Tag Archives: Pokljuka

Season 2016/17 Preview: Men

Oestersund, Pokljuka, Nove Mesto, Oberhof, Ruhpolding, Antholz, PyeongChang, Tyumen and Olso! Are you ready? It’s almost time for the new biathlon season to begin! That means it must be time for a season preview too so here it is!

Looking back over previous previews they all read more or less like this. Martin Fourcade is the red hot favourite. If he stays fit and healthy all season he will win the Overall Title for the 6th year in a row. Potential challengers are Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, Simon Schempp and Anton Shipulin. They are all capable of beating Fourcade in a single race but don’t seem to have the consistency over a whole season to win the big Crystal globe.

Preview finished!

Only joking! As the top places are nearly always the same for the men I decided that this year’s preview should move away from the elite and see what’s happening a little bit behind them. Who are the up and coming biathletes to look out for? Who could get their first win or first podium? Who should be doing better? That’s what I am going to look at before season 2016/17 gets under way.

It’s sometimes hard to believe but there are some well established biathletes who have yet to win a race on the World Cup. The most famous is probably Simon Fourcade. He has achieved many podium results but never higher than second. Surely this season he will get to the top step. Fellow Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet has also come within a toenail of winning but again second place is his best result. Germany’s Benedikt Doll will be hoping to grab his first win. Tim Burke is another who will want to come first instead of second place as will Sergey Semenov and Benjamin Weger.

Expect a strong season from the Austrian team. Simon Eder was 5th last season in the overall title and Dominik Landertinger was 9th. With Julian Eberhard getting his first win and Sven Grossegger achieving a personal best of 5th they will be a dangerous squad this year.

Hoping to get their first taste of the podium are Andrejs Rastorgujevs who has a few 4th positions to his name already. Klemen Bauer also has a personal best of fourth as does Simon Desthieux and Krasimir Anev.

Scoring points on a more consistent basis will be the goal for biathletes like Mario Dolder, Leif Nordgren, Macx Davies, Kalev Ermits and Martin Otcenas.

Make sure you look out for some of the younger biathletes this season who will be trying their best to impress their coaches and the fans. Watch out for Sean Doherty to continue his rise to the top. The likes of Rene Zahkna, Rok Trsan and Fabien Claude will be pushing hard to do well. Keep an eye out too for Sebastian Samuelsson who has been picked for the Swedish team to make his debut in Oestersund and Felix Leitner who will start his first World Cup race for Austria.

On the other hand it’s about time Freddie Lindstrom had a better season. We haven’t seen him on the podium since 2013. Lukas Hofer didn’t have a great season individually either and it would be good to see him back on form. Jakov Fak will be hoping to improve as will Ondrej Moravec.

There are many more biathletes to watch out for but too many to mention here. The Germans are always dangerous with Peiffer and Lesser showing some good form in patches last time.

Last but not least expect new dad Ole Einar Bjoerndalen to pop up with a few podium finishes and don’t be surprised if he adds more World Championships medals to his vast collection in Hochfilzen. That’s if he can cope with the sleepless nights of course!

Hopefully it will a great season with some more first time winners and some great races. The title race might not be close but we can look forward to some great battles in individual races. Bring it on boys!!!

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Julia Ransom: The Interview!

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Julia Ransom is a Canadian biathlete who was born on the 4th of February 1993 in Penticton. She made her international debut in 2009 and finished last season 52nd in the Total Score. Her personal best finish to date is 19th place which she achieved twice last season, first in the Antholz Pursuit and again in Canmore this time in the Sprint.

Follow Julia on Twitter: @Jooliawoolia
Take a look at her website: http://juliaransom.ca/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I have been cross country skiing for as long as I can remember, thanks to my parents enrolling me in the Telemark Jackrabbits Program and then later the Telemark Racing Team. Our little team of 12 year olds were skiing by the range one day and were called over to try shooting. I was hooked after that! What 12 year old wouldn’t like shooting with skis on?

