Tag Archives: Mario Dolder

Season Review 2019/20: The Men!

Since when did the men’s overall title go down to the last race and be decided by 2 points! Never! (Well maybe it has but I am too lazy to actually check!) Normally it’s the women who take the total score right down to the wire but this season thanks to baby Boe it was the men who gave us the closest of finishes!

Little did we know back in December that this would be Martin Fourcade’s final season. Well maybe he didn’t either but guess what I haven’t checked! 😉 That made the battle between the Frenchman and Johannes Thingnes Boe even more special as it would be the last.

It looked like it would be another convincing win for Boe in the overall at the start of the season. Honours were even in Oestersund with Boe taking the sprint and Fourcade winning the individual but then Boe won 4 of the 5 next races with Fourcade not making the podium in any.

However after Christmas Boe took parental leave for the birth of his son Gustav (biathlon overall title winner 2043) and then Fourcade came alive. Without Boe racing he won all 4 events in Germany! The psychological effect on Fouracde was marked as with no Johannes he became the best again and showed it.

In Pokljuka Boe returned and won the individual beating Fourcade into second place and taking the mental advantage back.

After a win each at World Champs it was on to Nove Mesto where Boe won both races to close the gap in the total score. Then came Kontiolahti and the news that it would be final round of the World Cup and the final two races would determine the champion.

Boe won the sprint ahead of Fourcade which meant it would all come down to the pursuit. If Fourcade could win then Boe had to finish at least 4th to take the title. That’s exactly what happened. Boe was nervous and it showed in his shooting. Basically if he had missed just one shot in the final standing Fourcade would have been an 8-time world cup winner but somehow he hit all five and made it home in 4th place to take the big crystal globe by just 2 points! It was un-boe-lieveable! That makes it two in a row for the super talented Norwegian.

I am sure Fourcade would have loved to go out on the ultimate high of winning the overall but it was not to be! He did win the race which was a fitting end to a truly outstanding career. He won his first race in the Kontiolathi pursuit and his last both on the 14th of March!

He will be sorely missed on the World Cup next year but he has handed the French baton over to Emilien Jaquelin! It was a remarkable season for the 24-year-old. He won his first ever race which just happened to be at the World Championships in Antholz! He took gold in the pursuit and then went on to win gold in the men’s relay, bronze in the single mixed and bronze again in the mass start! He would also go on to collect the pursuit crystal globe after topping the standings in that event and finished 5th in the total score.

Martin Fourcade took home two small globes this season winning the sprint title and the individual. Johannes Boe was the winner of the mass start title.

Apart from Jacquelin there were no other first time winners on the men’s world cup but we had a couple of first time podiums. Matvey Eliseev was third in the Oestersund sprint and Fabien Claude was third in the Pokljuka individual. Maybe without Fourcade there will be more space on the podium steps for some new faces next season.

New faces like rookie of the season Nikita Porshnev. In Annecy he got his first top 20 finish coming 18th in the mass start and at World Championships he was 21st in the sprint but then set an new personal best in the individual of 11th.

Speaking of World Championships the men decided to share out the medals this year. Each race was won by a different biathlete which is unusual on the men’s side. Alexander Loginov won the sprint, Jacquelin took the pursuit, Fourcade the individual and Johannes Boe the mass start!

Relays

The men’s relay was a big fight between Norway and France all season long! Norway dominated the early exchanges winning the first three races of the season. France took the win in the fourth race in Ruhpolding and more importantly won at World Champs. It was their first relay win in 19 years and completed Fourcade’s collection of medals! Norway won the final race in Nove Mesto and they won the men’s relay world cup title.

The mixed relay was a bit more competitive across the teams with Italy winning the opening race in Oestersund, France on top in Pokljuka and Norway taking gold in Antholz.

Retirements

Sadly this season there were more retirements than just Martin Fourcade. Michal Slesingr decided to end his career at his home World Cup in Nove Mesto. It was such a shame that there was no crowd there to send him off but he will be remembered as trail blazer for Czech biathlon of course as a fantastic biathlete. Also hanging up his rifle is Mario Dolder. His best finish came in 2017 when he was 6th in the Oestersund sprint and he was a great servant to the Swiss team. As a biathlon23 interviewee he will obviously be missed more than the other two! 😉

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Johannes Kühn: The Interview!

