Tag Archives: Olympic Games

One ‘Eck hoff a biathlete!

Winner of three Olympic medals at her first attempt and more importantly winner of biathlon 23’s Rising Star award 2013/14 Tiril Eckhoff has had an amazing season. Born on the 21st of May 1990 she represents Fossum IF as well as the Norwegian national team. At 24 she has been on the scene a little while but last season saw her rise to the top of the biathlon ranks and start challenging the main contenders.

She stated her intentions early on in the season by finishing 5th in the Individual in Oestersund. She backed it up with third in the Pursuit in Annecy for her first ever podium on the World Cup and then took 4th in the Pursuit in Antholz to make her one of the ones to watch in Sochi. Her perceived inexperience in the top competitions didn’t hold her back as she came away with 2 bronze and 1 gold medal from Russia.

Her performances in the relays were excellent and backed up by some very talented and experienced teammates she won gold in the Mixed Relay and bronze in the Women’s relay. To prove she wasn’t just carried by the others but was an integral part of the victories, she also bagged herself an individual bronze medal in the Mass Start behind Domracheva and Soukalova.

Her great results didn’t finish there though as on her return to World Cup racing in Pokljuka she took two 5th place positions in the Pursuit and Mass Start when the rest of the Norwegian team seemed to be a bit jaded after the Olympics. She finished 9 times in the TOP 10 and maybe the only small disappointment from the season is that she couldn’t convert her great form into a win.

She has a lot of pressure on her shoulders competing for Norway and will have even more next year after her great results last season. That coupled with the retirements of Tora Berger and Ann Kristin Flatland makes her, along with Synnøve Solemdal, one of the top 2 female biathletes in her country. She will also have a new coach next season. It just happens to be a familiar face as it is her older brother Stian Eckhoff. It seems biathlon is a bit of a family affair in the Eckhoff household as her sister Kaja is also a biathlete.

So under the guidance of big bro next season Tiril will be looking to get that first World Cup win under her belt. I think she will have bigger ambitions than that though. If she continues her consistency from last season and adds some wins she has to be in contention for an individual Crystal globe if not the overall title. She will also be looking to win some more medals in the World Championships in Kontiolahti to keep her Olympic medals company. She won’t have it easy however as the Women’s competition is extremely strong. Whatever happens we already know that Tiril is one ‘eck hoff a biathlete!

Follow Tiril on Twitter: @TirilEckhoff

* to be ‘one heck of something’ means to be really good at something eg. Messi is one heck of a footballer.

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Slovenia’s best Biath-Pete!

According to the biathlon 23 system of ranking Peter Dokl is Slovenia’s best male biathlete. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly Jakov Fak is Croatian, secondly Klemen Bauer doesn’t follow me on Twitter and looks a little bit like a lion!(although the second point does not affect ranking!)and thirdly when Janez Maric represented biathlete 23 in the Oberhof Pursuit he was 48th and scored no points!! Conclusive evidence then! 😉

Coming from Slovenia’s biathlon capital, the small town of Ihan in the centre of the country, Peter Dokl has been doing biathlon since 1996. Born on the 11th of January 1985 in Ljubljana he took up the sport because he lived a very short distance from his local club SK Ihan, which is also the club of Klemen Bauer and Teja Gregorin, and decided to give it a try. These three grew up together and all now compete for Slovenia which makes it officially the biathlon capital of Slovenia. It also has the honour of having the largest pig farm in Slovenia. Beat that Pokljuka! 😉

Peter first came to the attention of the biathlon community in 2004 when he won a silver medal in the 20km Individual in The World Youth Championships in Haute Maurienee, France. At the same event he won a bronze medal in the relay along with Klemen Bauer. He also won bronze in the Junior European Championships in Minsk in the same year and silver the year after in Novosibirsk both in the relay team again with Bauer.