You got your equal personal best result in Canmore last season. Can you describe the race and what it felt like racing at home?

It was so special to post a personal best at home in front of my family and loved ones. Besides religiously watching the Eurosport live feed at two or three in the morning, my parents have never seen me race World Cups in person, let alone enjoy a race from the comfort of a snack and beer tent! I also had extended family, my boyfriend, and neighbours come out to cheer which made the whole day that much better!

You had a great season last year with personal best of 19th and a 20th place finish in the World Championships. Why do you think you did so well?

The boys make fun of me for loving almost everything in Norway… Madshus, Gravlax, trolls, you name it. It’s only fitting to have my best results there! Joking aside, I think last season’s results can be attributed to a culmination of careful planning, hard work, and a determined attitude from the entire Canadian Team and support staff. Everyone came to training ready to bring it and raise the bar from the day before. We have jelled a lot as a team and that has shown through not only personal bests, but team bests.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan until the season starts?

This summer has been awesome! It started off with a women’s volume camp in my hometown, Kelowna. Anais Bescond joined us and we all stayed at my parents house. Mama Ransom had fresh baking waiting for us after almost every training session and kept “Wine Camp” living up to its name. In August, the team ventured down south and had a fantastic training camp at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. We enjoyed perfect snow conditions and amazing food, simply walking out the doors to the trails. It was particularly special for me because my boyfriend came out to help out with the team and enjoy some skiing before heading back to school. We also snuck in a little mini vacation on the North Island before the camp started. I have just finished training with the team in Park City, Utah one of my favourite camps. It’s great altitude exposure and usually a few extra weeks of ‘summer’ before the snow track is laid down in October.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: Finding coffee shops with Rosanna.
Weaknesses: the dessert buffet in Pokljuka.

What are your goals for this season?

My goal this season is simply to better those 19th places. Top 10 would be pretty sweet!

In the past you have done some volunteer coaching. Are you still doing that and why is it important to you? Would you like to become a coach in the future?

I love coaching young kids. They are a breath of fresh air with their keenness to learn and excitement to just get outside and play! I don’t see myself becoming a professional coach, but I will definitely keep volunteering with kids sport.

It’s thanks to your hairdressing skills that Nathan Smith won his World Championship medal. Do the rest of the team get you to cut their hair now too?

Haha! I only really feel confident doing one hair style, so that limits my clientele.

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

My favourite course is Oberhof because it seems to produce the best Youtube Crash videos.

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

I will have to say Anais Bescond. After getting to know her more this past year, I’ve learnt that she is not only a successful athlete, but a fun-loving, genuine, and humble person.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Nathan Smith. He made his own stock and always surprises me with his carbon fibre skills.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Czech Republic
Favourite shooting range: Holmenkollen
Lucky bib number: Obviously, 23! (YES!)
Best thing about being a biathlete: The lifestyle.

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2021: The Controversial Championships!

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Just when you are getting ready for the new season with interviews and posts about biathlon –the sport and the sportspeople – BOOM! the IBU delegates vote Tyumen as host of the World Championships in 2021. So what you may ask. Well unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months Russia have got themselves into a little bit of trouble.

With the publication of the McLaren Report into state sponsored doping by the Russians at the Sochi Olympics you would think most sports federations would avoid them like the plague. Not so the IBU. We have a World Cup round there in March, The Youth/Junior World Championships 2017 in Ostrov and now the World Championships in Tyumen in 2021.

To be fair all of these events were organised before the McLaren Report was published except the awarding of the World Championships to Tyumen which was voted on this past weekend at the IBU Congress.

Many people including Erland Slokvik, President of Norwegian Biathlon, and Canadian coach Roddy Ward have been vocal in their amazement at this decision and it does seem a strange one. There are many questions that need answers. For example why was Tyumen allowed to continue as a candidate after the IOC actively discouraged Individual Sports Federations from holding future events in Russia and to look for alternative hosts. Well it’s because they gave the green light to any event in which the bidding process had already begun.