Johannes Kühn is a German biathlete. He was born in Passau on the 19th of November 1991. His Junior career was pretty successful winning 4 gold medals and 2 silver. Last year was his best so far on the World Cup finishing 28th in the Total Score and achieving a personal best finish of 5th. He also qualified and competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Like his Facebook Page: Johannes Kühn – Biathlon https://www.facebook.com/johannes.kuhn.37/

Why did you become a biathlete?

When I was young I played soccer and started with cross-country skiing.
One year later I switched from cross-country to biathlon and stayed there. 😉 I played soccer for several years but I was never that good. 😉


You got your career best result of 5th in the Antholz Mass Start. What are your memories from that race and how did you feel at the end?

I was happy after the race, for sure. 🙂 It was the last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games, that made it even more special!
I remember very well the last lap with Benni (Doll) and great emotions at the finish!

Last year was your first full season racing on the World Cup and your results improved a lot. What made the difference last season?

It was also my first season after my last injury so I did not know what to expect from the season. I think I had a good start and my shooting was most of the time better than the previous years.

You also qualified for the Olympics for the first time. What was that experience like?

The experience was great there, the team was very successful and I could start in a race. That was great, on the other side compared to World Cup races the atmosphere was not that good in the stadium.

What is it like having Andi Stitzl at the side of the tracks when you are racing? Can you even understand what he is saying when he is shouting and running at the same time? 😉

It is motivating most of the time. 😉 If you feel bad and he tells you the start was too slow… then it is not good. 😀
Yes usually it is good to understand, just at some certain places like Birxstieg it is hard to understand someone.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan up until December?

We have been on some camps, including one cycling camp which I have never done before, but it was nice in the south of France.
Then we had the German Championships and now the final preparation towards the winter is on. Soon we will go to Sjusjoen for our last camp before the races.

What are your goals for this season?

My goal is to ski like last year and improve my shooting.

Do you have any hobbies away from biathlon?

Soccer, Mountain Bike, Cinema.

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

My favourite track is Obertilliach, I like the atmosphere, the people and the village there.

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

Mh… I think Raphael Poiree or Emil Hegle Svendsen because I like their style of skiing.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Tall, funny, realistic.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): The blue Italian suit.
Favourite shooting range: Osrblie
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Benni Doll
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Mario Dolder because of Bankso 2013.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Doing what you love and travelling around the world.

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Spring Things 2018!

Spring was depressing, wasn’t it! It started off with the raid at IBU HQ in Salzburg. The President of the IBU Anders Besseburg and the General Secretary Nicole Resch are both under investigation by the Austrian police for covering up positive doping samples from Russian biathletes. At the time of writing no charges have been brought against either party but both stepped down from their positions while the investigation is on going. Both deny any wrong doing.

Then we had all the retirements to deal with! The legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finally called it a day although I think he made the decision at rifle point as he seemed a bit reluctant to retire! We won’t get rid off him though, he will be coaching or commentating next season I am sure. 🙂

It was not a surprise when his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen also gave up the sport. He made no secret of the fact that he would go after the Olympics. I know what you are thinking – whose hair will I admire now? Well I take a keen interest in Sebastian Samuelsson’s coiffure but actually I have found someone with even better hair than Emil! Step forward German para- biathlete Steffen Lehmker! 🙂

Jean Guillaume Beatrix has gone too. Very sad to see a biathlon23 interviewee finish their career mainly because it is not allowed! Americans Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey also hung up their rifles along with Russell Currier leaving a lot of space to fill on the men’s team. Jaroslav Soukup and Daniel Mesotitsch retired too. Florian Graf quit and in a bit of a shock so did Canada’s Macx Davies! No!

On the women’s side we said goodbye to a lot of mums! Marie Dorin Habert, Karin Oberhofer and Weronika Nowakowska all stopped racing. All three women have young children so that may have come into their decisions. Then at the end of June Darya Domracheva decided that she would also retire wanting to focus on her child too. This followed the announcement from Nadezhda Skardino at the start of June that she was ending her career thus decimating the Belarus Olympic gold medal Relay team!

Eva Tofalvi, Hilde Fenne, Coline Varcin and Olga Podchufarova also gave up biathlon. And we lost another biathlon23 interviewee in Julia Ransom. 😦

Miriam Goessner has changed sports to go to cross country skiing. Her back problems meant she had trouble carrying the rifle and her aim meant she had trouble hitting the targets! 😉 Good luck Miri!