His best ever result on the senior circuit was an 11th place finish in the Individual in Antholz in the 2009/10 season. That was one of the four times he has achieved a TOP 40 finish, three of them coming in the Individual event and one in the Sprint. Last season was a bit of a disappointment in an individual sense as his best result came in the Sprint in Kontiolahti where he finished 69th and is probably the reason he was named in Slovenia’s B Team for the new season. However from a team point of view Slovenia had a great year especially for the Men’s Relay team who finished 6th in Sochi. A remarkable achievement for a small country but they have a good team in which Dokl is joined by Fak, Maric and Bauer.

It seems as though Peter and Klemen like to do a lot of things together. They grew up in the same street, did biathlon together, won medals together and taking it slightly to extremes got injured together! In 2008 they collided with a truck while mountain biking. Fortunately Peter suffered no major injuries but he was forced to miss the 2008 World Championships. Bauer broke his collarbone in the incident.

So what is ahead for Dokl next season? Well I am sure he would like to improve his individul results, get back into the A Team and the TOP 40 to score some World Cup points. His best chance at this will probably be in the 20km which seems to be his best event. The relay team are improving all the time and I am sure he would love to help his teammates onto the podium in the Men’s Relay which is definitely within their capabilities. Lastly and most importantly I am sure he will want to retain his biathlon 23 ranking as Slovenia’s best biath-Pete!

Follow Peter on Twitter @peterdokl

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2013/14!

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Second only to the Oscars for drama and excitement the most highly anticipated awards of the year are here! In traditional biathlon23 style they are not exactly the standard awards you might have come to expect. I have decided not to bore you too much with the nominees and sometimes just go directly to the winners and the reasons why they won.Congratulations everyone for a great biathlon season 2013/14!!!


Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
She is much more popular with the fans than the New Zealand Winter Olympic selection committee(those dream ruining fiends!) with 426 hits and counting for Hurricane Murphy and crushing the likes of Fourcade, Svendsen, Bjoerndalen, Berger, Domracheva and Makarainen!
Winner: The lovely Miss Sarah Murphy.

Best Facial hair: Brendan Green came close with his moustache(eh..no he didn’t!!)but with a beautiful full beard giving Santa a run for his money(even though he shaved it off!).
Winner: Simon Fourcade

Best name:
I am a fan of Rastorgujevs (because it has a nice flow!). I also like Amanda Lightfoot(you need a light foot for skiing!), Leif Nordgren(could it be more nordic!),Meri Maijala(just sounds happy to me!)but then I discovered this guy.
Winner: Jaan Koolmeister

Best Team Performance: Lots of options here the Ukrainian Women’s Relay team, the Russians Men’s relay team for example but I am giving it to a team who have improved significantly on both the Men’s and Women’s side and are not one of the “big” biathlon countries.
Winner: Canada

Biggest improver: A difficult category as so many people have done well. I chose the winner because she won 2 European silver medals, got her first TOP 20 finish, is the only woman who represents her country and she funds herself.
Winner: Victoria Padial


Best save (from a fall):
A difficult one as there were 2 beautiful pirouettes from Martin Fourcade and Tarjei Boe in Hochfilzen but as one was alone and the other in the middle of a group there is only one choice.
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best quote in a press conference: Annecy. Winning on Martin Fourcade’s home patch “it’s not everyday you can beat Martin but it’s cool that I can do it here in his cave in France!” I like that he said it while sitting right next to him!
Winner: Johannes Thingnes Boe


Best Twitter follower(of me)
: Only one winner in this category. He followed me on Twitter without me having to a)follow him b)ask him to do it and c)write a post about him (although this will be fixed in the summer!)
Winner: Peter Dokl

Best Tweeter: Easy! Always spots something funny at the tracks or on his travels.
Winner: Tobias Arwidson

Best Facebooker: Has to go to the man who shares everything from his holidays to his coffee breaks, from his races to his home town of Mrkopalj(the Croatian tourist board love him and so do we!)
Winner: Jakov Fak

Best rifle design: For the Olympics. The Slovenian colours with the mountain design – very cool!
Winner: Klemen Bauer

