Tag Archives: Marketa Davidova

Derek Zaplotinsky: The Interview!

Derek Zaplotinsky is a Canadian para biathlete and cross country skier. He races in the sitting category and recently competed at his first Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. He lives in the awesomely named Smoky Lake, Alberta (which is the second best name for a lake!). He was paralysed in a motocross accident in 2006 when another bike landed on him. He initially tried hand cycling but made the smart decision to change to biathlon.

You can follow Derek on Twitter: @Derek_zap
Or Instagram: Derek_zap

Why did you become a biathlete?

Growing up in a small rural town in Alberta, shooting was something we enjoyed as kids. First with the pellet guns and then big game hunting. In all honesty I started cross country skiing because I wanted to do biathlon. I thought biathlon would be a fairly easy sport to compete in, with my experience with guns, but was I mistaken. I learned quickly it’s a lot harder than it looks. Biathlon is a sport that motivates me, I want the accuracy and speed while dealing with the heart rate and breathing.

PyeongChang was your first Paralympic Games. How did you find the experience overall?

The experience was overwhelming, but enjoyable. You train and prepare for years, but nothing can describe the feeling being there. You are competing against the best athletes in the world and the intensity level is high. I was proud to be representing my country and hopefully I’ll have the chance to experience this again in 2022.

Were you happy with your performances in Korea?

In all honesty, I was bummed with my performance. I went into the Games feeling good with my skiing and shooting. In the Biathlon sprint and 15 km cross country I was pleased with the 9th place results and was looking forward to putting it all together for the rest of the races. When it came to the middle distance biathlon I felt my skiing was good but my shooting was not consistent. Prior to the sprint cross country race I came down with a sinus infection, which definitely ended up hurting my performance for the rest of the Games.

Are you looking forward to the World Championships in Prince George? What are your goals for that event?

Yes, I did the Canadian Winter Games there 4 years ago and had some great results so I’m hoping it’s my good luck track. Without the extensive travel and no time difference to adjust to I would like to have a podium finish.

Do you still do summer training on a chair nailed to a skateboard or have you upgraded your equipment? 😉

Ha, Ha , Ha, not anymore. Upgraded and now use roller skis, works much better for shooting and simulates the position.

What are your plans for summer training?

A busy summer – there was a camp in Bend in June, I just got back from 3 weeks at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. It was good to be back on the snow, it helped break up the summer training. We have a camp in Mammoth Lakes in September, and I will make the 5 hour trip to Canmore for biathlon training as often as I can. If not at a camp, I ski around home following a daily program designed by my coach, along with a weekly strength program.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths – I would have to say would be my determination, and my competitiveness.
Weaknesses – I over think things and like to consistently play around with my sit ski, looking for the perfect fit.

What are your hobbies away from cross country and biathlon?

Really there is not a great amount of time for extra activities, if time and the weather works in my favor I enjoy boating with friends and snowmobiling in the mountains after the end of the season.

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

Finsterau, Germany. I had my best results of my career there so I can not wait to go back.

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

Dorothea Wierer, with Emily Young a close second. She’s like the sister I never wanted.

Does your rifle have a name?

No name, we still aren’t close friends, but I’m working on that.

Describe yourself in three words.

Focused, determined and sarcastic.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Italy
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Marketa Davidova. Who doesn’t love unicorns?
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Sweden
Favourite shooting range: Canmore
Lucky bib number: Haven’t found it yet.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Brittany Hudak
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Mark Arendz
Best thing about being a biathlete: Travel

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2018 Summer World Championships!

Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet. That’s right I have used the theme tune from Sesame Street to describe conditions for the Summer World Championships in Nove Mesto! The first day of competition (Friday 24th August) saw the Mixed Relay events.

The first gold medal was actually awarded under darker skies and light rain and went to the home nation. The Czech Republic fielded a strong Junior team in the Mixed Relay of Tereza Vobornikova, Petra Sucha, Jakub Stvrtecky and Vitezslav Hornig. They needed 15 spares and did 1 penalty loop but won comfortably.