Gabriela Koukalova will not race again this season and possibly not ever again. She seems to have fallen out of love with biathlon! How could she?!! She also has an autobiography out which has already caused a bit of controversy. Think the fame may have gone to her head a bit! 😉

In other news Mario Dolder got married and Selina Gasparin is pregnant with her second child in exciting times for the Swiss. Not with each other though just to be clear!

Jakov Fak got married too and Ondrej Moravec had a little boy called Ondrej. Again not with each other!

Nadezhda Pisareva also married Russian ski technician Andrey Shatokin. Johannes Boe will be married on the 30th of June and Marte Olsbu and Mari Laukkanen will also get married this summer. You guessed it – not to each other! 😉

My postman assures me that he didn’t lose my wedding invitations so I have no idea what has happened to them!!!

In less exciting news Simon Schempp broke his shoulder in a bike accident and Dzinara Alimbakava had surgery on her shoulder. Florent Claude had a operation for compartment syndrome in his shins and Anton Shipulin has mononucleosis.

Finally we had the coaching merry-go-round! I don’t think so many changes have been made in the Spring before! Take a deep breath, possibly grab a snack and a drink – follow this if you can!

USA:
The Americans lost both their coaches this Spring. The women’s coach Jonne Kähkönen went back to the Finnish women’s team and the men’s coach Jonas Johansson went back to Sweden as Development Coach. They were replaced by Michael Greis (Men) and Armin Auchentaller (Women). They now have Tim Burke as athlete development manager. He didn’t stay away for long, did he!!!

France:
The French team made big changes with the appointments of Vincent Vittoz, a former cross-country skier, and Patrick Favre from the Italian team taking over as the men’s coaches. Coaching the French women will be Fredric Jean and Vincent Porret.

Norway:
The coaches for the women’s team have changed. Patrick Oberegger moves from the Italian team and ex-cross country skier Sverre Kaas will take care of the skiing.

Germany:
Germany have gone for youth with their new coaches all in their 30’s. Mark Kirchner is now head of the German men and women with Gerald Honig as German national shooting coach. Kristian Mehringer is the Senior Women’s coach with Florian Steirer as his assistant. Isidor Scheurl is the new men’s assistant coach.

Poland:
Nadija Belova is the new Polish women’s head coach taking over from Tobias Torgersen.

Italy:
Andreas Zingerle is the new World Cup and Elite Team coach. He will be assisted by Andrea Zattoni while Klaus Hoellrigl and Nicola Pozzi will coach the A team. Olympic gold medallist in shooting without skiing (apparently that’s a thing!) Niccolò Campriani will be shooting coach for all the Italian biathletes.

Russia:

New RBU president Vladimir Drachev has appointed Anatoly Khovantsev as the new head coach. He will take the men’s team with Sergei Idinov assisting him. Vitaly Noritsyn is the women’s coach with assistant Sergei Bashkirov.

Czech Republic:
Norwegian Egil Gjelland is the new coach of the women’s team. The former coach of Norway’s men will be joined by Jiří Holubec and Tomáš Kašpar. Zdeněk Vitek moves from the women’s team to coach the men with another Norwegian Anders Bratli assisting him as well as Aleš Ligaun.

Austria:
The Austrian men’s team will be coached by Ricco Gross after he left his job with the Russian men’s team.

Ukraine:
Andrei Prokunin will take over as the new Women’s Coach for Ukraine. Uros Velepec will most likely return to coach Slovenia.

Switzerland:
The new women’s head coach is Austrian Sandra Flunger who happens to be Simon Eder’s cousin!

If you have made it this far I congratulate you and encourage you to consider climbing Everest – it’s a similar feat! 😉

I imagine I have forgotten some retirements, events or coaching changes but there is a lot going on!


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Oestersund 2017: The Pursuits!

Well, well, well Denise Herrmann proved everyone wrong didn’t she! The general consensus was that she would not repeat her Sprint victory in the Pursuit as she has the least experience in the field and has never led the race before.

WRONG! She produced a great race to take her second victory in a row and really worry the other women! Hopefully not too many other cross country skiers will follow her move as if you don’t choose biathlon as your first sport it is very suspicious! 😉

The first two prone shoots were pretty straightforward for Herrmann hitting 10/10. It was in the first stand that she had a wobble! She missed two and that allowed Justine Braisaz to catch up to her. Both cleaned the second stand and left the range together but then Herrmann just skied off into the distance winning by 25 seconds and leaving poor Justine to miss out on the win again. She shot 20/20 and will take the yellow bib to Hochfilzen after having a great week here in Sweden.