Most ridiculous rifle colour:
Literally a shoot out between the Boe brothers. Tarjei with orange, Johannes with gold. You have to have balls to race with a gold rifle and he backed it up with 5 wins and orange does clash with red.
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best ski suit: Standing out from the other teams normal block colour with bit of a stripe here and there. Especially like the leg design incorporating the national flag.
Winner: Great Britain


Worst ski suit:
Generally for having the same design most years without deviation from red with a splash of black. Nothing wrong with it but needs a change!
Winner: Norway

Rising star:Another super difficult category and I almost gave it to several others but getting good results and holding your place in the Norwegian team and winning an Olympic gold and 2 bronze are so hard to do in your first Games. Also replacing Tora Berger isn’t going to be a piece of cake either!
Winner: Tiril Eckhoff

Best vocal performance: I know what you are thinking it’s between Soukalova and Bailey, right?WRONG! A man in a dress singing “Breaking The Law” like he was born to do it!
Winner: Bjorn Ferry

Luckiest: Some may call it skill and his whole race up to the finish was but the ending was a little bit lucky. Let’s say it’s lucky he didn’t start celebrating gold any earlier in the Olympic Mass Start or he would have given it to Fourcade!
Winner:Emil Hegle Svensden

Unluckiest: Falling at the first World Cup round (on a lump of frozen mud while running and not even a skiing injury)and pretty much wrecking her Olypmic hopes. Still it turned out OK in the end with a podium and baby on the way but unlucky in biathlon terms.
Winner: Marie Dorin Habert

Biggest disappointment:I wanted this to be the cancellation of the races due to fog and wind but something else got in the way 😦
Winner: Biathletes caught doping


Best biathlete blog:
Lots of biathletes have blogs these days but because she is retiring and won’t be eligible again as well as it being very good of course I chose this lady.
Winner: Sara Studebaker

Best biathlete website: More and more biathletes are getting fancy websites but one of the first I discovered and really liked the entry page(even though he later changed it!)belongs to this guy.
Winner: Lukas Hofer

Biathlon23’s performance of the season: A very difficult choice but you can’t look past 3 gold medals in one Olympics creating history for her country.
Winner: Darya Domracheva

These are all my own ideas so feel free to Facebook or Tweet me if you have any of your own thoughts! The funnier the better please!

Biathlon23 in true biathlon style is having a little post season break before I get back into writing articles again. But don’t worry like the biathletes I will be back around May with weekly posts to keep you going through the long, barren biathlon free summer!:-)

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Season Review 2013/14: Women

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Well the season is over and for me the women provided the best competition this season. Last year was dominated by Tora Berger but this time around it was much more competitive. The Overall title was won at the last round in Holmenkollen by Kaisa Makarainen .The individual Crystal Globes went to Kaisa Makarainen in the Sprint and the Pursuit, Darya Domracheva in the Mass Start and Gabriela Soukalova in the Individual 15km.

At the start of each race it was virtually impossible to pick who would win. That’s why it has been such a great season for the women. The level of competition is fantastic with many of the women on great form and others making big improvements throughout the season. If you cast your mind back to Oestersund Soukalova won the Individual and Ann-Kristin Flatland won the Sprint. Then in Hochfilzen Selina Gasparin was amazing as she took her first ever win and then Synnoeve Solemdal won the Pursuit. Gasparin followed up her success in Annecy again taking the Sprint and Valj Semerenko got the Pursuit. That made 5 different winners in the 6 races before Christmas as apposed to 3 in the men’s races.

In Hochfilzen we had another 2 winners with Darya Domracheva taking 2 wins and Tora Berger 1 in the Mass Start.In Ruhpolding it was Soukalova’s turn to do the double and in Antholz we saw another first time winner in Anais Bescond in the Sprint and a legend secure another career win when Andrea Henkel took the Pursuit.

The Olympics of course was dominated by Darya Domracheva who took home 3 gold medals and Anastasiya Kuzima came from nowhere to make it an Olympic Sprint double gold having shown little form on the World Cup. In the Women’s Relay the Ukraine women’s team won an emotional and well deserved gold.

