee getting a 6th place finish with the others making up 95 points. The second round in Ruhpolding yielded 70 points with another top finish of 6th this time from Evgeniy Garanichev. Antholz was a good round with Anais Bescond in 4th and a points total of 83.

Canmore wasn’t great for bib23 with only 51 points and a best finish of 22nd from Karin Oberhofer. In Presque Isle there was just one more point with 52 and a finish of 15th for Andi Birnbacher.

So biathlete23 went into the World Championships in Oslo with confidence pretty low and in the first 5 races only scored points in one race with Anton Babikov taking 21st place. This led to some pretty desperate action from the coach who decided to change the Twitter hashtag from #biathlete23 to #biathletevingttrois hoping to steal a little of the French success.

It was of course a masterstroke! The coach is a genius! Who got bib23 in the Men’s Individual –Martin Fourcade! I knew there was a very good chance of a medal and Fourcade didn’t let me down! Even though he missed one target he skied his heart out to make sure that biathlete23 would claim their first ever medal at a major Championships and that medal was GOLD!!! Let’s just say there was a lot of celebrating in the biathlete23 camp that evening! 😉

With that success and a few more good results afterwards the points total from Oslo was 113. So it was on to the final World Cup Round in Khanty Mansiysk . Unfortunately things went back to normal there and there was only 1 points scorer from the 4 races which was Alexey Slepov in 27th place!

So in the end the total points score was 760. The Men scored 436 points which would have put them in 18th place in the Total Score between Lowell Bailey and Michal Slesingr. The Women’s points total was 324 making them 25th in the Total Score between Selina Gasparin and Maren Hammerschmidt.

Overall it’s not been a great World Cup season for biathlete23. It’s the tricky third season on the World Cup that all biathletes suffer from! 😉 Fortunately a gold medal can save anyone’s season! Biathlete23 will have a nice holiday and then a hard summer of training to come back better next season! Hopefully we can beat the points total and get some wins on the board. We also have a new unofficial ambassador (unpaid position) Quentin Fillon Maillet to work with Brendan Green! Merci for the photo QFM!!!

For the full results see the biathlete23 page on this blog.

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World Champs 2016: The Relays!

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Friday at the World Championships was Women’s Relay day. It was a fantastic day! What a great race the women put on. It was exciting from start to finish.

The Norwegian team of Synnoeve Solemdal, Fanny Horn Birkeland, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu took the gold medal and sent the crowd wild. They also made sure those gold jackets made by the Norwegian Biathlon Team didn’t go to waste! It was such a good performance by the home team and a thoroughly deserved victory. These ladies haven’t had the easiest time over the last few years for various reasons and I was happy to see them pick up the gold.

It was far from simple for them however. In a close race Finland handed over at the first exchange in the the lead thanks to Kaisa Makarainien’s opening leg. At the second exchange Rosanna Crawford handed over in first place for Canada followed closely by many teams. The third leg would prove to be pretty decisive as Tiril Eckhoff shot clean again and handed over a 23 second lead to Olsbu. Unfortunately for Marte she was being chased by Laura Dahlmeier and Marie Dorin Habert!

Oslbu had to use 2 spare rounds in both her shoots and came out of the range for the final time just 5 seconds in front of Dorin Habert who had skied fast and shot clean in the stand to overtake Dahlmeier. In a heroic ski Olsbu held off the Frenchwoman and crossed the line to the acclaim of the crowd and her teammates.

Silver went to the French team of Justine Braisaz, Anais Bescond, Anais Chevalier and Dorin Habert. The German team of Franziska Preuss, Franziska Hildebrand, Maren Hammerschmidt and Laura Dahlmeier took the bronze.

In 4th were Poland, 5th Ukraine, 6th Czech Republic, 7th Italy, 8th Kazakhstan, 9th Slovenia, 10th Sweden, 11th Russia, 12th Austria, 13th USA, 14th Slovakia, 15th Canada, 16th Switzerland, 17th Finland, 18th Belarus, 19th Japan, 20th Bulgaria, 21st Romania, 22nd China, 23rd Korea.

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The Men’s race wasn’t as close as the Women’s but the results were very exciting! Ole Einar Bjoerndalen got his gold medal as part of the Norwegian team alongside Tarjei Boe, Johannes Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen. Emil also managed to vanquish the Relay from Sochi where he lost the gold medal and King Harald looked pleased with the Relay double.