Third place went to Marte Olsbu who moved from 7th to the final podium spot with 2 missed targets. She passed Lisa Vittozzi who had just one miss and came home 4th. Maren Hammerschmidt went from 12th to 5th.

Nadezhda Skardino was 6th hitting 20/20 making it 50/50 for the individual races which is ridiculously impressive! Olena Pidhrushna went from 28th to 9th, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht moved from 27th to 11th and Iryna Kryuko went from 53rd to 22nd. It was a bad day for Yuliia Dzhima who went from third down to 21st missing 5 targets.

Normal service was resumed in the men’s race with Martin Fourcade winning his 64th World Cup race. He managed to defeat the double assault from the Boe brothers this time! The top 3 from the Sprint, Fourcade, Tarjei Boe and Lesser got to the first prone together but then Lesser missed 4 and his chance was gone. Boe and Fourcade missed 1 which left Svendsen and Dolder in the lead ahead of Andrejs Rastorgujevs.

At the second prone Boe and Fourcade shot clean and retook the lead. The first standing shoot would decide the winner as Fourcade hit all five and Boe missed 3. Behind Fourcade the battle was on for second and third. Jakov Fak and Quentin Fillon Maillet cleaned the first stand while others missed and they both missed 1 in the final shoot leaving a ski race to decide the positions. Fak managed to get away from Fillon Maillet in the last section of the track and took his first podium since 2015. Last year was ruined for Fak through illness so it was great to see him back at the top.

Svendsen just pipped home favourite Freddie Lindstrom for 4th and Lars Helge Birkeland came from 29th to finish 6th. Another Norwegian Henrik L’Abee Lund moved from 41st to 12th, Ondrej Moravec went from 44th to 22nd and Evgeniy Garanichev moved from 55th to 29th.

That concludes the action from Oestersund and now we move swiftly to Hochfilzen for a Sprint, Pursuit and the Relays. The yellow bibs are in the hands of the French with Justine Braisaz and Martin Fourcade leading the Total Scores.

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Oestersund 2017: The Sprints!

Another race, another new winner on the Women’s World Cup!

Well we knew it was just a matter of time before the Herrmannator started picking of the other biathletes! That’s right Germany’s Denise Herrmann in only her second season as a biathlete has won her first World Cup race.

You could see it coming a mile away in the Sprint. She is super fast on skis after ‘crossing’ over from cross country skiing and was always going to win the short distance race if she could shoot clean or miss just one target. Today she missed one in Oestersund and ran away with the victory. She won a Sprint race over on IBU Cup 1 in Sjusjoen and she did it again in Sweden with a margin of 15.2 seconds over her rivals.

Those rivals shot clean which shows her superiority on the skis. Justine Braisaz was second with 10/10 and Yuliia Dzhima took her second podium in 2 races finishing third. Fourth place went to Synnøve Solemdal who will now wear the yellow bib in the Pursuit. What a turn around in her fortunes! She also shot clean as did Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi in 5th. Kaisa Makarainen missed 1 target and was 6th.

The Semerenko twins finished 21st and 22nd both shooting 9/10 but Vita was 0.5 of a second faster than Valj. I wonder if she was the twin that was born first!! 😉

We had to wander right back to 50th place to find a personal best and that went to Russian youngster Svetlana Mironova. Slovenia’s Ukska Poje was 57th matching her PB from the Oestersund Individual. At least she is consistent! Canada’s Megan Bankes also got a best World Cup finish in 60th and made the Pursuit on Sunday.

In the men’s race on Saturday it was just like having a new winner as Tarjei Boe took his first win since 2013! Illness has ruined the last few seasons for him and it was fantastic to see him back on the top step of the podium. It wasn’t easy for him though as he had to ski I think beyond his limit to win this one.

Martin Fourcade had 1 miss and set the pace and didn’t look like he could be beaten. Tarjei in bib 94 also missed 1 target but he managed to win by just 0.7 of a second. Erik Lesser completed the podium in third 3 seconds back from Fourcade.

Fourth place went to Emil Hegle Svendsen also with 9/10. Simon Schempp was fifth with 1 miss and Mario Dolder of Switzerland got his best ever World Cup finish in 6th with a clean shoot.