Back on World Cup duty in Pokljuka we had yet another first time winner in Austria’s Katherina Innerhofer but then the big guns took over as Domracheva claimed another victory and Kaisa Makarainen won the Pursuit to kick off her amazing end of season form. She took all 3 victories in her home race in Kontiolahti and set us up for a tense finale in Holmenkollen. Neither Makarainen nor Berger won any races but Kaisa did enough to win the Overall even though Tora took 2 second places. I think she deserved it as she won more races than Tora and was very consistent in scoring points. I bet Tora wishes that she had last season’s form this year as she was almost unbeatable in 2012/13. The races were won by Domracheva who took the Sprint and Kuzmina who won the Pursuit and Mass Start to take her only 2 wins of the whole season apart from the Olympic Sprint!

So the more experienced ladies took all the spoils this year but we were also treated to some fantastic new talent. The young German team look like they will do well next year. Laura Dalmeier, Franziska Preuss and Franziska Hildebrand have all shown they have what it takes to do well on the World Cup. The Canadian ladies have also stepped up a level taking 4th place in Annecy in the relay and Rosanna Crawford had some great races individually too. Susan Dunklee likewise has had a fantastic season which ended in her first ever podium.

The Italians Dorothea Wierer and Karin Oberhofer had a great Olympics and have both done really well this season and won bronze at the Olympics too. Tiril Eckhoff’s amazing form this season has softened the blow of Tora Berger’s retirement for the Norwegian team. Nadezdha Skardino has come out of Domracheva’s shadow for Belarus and achieved some great results. Teja Gregorin has also had a really good season culminating in her Olympic bronze medal.If she can improve her standing shoot by a few percent and get a little bit of luck she will surely win her first World Cup race next season.

The season wasn’t great for everyone however as the Swedish women’s team didn’t even get to go to the Olympics. Marie Dorin Habert got injured at the start of the year and so ruined most of her season and fellow French star Marie-Laure Brunet seemed to loose her amazing shooting skills a bit and didn’t get the results she was hoping for. Synnoeve Solemdal started well but the end of her season was wrecked by illness. The Russian women’s team didn’t perform as well as expected, with the exception of Olga Zaitseva and Olga Vilukhina, and will be looking to win some races next season.

All in all it has been a stellar year for Women’s biathlon. They have had the closest and most competitive racing and the titles all went down to the final weekend. We have seen fantastic individual displays and also some amazing team performances. I hope that it will be equally unpredictable and exciting next season. Enjoy your rest and your summer ladies as you have certainly deserved it! Thanks for all the entertainment, see you in November!

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Like father like Arwid-son!

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With his hometown in Lima, Peruvian biathlete Tobias Arwidson now races for Sweden. Not really I am just messing with you!!! It turns out there is in fact a place called Lima in Sweden too. Tobias was actually born in Mora, Sweden on the 7th of June 1988 but grew up in Lima in Dalarna County in the west of Sweden. He is the son of double Olympic bronze medal winner Lars-Göran Arwidson and currently lives in Oestersund which as it happens is also in Sweden! (I bet he hasn’t even been to Peru!)

Following in his father footsteps Tobias took part in his first Olympic Games this year in Sochi. His Dad actually represented Sweden (not Peru!) in 3 Olympic Games in 1968, 1972 and 1976. In 1968 in Grenoble, he won a bronze medal with the Swedish relay team in the 4 x 7.5 km relay and in 1972 in Sapporo, he won a bronze medal in the 20km Individual. Tobias is also a medal winner although unfortunately for him not in the Olympics –yet! He won a silver medal in the European Championships in 2013 in the Individual event in Bansko, Bulgaria.

Tobias warmed up for the Games by achieving his two best ever results on the World Cup. Firstly in Oestersund in his home race he was 22nd in the Individual and then in Ruhpolding he came 17th also in the 20km Individual. (Anyone would think he and his Dad like that event!!) His previous best results were all outside the TOP 30. He was also part of the Swedish Men’s Relay team who came second in Antholz, together with Bjorn Ferry, Carl Johan Bergman and Fredrik Lindstrom.