I don’t have so much of a problem with this as the bid from Tyumen was started a long time ago and I am sure a lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into it. However there were another two candidates who did the same. Pokljuka and Nove Mesto were also competing to host in 2021.

So why then did the delegates decide to choose a Russian host? A question I am not sure I can answer with any certainty but here are some of the reasons put forward so far. Out of a possible 49 votes Tyumen won 25 and it is speculated that they came from the smaller Asian nations and the old Eastern Block countries. It is suggested that these countries maybe aren’t as concerned about Russia’s issues as the Western countries are.

Russia is a huge biathlon nation. It’s no coincidence that the three languages of the IBU are English, Germany and Russian. The sport is incredibly well supported there and with such popularity of course comes money.

It doesn’t surprise me that many are angry at the Tyumen decision. It did surprise me however who was not. The biathletes! Their reactions range from silence to congratulations on the winning bid. It made me wonder why when many biathletes speak out against anti-doping they would show support for an event in a country whose anti-doping agency has been declared unfit for purpose. Tyumen hosts a very lucrative end of season “Race of Champions”…

Apart from all the World Championships controversy we are still waiting to hear if any action will be taken against Russia. The McLaren Report alleges that 10 samples from biathletes were tampered with in Sochi. One of the team, Alexander Loginov, is already serving a suspension for doping but as yet we have heard nothing about any other potential positive samples. The Russians had a team of 12 in Sochi.

Yesterday IBU President Anders Besseberg stated that Tyumen could possibly lose the World Championships if these retested samples come back positive. The IBU are not doing themselves any favours in it’s handling of both these situations. The IPC provides a good example and an interesting contrast.

All in all it’s an unsavoury mess and doesn’t reflect well on any of the parties involved. The fans don’t want to be talking and reading about this. They want to be getting excited for a new season and planning what World Cup round to go and thinking about who is going to do well. They do not want to watch their sport become mired in controversy. Yes the fans, remember us? It would be nice if someone would occasionally!

It’s hard to see any of this being resolved anytime soon and I imagine it won’t end satisfactorily for anyone. However I was thinking if I start doping now, in 5 years’ time I could maybe win a gold medal in Tyumen and not get got caught……just a thought!

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Macx Davies: The Interview!

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Macx Davies in a Canadian biathlete who was born in Calgary on the 24th of December 1992. He made his international debut in 2011 and last season in Oestersund he achieved his personal best result when he came 10th in the Sprint race. He is also renowned for his dancing skills (see Russian TV), his biathlon movie (see Norwegian TV) and of course his beard which won him Best Facial Hair 2015/16 in the Biathlon23 Awards.

You can like his Facebook page: Macx Davies Biathlete.

Who spells Macx with a C? Explain yourself or at least your parent’s decision?!

First off, yes my name is spelt M-A-C-X, and my parents actually switched my name when I was very young from Mckenzie, which was my name at birth, because there was a lot of girls being named Mckenzie at the time. So they changed it to Macx and kept the C to be a little different.

Why did you decide to become a biathlete?

I decided to become a biathlete because cross country skiing became very predictable and fitness based. But when I tried biathlon for a summer in 2006 I realized that here was a sport similar to cross country skiing with the unpredictability of shooting, and after a year of biathlon I was hooked (even though that first year and many more after I was terrible at shooting).

You got 10th place in the Oestersund Sprint last season. Can you describe the race and how you felt at the end getting your best ever result?

