Tag Archives: Megan Bankes

Joanne Reid: The Interview!

Joanne Reid is an American biathlete who was born in Madison, Wisconsin on the 28th June 1992. Last season she achieved her career best result finishing 10th in the Mass Start in Oestersund and finished 49th on the Overall World Cup. She started biathlon in 2015 and represented the USA at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018. She is the third Olympian in her family following her mother and uncle who were speed skaters. At university she studied applied mathematics and engineering.

Follow Joanne on Instagram for comedy ramblings and maths!

Why did you become a biathlete?

My grandfather was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s (dementia) and as such his biathlon rifle passed to me, the only competitive nordic skier in the family. I had the means then, and the ability to do the skiing part, though I had never fired a rifle before. They told me I wouldn’t have any bad shooting habits, however, so I wouldn’t have to unlearn, just learn. I actually used his rifle my first season on the World Cup.

Your career best result came in Oestersund last season when you finished 10th in the mass start. What do you remember about that race?

Susan screaming her face off at me to hurry the heck up, and running next to me up the hill, because I left the range in 12th. I hurried the heck up. Something about that has stuck with me the most, because it’s a beautiful part of Susan’s soul that she is just as genuinely excited for her teammate’s accomplishments as her own, and she wanted that result for me as badly as I did.

As a funny side note, the targets in Sweden were so slow to fall that I thought I had missed three the second prone, and looked up at the end to see only one miss. (My shooting in the race was 1-1-1-1).


All the US women had a great season last year. What do you think made the difference for all of you?

You know how at pools there are sometimes competitions for biggest splash, usually for kids? Well, our new coach Armin Auchentaller made the biggest splash in our team’s history. In fact, it’s about the splash equivalent of dropping a killer whale into a pool.

What have you been doing for summer training and what is the plan up until winter?

This is a really interesting question, doesn’t everyone give the same answer to this always? Rollerski. Shoot. Repeat. Rollerski. Shoot. Sleep. After about eight months, do an aggressive snow dance and some serious wishful thinking.

Since we are on a two week on, two week off travel schedule and I live very far from anything, and anyone, I have a high airline premier status, so that’s really what I might declare my season goal.

What are your other goals for this season? 😉

Goals are just hopes you’re demanding from yourself to feel a sense of completeness. I am complete without such a thing. (But I do not look negatively upon people who set goals). I hope our relay team puts it all together, because I know we can. Whatever that result is, it doesn’t matter as much as the performance. I want to race in joy with my star-clad girls in solidarity. Who wouldn’t?

You are Joanne Firesteel Reid. Where does the “firesteel” come from? Is it a family name or did your parents think it would make you tough?! 😉

The Firesteel River is a river that cuts through the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, which is where I spent my early childhood. As to whether or not I’m tough, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.

You have a cool rifle design. Where did the idea come from for that?

My mother designed and did the entire thing, with some input from me. She sanded, burned, and re-varnished the entire stock. She and my dad also built all the carbon fiber pieces, which are based off of the original French parts, but a little stronger, lighter, and more fitted to my tiny little hands.

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

Soldier Hollow, of course! I saw that venue grow from ten years of ignored infancy into World Cup level. They poured so much work and time and man-hours into that course and that week that I can’t help but love it. With its high speed downhills and sweeping turns with beautiful mountain views, what’s not to love?

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

Susan Dunklee, because she carved the way for us all. She changed the way that USBA viewed its female biathletes, and created a foundation of belief. No matter what she does in the rest of her career and the rest of her life, she has already done something for us all that has made a difference.

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle is named Tunkasila (pronounced duen-kah-shee-lah), which is woodburned into the back (it gets covered with the Viessmann sticker in the winter), which means Grandfather In Lakota, a tribute to my grandfather who got me into the sport. He passed just after the Winter Olympics in March of 2018 from Alzheimer’s.

The lady burned into the stock is the Lady Fortune, so sometimes people refer to it by that name instead.

Describe yourself in three words.