The silver medal went to Germany with Erik Lesser, Benedikt Doll, Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp. The bronze medal went to Canada, that’s right I said Canada! In a quite magnificent display they took third place with Scott and Christian Gow, Nathan Smith and Brendan Green. I can’t overstate how amazing an achievement that is for the Canadian Team and very well deserved.

At the first exchange it looked like Germany were in control with a great leg from Erik Lesser. However Tarjei Boe on the second leg for Norway and his brother Johannes on the third left Svendsen with a comfortable lead of 30 seconds. All he had to do was shoot well and he did to secure gold. The Germans used 5 spares but couldn’t fight the Norwegians on the tracks. Christian Gow and Brendan Green shot clean in legs 1 and 4 and the team only used 5 spares in total.

The French and Russians were never really in the race and the penalty loop for Austria didn’t help their chances. They finished 4th with the Czech Republic in 5th, 6th Russia, 7th Sweden, 8th USA, 9th France, 10th Switzerland, 11th Italy, 12th Slovakia, 13th Bulgaria, 14th Estonia, 15th Belarus, 16th Ukraine, 17th Slovenia, 18th Romania, 19th Finland, 20th Kazakhstan, 21st Poland, 22nd Japan, 23rd Lithuania, 24th Belgium, 25th Latvia.

So the Relays are done and the locals go home happy with 2 gold medals. Tomorrow is the last day of these World Championships 😦 but they end with the Mass Starts 🙂

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WC5 Ruhpolding Review: Part2!

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Another round in Ruhpolding, another win for Martin Fourcade! Little had changed in the 2 days off between World Cups 4 and 5 except some strange white stuff falling from the sky which some reports claim is the elusive “snow” we have all been waiting for.

The Men’s Individual was on Wednesday and as already mention was the 42nd victory for Fourcade. He missed only one target but still managed to beat the likes of Ondrej Moravec and Maxim Tsvetkov who both shot clear. Depressingly for them their perfect shooting didn’t even earn them a podium. Those places went to Simon Eder in second and Anton Shipulin in third who both also missed one target. Seventh place went to Sweden’s Torstein Stenerson who produced his best ever result with a fantastic performance.

Luckily for shooting fans everywhere the Women’s Individual on Thursday was won by someone who shot clear! That honour went to Dorothea Wierer who has suddenly discovered that she is amazing at the Individual winning her second in a row after taking the first race back in Oestersund in round 1. Second went to Kaisa Makarainen with one miss and Gabriela Soukalova also missed one shot in third. Also shooting clean was Selina Gasparin who is looking back on good form after her season out to have a baby. Galina Vishnevskaya also impressed with her personal best in 15th.

On a snowy Friday we had the Men’s Relay. It was won comfortably in the end by Norway although they had some tough competition from the French in the early part of the race. By the final lap Emil Svendsen had a good lead thanks to some good work from Tarjei Boe on leg 3. Russia had another great race in second place using only 6 spare rounds in total and an impressive Austrian team were third despite completing a penalty loop. Simon Eder brought them back into contention with a fabulous leg and Dominik Landertinger was able to keep ahead of the French Team to secure the final podium place. Home team Germany were fifth after 3 penalty loops from the unfortunate Johannes Kuehn and the USA had a good relay finishing 6th using only 8 spare rounds.

On an even snowier Saturday we got the Mass Starts. The women went first and the conditions made it difficult on the shooting range and for skiing. Gabriela Soukalova won this one and is fast becoming a specialist at winning in tricky conditions. Her previous win this season came in windy Oestersund. Marie Dorin Habert was leading this race up until the final shoot when she missed 4 targets. Franziska Hildebrand missed one on her final shoot but Gabi took her time and hit 20/20 to win even though she looked really tired on her skis. Laura Dahlmeier took third to keep her excellent season on track. Kaisa Makarainen didn’t start the race.

Later in the day came the men’s race with similar weather to contend with. It was won surprisingly by Erik Lesser. He hasn’t had a great season so far and started in bib 30 as a reserve after other biathletes pulled out of the race. He shot the perfect 20/20 to beat Martin Fourcade into second. Third place went to Evgeniy Garanichev who has been showing some good form since the Christmas break. Lesser raced brilliantly doing his own race from the back and making sure he hit all his shots and didn’t get involved with anyone else. He seemed to save energy for the last loop too ensuring that Fourcade couldn’t catch him. Also impressive was Michal Krcmar who achieved his best ever finish on the World Cup coming home in 5th place after leaving the final shoot in 9th!