The race in Oestersund this year was the craziest race of my life. First thing, starting bib #99, which is the well known number of Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky, was very special for me. But to then go out and forget to load one of my magazines, which I only realized after my first shooting, made it a very crazy day, as I was just trying to figure out how I could get another from my coaches. But after a lap of yelling at my wax techs, I was told they had a spare magazine waiting for me in the range. So I could relax as I skied the last hundred meters into my standing shooting. However I was given a magazine that didn’t fit into my rifle… Luckily I had 5 spare rounds on my rifle and I single loaded each shot. Now if you remember it was a very windy day and nobody was shooting great, but through all this confusion I pulled off a perfect day on the range and was very surprised when my wax techs told me I was in 10th after the shooting. After I heard that I knew that I had to ski as hard as I could, and I managed to hold the position all the way to the finish line. After the race I was stunned, it took more than a week for me to realize just how good that race was. And thinking about it now I still don’t believe how well I did!

What are your plans for summer training?

Summer training is going to be a little different this year, normally we stay around Canmore, Canada for most of the summer, but the team is trying something new and we are spending 3 weeks in New Zealand on snow in August. Then we will head back home for some good training before going to Salt Lake City in the US for another 2 weeks in the fall then back to Canmore to be on snow in October.

What are your goals for this season?

For this season I was shooting for an individual Top 6 and multiple Top 16 finishes as well as some more podium relay performances for Canada.

Canadian biathlon is doing really well right now. Why do you think that is?

Canada is lucky to have some amazing athletes at the top end of the sport for the last few years. To me is all comes from finally figuring out the combination of training that works for us, as well as having a few role model athletes to follow, the likes of JP Le Guellec, Nathan Smith, Brendan Green and Scott Perras.

You won the Biathlon23 Award for Best Facial Hair last season. Is that your biggest achievement to date? Will you be trying to retain your title?

I was surprised to win the award for best facial hair, but now that I know it is possible I will be trying every year! I would say the reward is equal to my Oestersund sprint race.

You starred in a Norwegian video at the World Championships in Oslo. Do you regret stopping for an interview now? What did you think of the video?

I LOVED that video! I was the perfect touch to that amazing day at the World Championships! I am so happy that I stopped for the interview and only hope everyone else liked it as much as the whole Canadian Team did.

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

My favourite biathlon track is Oberhof, because I find crazy weather always works to my advantage. Though Pokljuka to me is the best skiing track with a bit of everything.

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

My favourite biathlete is Bjorn Ferry, he showed me that you can be among the best and still have a great sense of humour.

Does your rifle have a name?

I have never named my rifle actually. Though I might have to think of one…..

Describe yourself in three words.

Macx in three words, “Is The Man”. I’m just joking, here are three words: Determined, Powerful, Relaxed.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Nathan Smith(designed his own, then made it himself)
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France their 2015 suits
Favourite shooting range: Nove Mesto
Lucky bib number: 99
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Christian Gow
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Martin Fourcade
Best thing about being a biathlete: the lifestyle, exercise, travel and friends.

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Some Scheduling Suggestions!

schedule

Some of my readers and I have been wondering lately why biathlon has a World Championships every year? We have the Olympic Games every four years and in the three years between there is always a World Championships in biathlon. I had not really considered it much before last season but with the IBU deciding to have two races in North America followed by the World Championships in Norway it got me thinking.

As you will know some biathletes chose to skip one or both of the World Cups in Canmore and Presque Isle to concentrate on the chances of doing well in Oslo at the World Championships. This wasn’t very good for the hosts of these World Cups as you want as many of the best biathletes competing to give the sport more coverage and a boost in popularity in other countries. It also wasn’t good for the biathletes whose minds would no doubt wander to thoughts of gold medals elsewhere and worry that all the long haul travel might affect their preparations.

So what could be done to resolve this? Well just in case I am ever in charge of the IBU (it could happen!) I thought about what I would do. Firstly I would make the World Championships every 2 years. For example for the next cycle you would have the Olympics in 2018, the World Champs in 2019, a break in 2020, a World Champs in 2021 and then the Olympics again in 2022. Not only that I would also change the World Cup schedule itself – that’s right I would be a sweeping reformer!!