Poland were second with a team of Joanna Jakiela, Kamila Zuk, Wojciech Skorusa and Przemyslaw Pancerz who used 16 spares and had 5 penalty loops. Third place went to Slovenia with Polona Klemencic, Nika Vindisar, Anton Vidmar and Alex Cisar also with 16 spares and required 4 penalty loops.

Ukraine were 4th, Russia 5th and Kazakhstan 6th.

The Sesame Street weather was reserved for the Senior races with the sun coming out and the wind disappearing.

In the Senior Mixed Relay the Russian team of Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht, Margarita Vasileva, Nikita Porshnev and Yury Shopin triumphed. They used just 5 spares and won by over 51 seconds. The silver medal went to the Czech Republic’s team of Veronika Vikova, Marketa Davidova, Ondrej Moravec and Michal Krcmar. The home team needed 8 spares.

The bronze went to Poland and their team of Kinga Zbylut(formerly Mitoraj), Monica Hojnisz, Grzegorz Guzik and Lukasz Szcsurek using 9 spares.
Ukraine were 4th, Japan 5th and Austria 6th.

On Saturday we had all the Sprint races. The Junior Women were first up and Poland’s Kamila Zuk took the gold medal. Despite missing 2 targets she won by 41 seconds. The silver went to Marketa Davidova with 3 misses and Valeriia Vasnetcova was third also with 3 targets missed.

The Junior Men’s Sprint was a closer race with Jakub Stvrtecky taking gold by just 7 seconds. He missed 3 but was able to add to his relay gold from the previous day. Silver went to Viacheslav Maleev of Russia with 2 misses and another Czech made the podium in third with Vitezslav Hornig who also missed twice on the range.

The Women’s Sprint went to Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova who missed 1 shot to claim gold. The silver went to Poland’s Monika Hojnisz who was just 7.2 seconds behind but with 2 misses. The bronze went to Galina Vishnevskaya of Kazakhstan who shot clean but still finished 23 seconds off the lead.

The 6000 strong home crowd were treated to a clean sweep in the Men’s Sprint. Michal Krcmar won the gold with clean shooting. He just pipped Czech teammate Ondrej Moravec by 0.3 of a second! Moravec also shot clean and Tomas Krupcik took the bronze despite missing 1 shot.

Sunday was the final day of competition and we ended with the pursuits. The Junior Women started the day off and saw Valeriia Vasnetcova move from third to first! She missed four targets altogether and with Kamila Zuk missing 4 on just the first prone she left the door wide open. She missed 8 shots by the end but hung on for silver. The bronze went to Marketa Davidova who missed 5.

The Junior Men’s title went to Russian Viacheslav Maleev. He went from second to first with 2 misses. The Ukraine’s Bogdan Tsymbal moved from 7th to 2nd with 2 misses and Vitezslav Hornig maintained his third position in the Sprint to get another bronze medal.

The Women’s pursuit brought another gold for the home nation with Veronika Vitkova taking the win. She missed 2 shots to move from 4th to 1st. Paulina Fialkova dropped a place to finish 2nd with 4 misses and Galina Vishnevskaya stayed in third with 2 misses.

The final race put the icing on the cake for the Czech team. Ondrej Moravec took the pursuit gold with 1 miss. Michal Krcmar was matching him until the first standing shoot where he missed 2 and had to settle for silver. Artem Pryma of Ukraine moved from 7th to 3rd to grab bronze with 2 misses.

It was a great Summer World Championships for the host nation with the Czech Republic winning 13 medals, five of them gold. The Russians and the Poles both won 5 each. It proved a popular venue for these Championships with good attendances for a summer event. We will be back in Nove Mesto in December for the World Cup and the home team will be hoping for more success then.

This review was brought to you by the letter B and the number 23! 😉

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Wojciech Janik: The Interview!

Wojciech Janik is a Polish biathlete. The 18-year-old was born in Wałbrzych and has competed on the Junior World Cup, at the Junior European Championships and also at the Youth World Championships. His best result to date is a 7th place in Otepaa, Estonia in the Youth Individual race from last season’s World Championships. His older brother Mateusz is also a biathlete and they are now the first brothers to have both done a Biathlon23 Interview! 🙂

Follow Wojtek on Twitter: @wojtekjaniks
Like his Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wojtekbiathlon/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I think that the adventure with biathlon began mainly from the big sporting traditions that my family has.