In Sochi he finished an impressive 28th in the Pursuit, from a start number of 42 where he finished in the Sprint, beating his more experienced colleagues Bergman and Ferry. In the Individual he came 41st but the Swedish Men’s relay team couldn’t repeat their podium in Sochi and they finished 10th. I think Tobias gets his best results from the Individual events because he is an excellent shot. At the Olympics he only missed 2 shots in 4 races. If he can increase his ski speed (which is easier said than done I know) it could propel him into the TOP 20 more often and I am sure he will be appearing inside the TOP 10 soon! Unfortunately it won’t be this season as he is too sick to race in Oslo but hopefully he will back fit and illness free next season!

So even though he is not actually from Peru I am sure all the residents of Lima and his Dad are proud of his achievements so far. He is still just 25 years old so has the potential to compete in 2 more Olympic Games and maybe he could win something in those. After all he is like father like Arwid-son!

If you follow any biathlete on Twitter make it Tobias! He has a keen eye for comedy!:-)

Check out his website too:
http://www.tobiasarwidson.com/


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Sochi so far: Biathlon Royalty!

sprintsochi

Phew! A rest day for biathlon today and just in time for me to calm down a bit from my ridiculous over excitement and keep you up to date with what’s been happening. We have had 4 races so far – 2 Sprints and 2 Pursuits. Unless you have been on a trip to the moon or deep under the ocean you will have heard by now that the King of Biathlon Ole Einar Bjoerndalen won the Men’s Sprint race on Saturday. His highness claimed his 12th Olympic medal and equalled the record of his fellow countryman Bjorn Daehlie. The Women’s Sprint was won by Queen Kuzmina who successfully defended her Olympic title from Vancouver.

The Prince and Princess of Pursuit were Martin Fourcade and Darya Domracheva who both showed amazing ski speed and backed it up with highly accurate marksmanship to take their first ever gold medals. The other medallists so far have been Dominik Landertinger and Jaroslav Soukup who took silver and bronze in the Sprint. Soukup’s achievement was all the more amazing after recovering from an arm injury that doctor’s thought might mean he would never ski competitively again. Well he showed them!

In the Women’s Sprint silver and bronze went to Olga Vilukhina, who pleased the home crowd, and Vita Semerenko. The other Pursuit medals went to Ondrej Moravec and Jean Guilliame Beatrix and for the women Tora Berger and Teja Gregorin who won Slovenia’s first ever medal in Olympic biathlon.

The Czech Republic are having a great games so far with 2 medals for the men in 2 races and are looking very good to win more in the relays. Gabriela Soukalova looks back on form in the Pursuit coming from 29th to finish 4th. France have also done well again with 2 medals from 2 races and a very good Pursuit performance from young Simon Destheiux who went from 46th to 21st. They will be difficult to beat in the Men’s Relay.

On the other hand Norway’s Crown Princes, Svendsen and the Boe brothers, have been a little bit off the pace. They haven’t raced competitively since Ruhpolding but will no doubt come in to form for the latter races. The German team haven’t performed very well either with the exception of Schempp but will still be in with a chance especially in the relays.

The Olympics can bring out the best in people. Even thought they might not win a medal for it some of the biathletes have been performing really well. JP Le Guellec finished 5th in the Sprint an improvement on 6th place in Vancouver and he was leading the Pursuit race up until his unfortunate fall on that treacherous corner. Tobias Arwidson of Sweden outperformed his much more experienced countrymen Ferry and Bergman by being one of only two men to shoot clear in the Pursuit – the other being silver medallist Moravec. You also have to feel for Anton Shipulin who came so close to a medal in the Sprint at his home games. Hopefully he will get something from the remaining races.

For the women Karin Oberhofer and Dorothea Weirer of Italy did exceptionally well in the Sprint finishing 4th and 6th. Anais Bescond had a great race finishing in 5th and Switzerland’s Elisa Gasparin finished 8th beating her big sister Selina. In the Pursuit Ann Kristin Flatland made up a lot of places finishing 9th from a start bib of 24 and Olga Zaitseva showed some encouraging form coming from 28th to finish 11th. Sunsan Dunklee has also been breaking all kinds of US records finishing 14th in the Sprint and 18th in the Pursuit.