Currently we start the season in Oestersund then go to Hochfilzen and Pokljuka before Christmas. Recent years have seen a lack of snow at the start of the season so I would start in Russia. Either Tyumen or Khanty Mansiysk could host the opening round as they are more likely to have snow. It also gets the longest journey out of the way when the biathletes are freshest. The second round can go to Antholz and the third remain in Pokljuka.

After Christmas we normally go to Oberhof and then Ruhpolding followed by Antholz. Sorry Germans I know biathlon is massive there but it is growing in many other places now so you would get one World Cup rotated between Oberhof one year and Ruhpolding the next. Round 5 would go to Nove Mesto which has to become a permanent fixture on the World Cup due to its huge popularity and amazing World Cup from the season before last. Round 6 switches to Hochfilzen. All three countries border each other therefore minimising travel time and costs.

The final three rounds would be a tour of Scandinavia with Round 7 in Kontiolahti, round 8 in Oestersund and the final round in Oslo. Again all counties that border each other. I know what you are thinking. What about Canmore, Presque Isle, Annecy and the other countries that can host biathlon like Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Poland to name a few? Fear not I have a cunning plan for that!

The year that there would be no World Championships in my schedule would be the year where we could boldly go where no biathlete has gone before, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations! Oh no, wait a minute, that’s the opening to Star Trek but Captain Kirk had the right idea!

In a season without a World Championships we could probably squeeze in 3 more World Cup rounds. So you could potentially have 3 World Cups across Canada and America or even further afield in Asia possibly Korea, Japan and China. You could also mix and match the established World Cup rounds with others in for example Annecy, Otepaa, Cheile Gradistei, Bansko or Brezno-Orsblie.

You could point out that usually there are only 3 or 4 people who are capable of winning the Overall biathlon title so if there is no World Championships what incentive is there for the other biathletes. Well there is also the possibility in the free year of having a “Tour de Biathlon”-I came up with that name and idea myself, I have not copied it from anywhere!!! 😉

You could take three or four venues that are not too far apart and hold a series of races across them with a nice cash incentive for the winners of each event and the overall tour. You could even throw in some classic ski races like in olden times biathlon and also some pure shooting knockout competitions as well as team events. These are just suggestions there could be many ways of doing it.

So there you have it, an alternative biathlon season. Obviously there are probably many reasons of money, sponsorships deals and logistics that might not make such ideas feasible but as I still don’t work for the IBU (but it really could happen!) they are not my problem!! If anyone from the IBU is reading this you can copy it if you like although you will have to use the name “The Tour de Biathlon23!!”

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2015/16!!!

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It’s back! That’s right the Biathlon23 awards are now in their third year! And guess what Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won one!! Only joking biathlon is a lot harder than surviving a CGI bear attack! 😉 As usual they are not your typical awards and there are a few new categories too. Obviously the same rigorous system was used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree!

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
Last year’s post that was read by the most people was about an American.This year it is a Brit. It’s great to see the growing interest in the smaller biathlon nations where most of the population haven’t heard of the sport let alone who competes in it. This lady especially deserves your support as she was all alone this season on the Women’s World Cup as Britain’s only female representative.
Winner: Amanda Lightfoot

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:

“Tarjei Boe Marine” : Someone has taken RamBoe too seriously!
“Simon Fourcade’s diet”: Snails and frogs legs mostly! 😉
“Johannes Boe why pink rifle”: My sentiments exactly!
“Benjamin Eder”, “Manuela Goessner”, “Galina Schwaiger”: My favourite biathletes!
“Martin and Simon Fourcade warfare”: I knew they didn’t like each other really!
“where is Laura Dahlmeier?”: I don’t know I haven’t seen her!
“funny welle strand horn”: I think there is a Norwegian biathlete in there somewhere!
” olgan of awesome race 2015″: erm ….!
Winner:”Emil Hegle Svendsen secret weapon”: It’s the amazing hair! It’s dandruff free you know. 😉