You finished 7th in the Individual at the Youth World Championships. Can you tell me about the race? How did you feel at the end?

It was an amazing race for me, at the last shooting I missed the first shot which buried my dreams for a medal, but I came to the World Championships with the intention to enter the Top 10. At the finish when I saw the results I could not believe that so many were missing the medals, I gave everything on the track but it was not enough. I know that I still have to train a lot and return to the World Cup next year even stronger.

You competed on the Junior World Cup last season. Was it a good experience for you?

It was a very big and good experience for me because it was my debut in the international arena.

Your brother Mateusz is also a biathlete. Do you train together? Does he give you any advice?

We always train together when we’re at home between national assemblies. When I was little, Mateusz was my idol and I wanted to do everything that he did and thanks to him I became a biathlete. Mateusz so far has given me tips that I try to use in every situation.

How do you balance training and competing with your education and social life? Are there things you would like to do but can’t because of training?

I am a person who puts 100% into sports and nothing else matters to me. My family and friends understand it and support me in it.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strong point is definitely to endure a high training load. When it is really hard to train, I start to enjoy it and give it more. My weakness is the pressure which I sometimes do not handle as well as I could and I know I still have to work a lot on that.


What are your goals for this season?


My goal for this season, of course, is to compete for Youth World Championships medals, but my main goal is to get to the Olympic Games in 2022 in Beijing.

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

It is Ondrej Moravec. I am impressed with his running technique, his character as an athlete and of course his results.

Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, Strong, Hopeful

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Marketa Davidova
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Czech Republic
Favourite shooting range: Nové Město na Moravě
Lucky bib number: 23
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU/Junior Cup: Kuba štvrtecký
Best thing about being a biathlete: Satisfaction with sports results.

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Biathlon23 Awards 2017/18!!!

awards

Welcome to the 5th anniversary of the Biathlon23 awards! (imaginary fanfare!) I know, I am as surprised as you that it has lasted this long! This year we have a couple of special guests giving out awards. I couldn’t afford much so no Leo DiCaprio or Jennifer Lawrence. Instead we have the winner of the OLYMPICKS (my Olympic competition) and also the runner-up. Look out for their awards below. It could be the first and last time I let anyone else run amok on my blog! Their awards are all their own work! Mine are of course subject to the the same rigorous system used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree! 🙂

After the news that Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is retiring, these awards are dedicated to him for being such an amazing competitor and a fabulous servant to the greatest sport in the world. Thanks Ole, will will miss you!

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
At one point this was going to a para-biathlete which I was very excited about considering it was Scotland’s Scott Meenagh but then the Olympics happened! A certain lady became very, very, very popular after some good performances finishing 5th in two races. In fact she now has the most popular interview on my blog ever and by a very long way. She also got her first podium finishing second in the last race of the season. I hope all the attention is due to how good she is at biathlon and not how beautiful she is but that may be wishful thinking!

Winner: Paulina Fialkova

Strangest search on the blog:
I love people! I love them because they are strange! Here is a selection of some of the strangest searches on the blog this season! I get a lot about gossip, boyfriends/girlfriends of biathletes and people looking for nude pictures! Sorry wrong blog for all that but there is always some gold in between! For example:

“Paralympic biathlon, Brittany Hudak skiing in 2018, biathlon 2018 Paralympic Games”: YES! I will make you all love para-biathlon! ALL OF YOU!
“nationality of 2018 Olympic sprint skier Bolshanov”: That is f#####g cross-country! Get off my blog!
“dorothea wierer the blast”: I’ve got nothing!
“how to pronounce einar bjoerndalen’s name”: I believe it is ‘Ole’ like the Spanish!
“anton guigonnat, elisa vitozzi, samulson biathlon”: How they will be known from now on!
“klemen bauer nude”: I suspect it was Klemen himself searching for this!
“größe paulina fialkova”: She is neither big nor fat! 😉
“andre chisholm”: Canada’s wax tech Andrew just became all European and sexy sounding! 😉
“linstrum bistholon switzerland”: Makes perfect sense to me!