Sarcastic, introverted, snarky.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Canada
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Quentin! What a well-designed stock that clearly took hours and hours of thought, design, iterations, and creation. I admire that immensely.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): I find the new Kazakh suits are really geometrical in an artistically abstract way, and very pleasing to my brain. (Hello, math brain).
Favourite shooting range: Antholz, I like a hard range approach at altitude! Yes please! To that effect, I also enjoy that massive climb in Finland (Kontiolahti) that is pretty close to the range. I think Finland may have been the first World Cup I ever cleaned.
Lucky bib number: Anything in the set of Natural numbers is fine by me.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Anais Bescond
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Megan Bankes
Best thing about being a biathlete: Eating mountains and mountains of food and still being hungry. Sometimes this is also the worst thing.

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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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Brezno 2017: Junior World Champs!

jwch17a
Zobel,Pettersen,Lobastov

The second day of competition at the Youth/Junior World Championships was the Junior biathletes chance to race the Individual. The Juniors are all 21 or under.

The Men went first and after a small delay due to warm temperatures overnight, which meant extra time was needed to prepare the tracks, we got underway.

The race was won by Norway’s Sindre Petterson who led the whole race despite missing 2 shots on his final standing shoot. He took gold by 51 seconds from Germany’s David Zobel who missed 3 targets but still claimed silver. The bronze medal went to Russia’s Nikita Lobastov who shot 19/20. Just one biathlete shot the perfect 20/20 and that was Latvia’s Ingus Deksnis who finished 5th.

The Women’s race was held in the afternoon and this time the gold medal went to Canada. In another excellent display of shooting Megan Bankes hit 20/20 to win the race by 45 seconds. Silver medal went to Austria’s Julia Schwaiger who hit 19/20 and the bronze medal went to Germany’s Anna Weidel who missed 1 target too. Three other women hit the perfect 20/20 and they were Deborah Laffont of France, Natalie Jurcova of the Czech Republic and Mariana Brykailo of Ukraine.

Saturday was Sprint day for the juniors and the men’s race went to Russia. Igor Malinovskii was the winner hitting 10/10 to win the gold medal by 12 seconds. His teammate Kirill Streltsov took silver with clean shooting and Roman Yeremin won bronze for Kazakhstan.

jwch17
Michela Carrara

The Women’s Sprint went to an Italian. They are in great form at this event and Michela Carrara shot clean to take gold by 15 seconds. Silver went to Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold who missed 1 shot and France’s Myrtille Begue got the bronze hitting all the targets.

The Pursuits were raced on Sunday and Malinovskii held on to his lead. He missed 4 shots altogether but still took the victory by 13 seconds. Norway took another silver this time for the winner of the Individual race Sindre Pettersen who came from 8th to 2nd missing 5 targets. The bronze went to Belarus with Anton Smolski also missing 5 targets. Not a single one of the competitors hit 20/20 despite favourable conditions.

Russia also took gold in the Women’s race with Valeriia Vasnetcova shooting clean to come from 24th to 1st! With 3 misses the Sprint winner Carrara dropped to second and Tandrevold took the bronze with 2 shots missed.

The final day of competition took place on Tuesday with both the men’s and women’s relays. The men’s teams have 4 biathletes racing but the women just 3. It wasn’t a big surprise to see Russia winning the men’s race. They had strong team of Nikita Lobastov, Igor Malinovskii, Nikita Porshev and Kirill Streltsov. They are by far the best shooting team using just 7 spares although that was matched by the Finns in 5th.

Silver went to the Norwegian team of Dag Bjoerndalen (son of Dag Bjoerndalen, nephew of OEB), Johannes Dale, Aleksander Andersen and Sindre Petterson. They used 12 spares and incurred 1 penalty loop. Bronze was won by the German team of Justus Strelow, Danilo Riethmueller, Dominic Schmuck and David Zobel. They needed 16 spares and also did 1 penalty loop.

The women race saw the same 3 teams on the podium but in different order. This time Norway took the gold medal with Hilde Eide, Karolina Erdal and Ingrid Tandrevold using 8 spares. Germany were second with Vanessa Voigt, Sophia Schneider and Anna Weidel going on the penalty loop once. Russia took bronze with Kristina Reztsova, Ekaterina Moshkova and Valeriia Vasnetcova also completing a penalty loop.

Those races brought the Youth/ Junior Championship to an end with Russia topping the medal table with 11, Norway in second with 9 and Italy in third with 8. It shows that the big nations are still producing good young biathletes but it is great to see Italy up there competing with them. Hopefully we will be seeing some of these juniors making more appearances at IBU Cup and even World Cup level very soon.

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