Best Facial hair:
I wanted to give this to the magnificent beard of Martin Johnsrud Sundby and then I remembered he isn’t a biathlete! Damn you Sundby! The biathlon beards seem to have been quite absent this season. Martin Fourcade was growing a beard for a bet, not shaving until he shot clean. He cheated and shaved it before he shot clean though and that kind of attitude does not win you awards Monsieur! The winner kept his beard all through the season and through dancing with Russian media and film making with the Norwegians!
Winner:Max Davies

Best earrings:
There were many contenders this year. Everyone seems to be wearing them now. They are probably trying to win this award! Kaisa Makarainen had nice ones as did Olena Pidhrushna and many others. This year however the winner is someone who has gone for patriotism, and has more than one pair, with earrings in red, white and green.
Winner: Dorothea Wierer

Nicest person in biathlon:
I was really tempted to give this to last year’s winner again Jean-Gui Beatrix because he was nice enough to do an interview for me although it took him ages!! However he failed to acknowledge the role of this interview in getting him his first ever World Cup win in Pokljuka! That’s not nice! The winner has in fact done 2 interviews for my blog already and I am sure he will do more if I ask. He always remains positive even in a team struggling for finance and did I mention the most important fact – he is Scottish!! 😉
Winner: Scott Dixon

Best Team Performance:
A difficult choice this season. France were strong contenders for their World Championship results. Norway won both Relay golds in Oslo. However I expect that kind of stuff from those teams. What I didn’t expect was a small biathlon nation to go and win a bronze medal in the Men’s Relay. An exceptional performance from all four biathletes when everything just went right on the day. Excellent shooting and cool heads from Brendan Green, Nathan Smith, Scott Gow and Christian Gow.
Winner: Canadian Men’s Relay Team

Biggest Improver:
This year’s award goes to someone who has made a big impression in Season 2015/16. He has gone under the radar until now possibly because of the strong results of his teammates. His best result last season on the World Cup was a 15th place. His best result this season was 5th. His best performance at a World Championships previously was 57th. This season is was also 5th. His shooting has been amazing this season and if he keeps improving it won’t be long until we see him on the podium. Arguably the strongest male biathlete on the Czech Team this season.
Winner:Michal Krcmar

Best fall:
We don’t like to see biathletes fall. That’s a total lie we love it as long as they don’t get hurt! This year’s victor went all out to get this award. In Presque Isle he came to the bottom of a slope on a corner and went straight into a tree and got concussion. Raising the bar and proving that if you don’t go to hospital you won’t win this award!
Winner:Arnd Peiffer

Best quote in a press conference/interview:
One year this award won’t go to one of the Boe brothers but it won’t be this year! Tarjei strikes again winning this for the second year in a row. Commenting on younger brother Johannes winning two races and getting a second place in Presque Isle he said “I’m glad Fourcade beat him yesterday or he would be flying already over the Atlantic Ocean!”
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ_x4JT2W-Y
Winner:Tarjei Boe

Best biathlon video:
There are a lot of biathletes making videos of training and they are really good. The French do the most with Antonin Guigonnat, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Alexis Beouf all posting some good stuff. This inaugural award however doesn’t go to a biathlete at all. It goes to a TV station and reporter for his amazing explanation of biathlon in song with some help from the Norwegian biathletes!
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThZRndkxA-E
Winner:NRK and Nicolay Ramm

Best World Cup Round:
The World Cup was a bit different this season as we missed Oberhof for lack of snow and had 2 rounds in Ruhpolding. In Khanty Mansiysk 2 races were cancelled due to strong winds and there were problems with snow elsewhere. One place that had no problems with snow or weather and hosted a great World Cup round with good organisation and the beautiful backdrop of the Three Sisters (the mountains not the Gasparins!). We haven’t been there for a while but hopefully we will go back soon!
Winner: Canmore