Winner:“french biathlete Anais Chevalier fires her rifle”: Well yes every couple of kilometeres in fact! It’s kind of what biathletes do! 😉

Best Facial Hair:
Some strong competition coming from the para-biathletes this season with Collin Cameron and Aaron Pike sporting some majestic full beards. The IBU had the usual suspects, last year’s champ Michael Roesch and Benjamin Weger. However this year there is only one choice. At the Olympics a mad Italian decided to dye his moustache in the colours of the Italian flag. I guess he really wanted this award!

Winner: Lukas Hofer

Best earrings:
Ladies you have been disappointing this year with the earring choices. None have inspired me much. In fact this season it’s not even a woman who will win this. It’s not even an earring! For some reason someone thought it would be a good idea to get their nose pierced. But not on the side, oh no, through the middle. Doing his best impression of a bull and risking getting it caught on something ripping his whole nose off, for bravery it has to go to the American!

Winner: Leif Nordgren

Best fall:
It turns out falls are better when you see them on TV and not in real life. The best one on TV this season was in the Oslo Men’s Sprint. It was the mighty who fell breaking a ski pole and you just know all the other biathletes were happy to see that even he makes mistakes! Well I was anyway. Admit it you were secretly pleased too! 😉 Of course he falls just as well as he skis and so got up and still made the podium!

Winner: Martin Fourcade

Best quote in a press conference/interview:
The question was “The teams ran 151 penalty loops and you shot 10/10 today, what was your secret?”
The answer was ” From now on I will shoot with closed eyes! Maybe it’s better, maybe it was the secret!”
I knew it! I knew that’s what most biathletes do! Now I have the proof!
Also watch for Lukas Hofer’s reaction to the question! 😉
You can watch it here from about 3:48.

Winner: Dominik Windisch

Best biathlon video:
There exists in the darkest corner of France, I believe it’s commonly known as the Savoie region, a collection of odd winter sports people who make crazy videos of a nordic nature. Their third installment of ‘One of Those Nordic Days’ is another madcap showcase of all things on snow. They seem to have strange obsession with minions and chainsaws but c’est la vie! Worryingly they seems to have included people who are not biathletes in it! Once they sort this out they will surely win an Oscar!
You can watch it here. (Look out for a certain Simon Fourcade as Rambo!)

Winner: Team Suitcase sorry I mean Valoche! 😉

Best rifle design:
Another disappointing rifle design season. I mean seriously people you have all summer to come up with a design and then choose one block colour or a wooden stock. YAWN! Two people did make the effort thankfully! Marketa Davidova went for pink with unicorns! Amazing! However it wasn’t quite enough to win. Taking inspiration from teammate Anton Shipulin’s dragon, this lady has a tiger carved into the front of her rifle! RAAR! (That’s meant to be a tiger by the way!)

Winner: Svetlana Mironova

Flower Gatherer of the season: (awarded by Nuno Magalhães, Portugal winner of the OLYMPICKS!)

Biathlon’s flower ceremony, which rewards the individuals placed between 4th and 6th in every World Cup event, is very unique to the sport and the spark for a particular cocktail of feelings, ranging from the satisfaction of a job well done to the pain of falling just short of the podium. It stands to reason then that, taken in the context of a whole season, claiming a litany of flower bouquets is both a reflection of consistency throughout the year and a fair bit of bad luck.

Thus, in order to identify the biathletes that fell most frequently into this grey area, I went back to the final standings of every non-relay WC race contested in 2017-18 and tallied the points for every male and female competitor, distributing 3-2-1 points for each fourth, fifth and sixth position.