The final day in Ruhpolding saw the Women’s Relay and what great race it was! Ukraine and Belarus were leading until the third leg when Valj Semerenko earned a penalty loop on the prone shoot missing 1 target with 4 bullets. Poor Nadzeya Pisareva from Belarus had some sort of physical problem and almost stopped before making it to her handover. The German Team had 2 penalty loops from Miriam Goessner on the second leg but brilliant work from Maren Hammerschmidt and Laura Dahlmeier brought them right back into the fight for first. On the final shoot Dahlmeier caught up to Ukraine’s Olena Pidrushna and looked favourite to win. However experience paid off this time with Olena shooting clear to Laura’s 1 miss and in the final finishing straight Olena took the best line and stopped Laura’s sprint finish to take the win for her country. Italy just held on to third with Dorothea Wierer holding off the Russains on the final lap.

After an eternity in Ruhpolding we finally get to move on and set off for Antholz-Anterselva which has no problems with snow. Martin and Gabi continue in yellow and there is a Sprint and Pursuit in Italy as well as 2 more relays to look forward too. We will see how the increasingly tired and sick biathletes deal with the altitude in the South Tyrol!

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WC2: Hochfilzen 2015 Review!

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The weekend in Hochfilzen started with some biathletes voicing their concerns over climate change and it was a timely reminder that once again there is no snow in December! The races were held on limited tracks surrounded by grass and sunshine!

Still the races went ahead and first off were the Women in the Sprint. The race was dominated by the Germans which probably didn’t please their Austrian hosts very much! Franziska Hildebrand was fantastic getting her first ever win on the World Cup with some cool shooting on the range. In second was newcomer to the World Cup Maren Hammerschmidt. With a start bib of 106 she managed to push teammate Miriam Goessner into third. It’s really good to see Goessner looking back to her old self again. In fact overall the 6 Germans in the race all finished in the TOP 21. The Czech Republic’s Lucie Charvatova came 5th to get her personal best finish since changing to biathlon from cross country.

In the Men’s Sprint another German won and this time it was Simon Schempp recovering from a horrific Sprint race in Oestersund to stand on top of the podium. Second place went to Martin Fourcade with one miss denying him another victory. In third was Tarjei Boe who also looks back to his old form.

The Pursuits were held on Saturday and unsurprisingly a German won the Women’s race but this time it was a different one! Laura Dahlmeier was great on the shooting range and her third shoot is really what made the difference on the day. Maren Hammerschmidt held on to second place and in third was yellow bib wearer Gabriela Soukalova. It was a disappointing weekend for Kaisa Makarainen who was 28th in the Sprint and 23rd in the Pursuit.

For the men Martin Fourcade was outstanding on his final shoot hitting five targets so quickly that the others didn’t stand a chance, even if he tried his best to finish the race after 3 shoots! Schempp hung on for second and Anton Shipulin made his first visit of the season to the podium in third.

Other impressive displays in the Pursuit races came from Tiril Eckhoff who went from 30th to 5th, Weronika Nowakowska 41st to 26th, Teja Gregorin 44th to 27th, Elisabeth Hoegberg 59th to 17th, Benjamin Weger 40th to 24th, and Erik Lesser 43rd to 25th.

The Relays came on Sunday and provided some great racing. Both the Men’s and Women’s races were much more competitive than the Mixed Relay in Oestersund and more entertaining to watch. The Women went first and history was created as the Italian Team of Karin Oberhofer, Federica Sanfilippo, Lisa Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer won their first ever Relay. It was a close battle with the Germans in second but Wierer beat Franziska Preuss on the last leg by only 0.2 of a second. The Ukrainian Team were third with Olena Pidhrushna fighting off Poland, Belarus and France to take the last podium position.

The Men’s race was equally exciting as Russia took victory over Norway by 3.1 seconds. It all came down to the last lap were Anton Shipulin came from behind to beat Emil Hegle Svendsen. Martin Fourcade brought the French Team home in third. This meant that over the 2 Relays there were 6 different nationalities on the podiums which is great for the sport.

Now attention turns to Pokljuka for the final World Cup round before the Christmas break. Martin Fourcade and Gabriela Soukalova continue in the yellow bibs but there are more and more people determined to chase them down. A Sprint, Pursuit and the first Mass Start of the season await us in Slovenia!

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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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