Best rifle design:
Another tough category this year but it comes down to two. Selina Gasparin with her rifle of flames which was designed in a competition and Anton Shipulin’s dragon rifle. Both are very cool and any other season Gasparin would have had this award but come on his rifle is carved like a dragon!A DRAGON!!!
Winner:Anton Shipulin

Most ridiculous rifle colour:
Some advice for you Johannes, pink and ginger clash my friend. The gold was good last season but pink! It ‘s not even a nice shade of pink! What were you thinking?
Winner: Johannes Thingnes Boe

Best ski suit:
There were actually very few contenders for this award but Great Britain put out a good design as usual and I do like Estonia’s too. The Norwegians have finally taken my advice and added some extra colour to the red with their excellent World Championships suit. However the winner I think represents their country well. Classic white and blue with a swirling pattern within the blue sections which I hope depicts the many lakes of the country in question.
Winner:Finland

Worst ski suit:
On my God! Where do I even start with this one. It was like the designers had a competition to see who could come up with the worst suit. This is such a difficult decision but let’s look at the “offenders”. First Russia with the weird pixelated trousers. Followed by Sweden and the Ukraine with the weird pixelated trousers. Then came America with the weird pixelated trousers and also the colours of orange and purple which on TV made them look like Russia! The cold war begins again! Canada didn’t want to miss out either with their tribute to “Where’s Wally (Waldo)? So I didn’t like a lot of the suits this season but for my initial reaction to the this one (“what the hell is it that?”) and contrasting it with the greatness of their previous suit I chose the winner – or more appropriately the loser. Blue with what looks like a red, white and yellow attack by an out of control marker pen!
Winner:France

Best vocal performance:
There weren’t many to choose from this season! Maybe Gabi was too busy winning the Overall Title to do any singing. However we did get some nice seasonal songs at Christmas from someone that I didn’t even know could sing.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ_x4JT2W-Y
Winner:Clare Egan

Rising star:
This young lady is, at 19-years-old, an up and coming talent in the French Team and that is a pretty difficult thing to do as they have a lot of very good biathletes. Her previous best result on the World Cup was 14th place and this season she improved that to 4th. She won a silver medal with the Women’s Relay Team at the World Championships and has achieved 8 Top 20 finishes on the World Cup. She is an excellent shot and I expect her to get her first World Cup podium next season.
Winner:Justine Braisaz

Best biathlete23:
A straight fight between two Frenchmen! Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade. QFM was the first biathlete in bib23 this season and provided a photo of the bib which I stole for my profile picture! He was also 4th which was the best result until the World Championships where Fourcade won gold in bib23 in the Individual. A difficult choice but – I love gold!!!
Winner: Martin Fourcade

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
Another impossible task to choose a winner. Martin Fourcade’s Individual at the World Championships, Johannes Boe’s Mass Start gold medal, Ole Einar and Marie Dorin Habert in Oslo are just a few. We also had great races in the Mass Starts from Jean Guillaume Beatrix, Dominik Windisch and especially Erik Lesser in Ruhpolding. The award is going to a woman who didn’t have a great season but when under maximum pressure she delivered. At her home World Championships in front of the King she shot 10/10 and won the gold medal in the Sprint. She is brave and never gives up and is amazing at handling huge pressure.
Winner:Tiril Eckhoff

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
This award should go to Martin Fourcade. He won the Overall Title for the 5th time in a row and 4 gold medals at the World Championships. But then you have 42-year-old Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who won a race on the World Cup and 4 World Championship medals. The award is not going to either of them though. It’s going to a woman who worked hard all season, was very consistent and raced in a more competitive field. She won the Overall Title for the first time for herself and her country and also took 3 of the 4 small globes. Most importantly she did it all with a smile on her face!
Winner:Gabriela Soukalova

IPC biathlete of the Year:
The Russian’s won every single category on the World Cup in biathlon this season so it’s no surprise that the award goes to a Russian. The men’s standing category is very competitive just now and the winner was pushed all the way by a rapidly improving Benjamin Daviet of France and only won the title in the final race of the season in Vuokatti in Finland.
Winner:Vladislav Lekomtsev