Lisa Vittozzi (2 fourths, 2 fifths, 0 sixths (2-2-0), 10 pts) and Kaisa Makarainen (1-2-3, 10 pts) share the top spot for the women. On the men’s side, Benedikt Doll (3-0-0, 9 pts), Arnd Peiffer (1-1-5, 10 pts) and Emil Hegle Svendsen (3-1-0, 11 pts) put up a good fight, but the award ultimately belongs to a German with (3-2-1, 14 pts), who I hope will find some solace after a season that featured several near misses, no WC podiums for the first time since 2012-13, and that heart-breaking photo-finish defeat to Martin Fourcade in PyeongChang.
He might have to be nicknamed the florist from now on! 😉

Winner: Simon Schempp

Best ski suit:
Norway receives a special commendation for their suit. It’s always good. The Czech Republic I also like. Canada almost won this in an excellent comeback from the ‘Where’s Wally (Waldo)’ debacle! There was a lot of red, white and blue suits this season but one stood out for me above the rest. Paulina Fialkova told me it was her favourite and it’s mine too.

Winner: Slovakia

Worst ski suit:
Russia in maroon? Germany in green and yellow? Some strange colour choices this season. Belarus dressing like frogs for the Olympics! However one suit stood out (quite literally) from the rest and that was the bananas on skis. Strangely it grew on me over the season, kind of like mould on cheese, but not enough to avoid this award. I think it’s just the block yellow that does it. Throw a bit of blue in somewhere. Not even Zlatan would be seen head to toe in yellow!

Winner: Sweden

Best Biathlete23:
The easiest decision I have ever had to make for these awards! Turn up at the Olympics, win a gold medal in the first race. What a star! She couldn’t have done it without the bib though!

Winner: Laura Dahlmeier

Biggest Improver:
This goes to a biathlete who has always been good but this season looked like the real deal. Before this year she only had 1 podium finish to her name. This season she got three plus another three fourth place finishes. At the Olympics she was 4th in the Mass Start, 6th in the Sprint and 11th in the Pursuit. She won a bronze medal as part of the Mixed Relay team and her shooting has been exceptional. She moved from 27th to 6th in the Total Score and it’s just a matter of time before she wins her first race. I’m sure it won’t be long until she becomes Italy’s number one biathlete.

Winner: Lisa Vittozzi

Best Team Performance:
This one was pretty obvious to me. As a fan of biathlon I like biathletes who shoot well and I like to see them beat the teams who can ski faster than them. The conditions were exactly right for this at the Olympics with the weather levelling the playing field. The two biathletes who would normally be seen as weaker really shone and the team shot better than anyone else on the day in a victory for shooting over ski speed. Although it does help if you have Darya Domracheva on last leg for the skiing! 😉

Winner: Belarus Women’s Relay Team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
After finishing 7th in the Sprint and 5th in the Pursuit at the Olympics it wasn’t a surprise to see this person do well in the Individual. It was a surprise that she won it! One of just three women who shot the perfect 20/20 the 22-year-old turned in a faultless performance in the ultimate test of a biathlete. Actually there was one small fault, she was wearing bib 24!

Winner: Hanna Öberg

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
I know what you are thinking Martin Fourcade will win this! WRONG! It must be Kaisa then! WRONG again! They are always at the top either winning or very close to it. This season we saw a biathlete who despite having 2 Olympic gold medals was never that great on the World Cup. Previously she had won 5 World Cup races in her entire career and she now she has won 5 in one season. She has shown much better consistency just missing out on the Overall by 3 points but winning the Sprint and Pursuit titles. Oh and she won 3 medals at the Olympics, a gold and 2 silvers!

Winner: Anastasiya Kuzmina

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
There were so many amazing performances by the biathletes at the Paralympic Games that it’s almost impossible to choose a winner. There were many multiple medallists and some stunning performances. I am giving it to someone who got six medals in six races (even though 3 were in cross country I will overlook such treachery just this once). He won his first biathlon Paralympic title and also a silver and bronze in the two other biathlon races hitting 49 out of 50 targets. He added another silver and two bronze in the sport we don’t like to mention. Apart from that has done two biathlon23 interviews which also helps when it comes to winning awards! 😉

Winner: Mark Arendz

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
A difficult decision for this award as there are a lot of good Juniors around at the moment. The winner finished second in the Junior World Cup Overall but actually with the same points as the winner. She also won a gold medal in the Women’s Relay at the Junior World Championships as well as two bronze medals in the Sprint and Pursuit. She won a race on the World Cup in the Obertilliach Sprint and was third in the Mixed Relay there too. She grabbed another podium in Nove Mesto also coming third in the Sprint. At just 21 she looks like a great prospect for France and dare I say it, is already better than her big brother Aristide! 😉

