Tag Archives: Peter Dokl

Ross Burton: Biathlon Photographer!

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Photo credit: Elena Sobol

As you know biathlon23 likes to look at all aspects of biathlon not just the biathletes. This time I am bringing you an interview with a biathlon photographer. Ross Burton from America has been taking pictures of biathletes on the World Cup for 6 years and has kindly taken the time to tell us exactly what that is like.

He also jointly runs the website Biathlon News International: http://www.biathlonnewsinternational.com/
The site also has a Facebook Page: Biathlon News International

Why do like biathlon?

I was a cross-country skier in the early 70’s. The Army National Guard had a biathlon team, and I joined the Guard so I could get paid for skiing. We had wooden skis, bamboo poles, Remington 513T rifles, and it was classic only. After 3-4 years, I went into the active Army, and that was the end of biathlon. Then the Internet changed everything. Biathlon is
and was a small sport in the USA, as I believe it is in the UK. Before the Internet, there was virtually no information about biathlon, except for maybe 5 minutes coverage during the Olympic broadcasts. After the Internet came, there was plenty of information, even full races on the IBU Eurosport channel.

I decided I wanted to attend a World Cup in 2009, and a German friend suggested Ostersund. I went, and it was a life-changing experience for me. I decided I wanted to move my photography in that direction. At about the same time, a Russian friend, Raniya Kutumova, and I decided to build an English-language news website to enhance interest in
biathlon in the USA. The news website was not particularly successful in generating interest in the USA, but it was marvelously successful in other parts of the world, largely Germany and Russia, despite the fact that it’s in English.

I have been an Olympics fan all my life, and never in my fondest dreams did I ever think I would be paid to go to the Olympics (Sochi.) So, one could say that I have had a life-long interest in biathlon as a competitor, volunteer, journalist and photographer.

How long have you been a photographer and when did you start doing it in biathlon on the World Cup?

I am not a life-long professional photographer. I started working professionally in biathlon during 2010 when my friend Per-Ole Lindell, manager of the Finland team, needed some pictures featuring their new Viessmann sponsorship.

What kind of camera do you have? Do you mainly do digital photography? Have you thought about using a drone?

I have two Nikon D4’s and lenses from 14mm to 400mm focal lengths. Everyone does digital now. I have never thought of using a drone, but I have nightmares of a drone going out of control and landing in the range or on a biathlete.

How often do you go to World Cups and how do you choose which ones to attend?

Between 2-4 World Cups or two World Cups and the World Championships or Olympics. I choose based on time available from USA commitments, money, and logistics.

Where are you going this season and why?

Hochfilzen for sure because it’s the World Championships this year. Looking at Pokjluka and Nove Mesto for World Cups because of favorable logistics.

Do you get to enjoy the races or are you too busy trying to get good shots?

Mostly too busy, but for the first-in, first-win races like the pursuit, relay and mass start I’m always at the finish line, so it’s fun to see the winners and the celebrations. My finest moment was seeing my friends Darya Domracheva and Nadya Skardino win their Olympic medals for Belarus.

Are there a lot of other photographers working on the World Cup? Are you competitive like the biathletes to see who can get the best pictures or is there a good camaraderie?

Yes, there are numerous photographers who attend the World Cups. Of course, we all want to get the best pictures for our customers, but we all are great friends. There is no photographer who won’t take the time to share what they know about the best locations they have found, or the fastest workflow, or anything else that might be a help other photographers.

Since I know a bit about biathlon, I think it’s important to help photographers who are not that familiar with biathlon. We can explain how the races go, which are the big stars, and other things they might consider important. I don’t know how many times I have been asked, “which one is Bjoerndalen?” by new or unfamiliar photographers.

What do you do with the photos? Who do you sell them to? Do you keep some for yourself?

I keep enough for myself to post on my website, http://www.biathlonnewsinternational.com, but I am always working for some team or some photo agency. I have worked for several foreign photo agencies, but Team Finland is my best customer. I have worked for them since 2009. In fact, the last issue of the Finland Biathlon Magazine has a four-page spread
of just my pictures. It can be seen at biathlon.fi.com. Most of the winter cover shots on the magazine are mine too.


What is the best/favourite photo you have taken in biathlon?

The Finland team picture which appears in the header of my Biathlon News International Facebook page.

What is your favourite biathlon venue – for pictures and for racing?

Pictures: Presque Isle. Racing: Holmenkollen

Does your camera have a name?

Yep, Camera 1 and Camera 2.

Describe yourself in three words.

Lucky, Lazy, Ludicrous.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation: A tie between the USA and Finland
Favourite biathlete: Long Past: Dennis Donahue Recent Past: Agnieszka Cyl Present: Peter Dokl Future: Jessika Rolig and Auli Kiskola.
Favourite race(sprint,pursuit etc.): The single gender relay
Favourite ski suit design: Belarus, two years ago.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Past, Bjoern Ferry, by a mile! Present: Tarjei Boe
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tie between Johanna Talihaerm and Kadri Lehtla. The rest of the Estonian women are all very nice too.
Best thing about being a photographer: Pragmatically, free food. Emotionally, seeing my pictures published in worldwide circulation.

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Teja Gregor-win!

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As you probably all know Teja Gregorin is another Slovenia biathlete who comes from Ihan, where all great Slovenian biathletes come from! Along with Klemen Bauer and Peter Dokl she makes up the triangle of talent from the small town. Teja was born in Ljubljana on the 29th of June, 1980 and is her country’s top female biathlete.

She switched to biathlon form cross country skiing and has been a member of the national team since 2002. She has had a pretty amazing career but like a fine Slovenian wine she seems to be getting better with age. In August this year in the Summer Biathlon Championships in Tyumen she won gold in both the Sprint and Pursuit and took bronze in the Mixed Relay. However her best result so far has to be the bronze medal she won in the Olympics in Sochi.

Teja also has a couple of silver medals from the Biathlon World Championships. She won Mixed Relay silver in Ruhpolding 2012 with Andreja Mali, Klemen Bauer and Jakov Fak. Back in Pyeongchang 2009 she claimed an individual medal finishing second in the 15km Individual. She has in fact taken part in 10 World Championships and 3 Olympic Games which makes her one of the most experienced women competing today.

On the World Cup she has been just as successful. She has 4 podium finishes to her name, 2 second places and 2 third places. Her best ever finish in the Total Score came in season 2010/11 when she was 8th overall and last season she came 13th. Since 2005 she has never finished the season outside the TOP 40 overall which is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to her incredible consistency.

There is however one thing missing from Teja’s fantastic career and that is of course a win. She has come close on several occasions but has never stood on the top step yet on the World Cup or in the Winter World Championships. That is why it was so pleasing to see her win in Tyumen this summer. It shows that she can do it and of all the biathletes it is Teja that I would love to see take a win this coming season. I am sure she is desperate to do it too.

So why is it in such a long and consistently good career that she hasn’t won? Well firstly it is really hard to win a race because there are so many great biathletes competing and there is always new talent coming through. Secondly Teja has some issues with her standing shoot. It is essential to victory as it is always the last shoot before the end of every race. Hers is not terrible but her prone stats have never dropped below 90% whereas her stand is normally between 70-80% which makes the crucial difference between coming second or first in the race. Her ski speed is not amongst the TOP10 and this is also a major factor in her results.

At 34 Teja doesn’t have too many years left at the top level but I am sure she will make the most of them. I know all biathlon fans wish her well and we are all hoping that we can soon congratulate Teja on her first Gregor-win!

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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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