Tomorrow is the Men’s Individual and then it’s the Women’s turn on Friday. I am not even going to try and predict any medallists as it’s a difficult one to call with the 1 minute penalty per missed target. The gold medals in Sochi so far have been dominated by biathlon’s royalty but can anyone beat them in the next races? You will just have to watch and see!

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Going for Gold!Part 2

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The heat is on, the time is right,
It’s time for you for you to play your game,
’cause, people are coming, everyone’s trying,
trying to be the best that they can,
when they’re going for going for gold!

The heat is definitely on! With only 3 days until the women’s opening race on Sunday in Sochi there is just time for a final preview of the female biathletes. They kick off just like the men with the Sprint event followed by the Pursuit, the 15km Individual, the Mass Start, the Mixed Relay and finally the Women’s Relay on the 21st of February.

This is probably one of the most open Olympic Games for a while on the women’s side.There are some favourites of course but no one athlete has really dominated the World Cup so far like Tora Berger did last season. Of course Tora is still one of the favourites to win gold but her problems in the standing shoot have left the door open for the other biathletes. Particularly impressive so far this season is Gabriela Soukalova. She has won 3 races and is the leader of the overall World Cup. Her wins in the Individual races mean she is likely to medal in that event in Sochi but she could be on the podium in more than one race.

The run of races after Christmas showed that Darya Domracheva is also back on top form after a quiet start to the season. Germany(Oberhof and Ruhpolding) in particular was a strong period for her and she has a great chance of winning a few medals in Sochi. Kaisa Makarainen had exactly the same run of form as Domracheva and could also feature on the podium. Her skiing is excellent but her shooting might mean that she can’t quite reach the top step.

These four will be contending for medals in all the races but they are not the only ones. Selina Gasparin has come into her own this season and with 2 Sprint victories she can’t be discounted to do the same in the Olympic Sprint.The Semerenko twins are always there either on or around the podium. Valj seems in better form than Vita but the Olympics could change that. Olga Zaitseva will be under extreme pressure to deliver in her home Olympics and her form has been patchy up to now and so it will be difficult for her in Sochi. I think she will be able to rise to the occasion and handle the pressure with her vast experience. Another veteran in with a shout is Andrea Henkel. She thrives in the big competitions and I wouldn’t be surprised if she follows up her silver in last years World Championships with another medal in Sochi.

On the other hand there is a lot of good young talent emerging this year. Germany have a strong young team and it’s possible that Laura Dalmeier could spring a shock and take a medal(she also shares her name with the stadium – a good omen?).Anais Bescond is coming off the back of a first win in Antholz and will be full of confidence. Tiril Eckhoff is currently having the best season of her life and she too could challenge at the sharp end. My only concern for these girls is lack of experience in the really important competitions and the huge pressure they will need to cope with.

There is also Veronika Vitkova, Marie-Laure Brunet, Synoevve Solemdal, Anastasiya Kuzmina and Olena Pidhrushna who have the capabilites of winning medals. The women’s side is really tough to call at this Olympics. The relay is exactly the same. Russia, Norway, Ukraine and Germany are the ones most likely to be fighting for the top three spots but any penalty loops could destroy their chances and leave the door open for teams like France, Belarus and also Canada if they can better their amazing performance in Annecy.

In the mixed relay the same teams will be involved at the front. I would also throw in The Czech Republic, who won the only mixed relay of this season in Ostersund, and Italy to pick up any places lost by any bad performances from the top teams. All in all the women’s races are going to be very exciting and pretty unpredictable. It would nice to see some of the Russians on the podium in their home Games but whoever takes the medals will do so in one of the most difficult and competitive years and so will fully deserve their victories when they are going for gold!

Good luck ladies! Especially those lucky enough to wear bib 23!!!

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