Winner: Myrtille Begue

Youth Biathlete of the Year: (awarded by Jeff Mattarocci, USA runner-up in the Olympicks)

I’ll choose a member of the US Biathlon Team. She is an under 16 athlete, who regularly competes with the Youth ladies and can hold her own with them. She just came off a great US Biathlon Championships, where she won every race she entered, two as a youth and one as an under 16. The future looks good for the US ladies team! 🙂
We will have to keep an eye out for her!

Winner: Lexie Madigan

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Junior World Champs: Otepaa 2018!

Freezing! That was the exact temperature in Otepaa, Estonia for the first race in the Junior World Championships. After a bit of rescheduling the Relays were the first races on Tuesday.

The women’s 3x6km relay went to the French team of Camille Bened, Myrtille Begue and and Lou Jeanmonnot Laurent. The did 1 penalty loop but beat the Norwegian team to gold. Une Tronerod, Emilie Kalkenberg and Kjersti Dengerud incurred 2 penalty loops on their way to the silver medal. The bronze went to the Russian team of Polina Shevnina, Emma Timerbulatova and Valeriia Vasnetkova who also went around the penalty loop twice.

The men’s 4×7.5km relay was won by a strong Russian team of Said Khalili, Vasilii Tomshin, Viacheslav Maleev and Igor Malinovskii. They used just 9 spares beating Norway by 57 seconds. The team of Sivert Bakken, Johannes Dale, Endre Stroemsheim and Sturla Laegreid won silver despite 3 penalty loops. The bronze went to the French team of Hugo Rivail, Emilien Claude, Morgan Lamure and Martin Perrillat Bottonet who did 2 penalty loops.

The second race for the Juniors was the Individual. It was slightly warmer at -10 degrees!! There were also wind gusts in the range. The women’s race went to Poland with Kamila Zuk winning the gold medal. She won by a massive 3 minutes hitting 18/20. The silver medal went to Anna Kryvonos from the Ukraine also with 2 misses. The bronze medal went to Russia’s Irina Kazakevich who hit 17/20.

The men’s race was won by Igor Malinovskii who hit 17/20 and finished 19 seconds ahead of Norway’s Sturla Laegreid who had the same shooting score. The bronze medal also went to Russia with Said Khalili hitting 18/20.

The Sprint races were held on Saturday and Kamila Zuk made it a golden double for herself and Poland. She hit 9/10 and won the race by 26 seconds. The silver medal went to Marketa Davidova from the Czech Republic with 8/10 hits and the bronze went to France with Myrtille Begue who hit the perfect 10/10.

The men’s race was won by Russia but this time it was Vasilii Tomshin who took gold hitting 10/10 to take a 20 second lead into the Pursuit. The silver medal went to Frenchman Martin Perrillat Bottonet who missed 1 target and Norway’s Sverre Aspenes grabbed the bronze despite missing 2 targets.

The pursuits were held on Sunday and this time Marketa Davidova took the gold medal. She hit 16/20 but it was enough to pass Kamila Zuk who had to settle for silver this time with 6 misses. Myrtille Begue missed 3 shots but maintained her third place finish to take another bronze medal.

In the men’s race Sverre Aspenes moved up from third to take the gold medal hitting the perfect 20/20. Martin Perrillat Bottonet stayed in second to get another silver medal hitting 19/20. The bronze also went to Norway with Johannes Dale moving from 5th to 3rd despite missing 4 targets.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Sprint!

The 23rd Winter Olympics finally got underway in PyeongChang today with the Women’s Sprint. The conditions were tough with cold temperatures and an ever changing wind. It was a hard day at the office for the ladies.

Lucky for a Miss L. Dahlmeier not only is she an amazing biathlete but had the fortune to be wearing bib23. That could only mean one thing- her first ever Olympic gold medal!!!