Youth/Junior Biathlete of the Year:
Yet another tough decision. At World Juniors Felix Leitner and Hannah Oberg both took double gold. Viktar Kryuko did the same in the European Juniors. In the Youth category Harald Oeygard won 2 gold and 1 bronze medal. Igor Malinovskii and Viacheslav Maleev won a gold medal and 2 silvers each. Karoline Erdal won medals as did Emilie Kalkenberg, Alina Pantova and Marina Sauter. However I have to give this award to someone who won bronze, silver and gold at the World Junior Championships taking his total up to an historic 10 Youth/Junior titles. He has also been competing and doing very well on the World Cup all season with a top finish of 13th in his home World Cup in Presque Isle.
Winner:Sean Doherty

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Biathlete23: Season Review 2015/16

biathlete23GOLD

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

In the first year the total for the men and the women was 802 and last year the total was 948. Excellent a bit of progress! Not this season however. Biathlete23 in 2015/16 had a bit of a “Tiril Eckhoff” season. Full of early promise, mostly disappointment but ending in surprising success!

That’s right Biathlete23 got off to a promising start in Oestersund with Quentin Fillon Maillet wearing 23 in the first race. He also shared a photo of his bib and rifle as he was so excited to be number 23! 😉 He was 4th and the other biathletes also did well meaning we left Sweden with 149 points.

In Hochfilzen Anton Shipulin also got 4th and 2 of the 3 others scored points to make a decent total of 85. Pokljuka wasn’t a great success with 48 points and a top result of 18th from Julian Eberhard.

World Cup 4 in Ruhpolding was better with Susan Dunklee getting a 6th place finish with the others making up 95 points. The second round in Ruhpolding yielded 70 points with another top finish of 6th this time from Evgeniy Garanichev. Antholz was a good round with Anais Bescond in 4th and a points total of 83.

Canmore wasn’t great for bib23 with only 51 points and a best finish of 22nd from Karin Oberhofer. In Presque Isle there was just one more point with 52 and a finish of 15th for Andi Birnbacher.

So biathlete23 went into the World Championships in Oslo with confidence pretty low and in the first 5 races only scored points in one race with Anton Babikov taking 21st place. This led to some pretty desperate action from the coach who decided to change the Twitter hashtag from #biathlete23 to #biathletevingttrois hoping to steal a little of the French success.

It was of course a masterstroke! The coach is a genius! Who got bib23 in the Men’s Individual –Martin Fourcade! I knew there was a very good chance of a medal and Fourcade didn’t let me down! Even though he missed one target he skied his heart out to make sure that biathlete23 would claim their first ever medal at a major Championships and that medal was GOLD!!! Let’s just say there was a lot of celebrating in the biathlete23 camp that evening! 😉

With that success and a few more good results afterwards the points total from Oslo was 113. So it was on to the final World Cup Round in Khanty Mansiysk . Unfortunately things went back to normal there and there was only 1 points scorer from the 4 races which was Alexey Slepov in 27th place!

So in the end the total points score was 760. The Men scored 436 points which would have put them in 18th place in the Total Score between Lowell Bailey and Michal Slesingr. The Women’s points total was 324 making them 25th in the Total Score between Selina Gasparin and Maren Hammerschmidt.

Overall it’s not been a great World Cup season for biathlete23. It’s the tricky third season on the World Cup that all biathletes suffer from! 😉 Fortunately a gold medal can save anyone’s season! Biathlete23 will have a nice holiday and then a hard summer of training to come back better next season! Hopefully we can beat the points total and get some wins on the board. We also have a new unofficial ambassador (unpaid position) Quentin Fillon Maillet to work with Brendan Green! Merci for the photo QFM!!!

For the full results see the biathlete23 page on this blog.

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