Germany’s Johannes Kuehn got his career best result in 9th. Canada’s Scott Gow improved his PB by 1 place finishing 16th and Estonia’s Rene Zahkna equalled his best in 34th. Emilien Jacquelin of France again finished in the points in 37th in his second ever World Cup start.

On Sunday both Pursuits take place and they are shaping up to be great races! Don’t miss them!

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Hochfilzen 2017: The Men’s Sprint!

h17ms

On Saturday it was the turn of the men to tackle the World Championships Sprint in Hochfilzen. The outcome of this one was a little more surprising than the women’s race yesterday.

It was won by Germany’s Benedikt Doll. His form this season has been great on skis but not that good on the shooting range but today he put them both together perfectly to win the race. He started late in bib 82 but he shot clean and so took the lead away from Martin Fourcade by 23 seconds.

He had an anxious wait however as Johannes Boe in bib 96 also shot clean and in the end he missed out on the gold medal by just 0.7 of a second giving Doll his first ever win! What a time to do it in the World Championships. I am not saying the interview he did for my blog helped ….actually yes I am WELL DONE BENNI! 🙂

Martin Fourcade kept third place to win the bronze medal despite missing 2 targets. Fourth place went to Lowell Bailey who had a fantastic race shooting 10/10 and missed bronze by 6 seconds. 5th went to Ondrej Moravec who seems to be back on good form with only 1 miss. Bulgaria’s Krasimir Anev shot clean in 6th, 7th went to home favourite Julian Eberhard with 2 shots missed. The legend OEB missed 1 to finish 8th – how does he do it! 9th went to Simon Schempp and 10th to Evgeniy Garanichev both shooting 9/10.

We also got some personal bests today from Bulgarian Anton Sinapov in 11th, Switzerland’s Mario Dolder in 15th and Romania’s Remus Faur in 23rd.

Unfortunately Emil Hegle Svendsen needed some medical attention after he crossed the finish line in 36th place but hopefully he will be OK to race the Pursuit on Sunday.

On a happier note Martin Fourcade and Anton Shipulin shook hands after the race so divorce proceedings in the biathlon family have been cancelled ….for now!

There is less than 1 minute between the Top 14 tomorrow so the Pursuit should be a great one to watch. The time has changed a little from 14:45 (CET) to 15:00 (CET) so don’t miss it.

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Pokljuka 2016: The Sprints!

p16ws

Like a Slovenian grandmother cooking kranjska klobasa (which I am reliably informed is a delicious Slovenian sausage!), the beginning of World Cup 2 in Pokljuka got off to a sizzling start! The men got us underway this week with the Sprint race and once again Martin Fourcade was the winner. However it was his first ever victory in Pokljuka. After all his success it’s nice that he can still do something he has never done before.

Second place went to Johannnes Thingnes Boe who was 13.7 seconds behind Fourcade although if he had paced his race better he could have potentially won. It looked like he went out too fast and came home too slow when Fourcade did the oppostite. Third went to Anton Shipulin his best result this season.

The shooting was excellent with the Top 9 shooting clean. Michal Krcmar had another great race in 9th and Matvey Eliseev was impressive in 10th. Home favourite Klemen Bauer shot clean in 12th to get his best result in a while. Switzerland had two biathletes in the Top 30, Wiestner and Dolder and France had five. The Gow brothers from Canada both scored points and Samuelsson of Sweden got another Top 30 in his second World Cup. Matthias Dorfer got 37th and scored points in his first World Cup.

The women’s race came later in the afternoon and the dastardly Laura Dahlmeier ruined my day and that of Justine Braisaz by beating her by 3.5 seconds. It would have been Braisaz’s first win and also a win for bib23 which represents this blog! Third place went to Marte Olsbu who has made an amazing recovery after having her appendix out just before the start of the season. Maybe she skis faster without it!

Sixth place went to Anastasiya Kuzmina on her first race back and there were impressive performances from Eva Puskarcikova in 8th, Celia Aymonier in 9th and Miriam Goessner in 10th. Another German Denise Hermann was 18th in her first ever World Cup race after moving from cross-country to biathlon, sensible woman!

Well that was a fun way to start off the World Cup in Pokljuka and hopefully the Pursuits tomorrow will be as tasty as some potica! (Slovenian dessert!)


Big thank you to Biathlon Pokljuka for providing the culinary highlights!

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