What a race from the German! She was the only one of the favourites to hold her nerve in the shooting range hitting 10/10 and skiing to victory by 24 seconds. She cleaned the prone without too much difficulty but on the stand she waited on shot four to make sure it went down. Amazing mental toughness!

The other big names couldn’t do the same with Domracheva missing 2 and Kuzmina and Makarainen both missing 3. That left two podium spots available and it was Marte Olsbu who swooped to win silver. The Norwegian surprised everyone by getting her best ever result here. She missed just 1 shot on the prone and skied strongly to grab a medal. The bronze went to Veronika Vitkova who also missed 1 but this time in the stand.

Marie Dorin Habert was back on form in 4th, Vanessa Hinz was 5th and Lisa Vittozzi 6th.

Two other women shot clean the Russian (you can call her an OAR if you want!) Tatiana Akimova and Austria’s Dunja Zdouc.

Achieving your personal best at an Olympics is quite an amazing thing to do so well done to not only Olsbu but also Irene Cadurisch in 8th, Marketa Davidova in 15th, Johanna Taliherm in 22nd and Emily Dreissigacker in 51st.

The Pursuit is next for the women on Monday. Dahlmeier has a good lead but anything can happen in biathlon!!!

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Ruhpolding 2017: The Sprints!

ruh17ws

Just like a Bavarian grandmother preparing Dampfnudel for pudding, the outcome of the Men’s Sprint was entirely predictable. Martin Fourcade dominated the entire race and shot 10/10 to lead the field by 18 seconds in his 200th race. In fact he now has 101 podiums in those 200 races which is incredible!

Considering he beat Julian Eberhard by those 18 seconds shows that it’s getting a bit ridiculous how good he is. Eberhard is one of the fastest skiers around and even shooting 10/10 himself in tricky wind conditions he couldn’t get near Fourcade. It’s quite depressing for the other biathletes I imagine and to be honest it’s not that entertaining to watch. None of which is Fourcade’s fault of course, that is just the way it’s going at the moment.

Third place went to a resurgent Emil Hegle Svendsen but even he was nearly 40 seconds off Fourcade’s time. The home team’s best results came from Arnd Peiffer in 4th and Simon Schempp in 5th. Schempp missed a target in the standing shoot which probably cost him a podium position. Another German Matthias Bischl continued his excellent form from Oberhof by getting another personal best result here of 16th.

It seems it’s not just Svendsen who is in good form for the Norwegians with Ole Einar Bjoerndalen in 8th and Lars Helge Birkeland in 10th. Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko got his best result of the season by far in 6th and Ukraine’s Dmytro Pidruchnyi also did well finishing 7th.

Klemen Bauer grabbed another Top 20 finish in 14th and his teammate Jakov Fak made his long awaited start to the season finishing in 56th and scraping into the Pursuit on Sunday. Johannes Boe returned from illness to finish 37th and the USA’s Sean Doherty got back in the points in 40th after also coming back from ill health.

The Women’s Sprint was also a little predictable if you watched the first leg of the relay on Thursday. The light snow meant that conditions were a little heavy for skiing but it didn’t stop Kaisa Makarainen who won her first race of the season shooting 10/10 and winning by 22 seconds. It was very similar to her relay leg when she put Finland in the lead and we all know if Kaisa shoots clean she is very difficult to beat. Second place went to Gabriela Koukalova who also shot clean but wasn’t fast enough today to challenge for the win. The same goes for Laura Dahlmeier who shot clean in third but was 30 seconds behind Makarainen.

Marie Dorin Habert was 4th meaning the Top 4 in the Total Score were the Top 4 in the race. She missed a target but still beat Dorothea Wierer, who didn’t, into 5th. Hanna Oeberg continues to impress improving her personal best to 7th in this race and Darya Domracheva finished 13th, her best result since her return. The Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova was 28th which is her personal best so far. Another biathlete racing for the first time this season was Valj Semerenko who was 30th with 2 misses.

Both Pursuit races are tomorrow but there are some big time gaps separating the top biathletes in both the men’s and women’s races. Hopefully they can be made up and we will see some exciting races on the final day in Ruhpolding.

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