Tag Archives: Polish biathlon

Tobias Torgersen: The Interview!

Tobias Torgersen is the new head coach of the Polish Women’s biathlon team. The Norwegian had a successful Junior career as a biathlete before moving into coaching working with clubs in Oslo and Lillehammer as well as in Switzerland. Before taking his new role the 34-year-old was coach of the Swedish Junior Team.

You can follow Tobias on Twitter: @tobiastorgersen

You competed in biathlon as a Junior. Why did you become a biathlete and why did you stop?

My godfather was national team coach in Norway in the 80`s. He was always an inspiration to me. Plus it appealed to me after watching it on TV like other sports could not.

I stopped after having various health and injury problems from 19-23 years of age, including asthma, heart problems and some serious cuts and broken bones.

When did you become a coach and why did you want to do it?

In the Spring of 2006, just after finishing my career and my studies to be a coach at the sports university in Oslo. I guess I felt that I had “unfinished business” in this sport. And I love the excitement that top-level sports bring.


Who were your coaches when you were a biathlete? What did you learn from them that you now use as a coach?

I had many different inspiring coaches. But Knut Tore Berland taught me a lot about taking responsibility for the goals you set.

You have a new job working with the Polish women’s team. How is that going so far? What have you already done with them and what are the plans for the rest of the summer?

In my eyes it is going really well! We have a lot of fun, and train really well and hard. We are now in Ramsau on our fourth camp (this was in July). Here we got some kilometres on the skis together with the normal summer training. We also had a cycling camp in Mallorca, shooting camp in Kracow, and a camp “at home” in Duszniki-Zdroj. Next on the plan is the Blink Festival in Norway before a camp in my home town of Oslo.

How much time do you spend with the biathletes? Do you send them a programme to work through alone or do you see/speak to them every day?

I see them on all the camps of course which is around two weeks every month. And then I follow up the athletes individual programs in the breaks between camps on email and the phone. How often varies a lot with the individuals, and what kind of training they are doing.


Are you excited about working on the World Cup and going to the Olympic Games? Are you feeling any extra pressure for this season?


Of course there is extra pressure in an Olympic season. This is also my first head-coaching job. But I always focus on the excitement part, and not the pressure.

Do you enjoy thinking up new ways of training and new drills? Is it hard to keep things fresh and interesting for the biathletes?

Of course! I think most coaches do. The important thing is to find the correct mix of new ideas, and doing what you know will give results.


Obviously you physically train the biathletes but do you do a lot of mental work with them too? If so what kind of things?

I would not call it specific mental-training, but we have a lot of talks about how to think and what to focus on at what time. I try to put my athletes in many competition simulations to make them comfortable with these situations.

What do you do before, during and after a race as a coach?

This totally varies depending on what kind of staff we have. I quite often join the wax-team for the ski test.
During the race I like to mix it up between being on the shooting range and on the track. You will hear me loud on the toughest sections of the track! 😉
After the race the main thing is to have a quick evaluation with the athletes and wax team. And then start planning the next race.

Did your rifle have a name?

Hehe, she did actually. Celina. After a childhood friend of mine. A fun coincidence that I would later coach Selina Gasparin. No connection.

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic, Genuine, Emotional

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation: (not your own) Now it is Poland. Not just because I work here now, but because of the great atmosphere we have in the team and the warm welcome I have received from the girls and the staff.
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Elisa Gasparin’s “Swiss Mountains”
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy. They always bring nice new designs. Especially the blue and white coaches clothes!
Favourite biathlon venue: Holmenkollen, I grew up 10 minutes from the arena. But Antholz is also amazing!
Favourite biathlete: Michael Rösch. We competed as juniors, and he has been a friend ever since. And you just have to respect a man who has been fighting so hard to get back like he has. He dares to be different, and wears his emotions on the outside.
Funniest coach on the World/IBU/Junior Cup: Jean-Pierre Amat of France. The most clever smile, and maybe the best shooting coach!
Nicest coach on the World/IBU/Junior Cup: So many nice ones! But I loved working with Johan Hagström, Matias Nilsson and Anna Maria Nilsson of Sweden for the last three years! Also Anders Brun Hennum of Norway is a close personal friend!
Best thing about being a coach: To be a part of the development of an ambitious athlete that tries their hardest to reach their full potential.

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Monika Hojnisz: The Interview!

hojnisz

Monika Hojnisz is a Polish biathlete who was born on the 27th of August 1991 in Chorzów. Monika made her international debut in 2007. She has won medals at the World Championships, the Open European Championships and the Universiade. Her best result on the World Cup is 4th place and she came 26th in the Total Score last season which is her highest finish to date.

Like her Facebook Page: Monika Hojnisz – Oficjalna Strona

Why did you become a biathlete?

Biathlon was not my favourite sport when I was young but I used to try a lot of different kinds of sports, for example swimming, handball, running, light athletics! When I was twelve years old I tried to step on skis for the first time. Next I had contact with the rifle and I started my first race! I think that the main reason why I became a biathlete was competition, adrenaline, pressure and the fight. 🙂

You got your best result last season in Canmore in the Sprint. Can you describe the race? Were you happy with last season overall?

I was feeling great over the snow. 🙂 It was an easy ski for me. I was lucky and happy. In spite of these feelings I don’t remember too much.

You won a World Championship bronze medal in 2013 in the Nove Mesto Mass Start. What was it like? Do you remember how you felt during and after the race?

It was my first mass start at such big event as the World Championships so before the race I was really nervous but I knew that I needed to do my best. And… I did it!!! I remember only my last loop when I was third and nobody was behind me! My only dream was to see the finish line! At the finish I couldn’t believe it … but I will never forget that day.

Poland has a really strong women’s team at the moment. Why do you think you are doing so well? Will you miss Weronika Nowakowska this season?

Weronika was a strong part of our team but now she is a happy mother of two boys and she will miss this season. But I believe that we will still fight for good, high places. 🙂

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

The main training has been cycling, roller skiing, shooting, long walking in the mountains, and from time to time skiing in the Oberhof tunnel to have some contact with the skis.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength – no stress – I think it helps me during my race.
My weakness – sometimes I’m much too lazy.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to keep my focus on shooting. I know that this is an important point to be on the top, and I know that I can still improve my shooting level.

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

I love training in Obertilliach! There is a beautiful view and a lot of places to do good training!

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

Tarjei Boe- just!!! I can’t explain my choice. 😛

Does your rifle have a name?

NO

Describe yourself in three words.

Shy, helpful, a little bit lazy and I love coffee!

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norwegian Team
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Martin Fourcade
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Switzerland
Favourite shooting range: Pokljuka
Lucky bib number: 25 – It was my start number in Nove Mesto
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Boe Brothers
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Gabriela Soukalova
Best thing about being a biathlete:I can visit a lot of wonderful places

Mateusz Janik: The Interview

janik

This week’s young biathlete is Poland’s Mateusz Janik. He was born on the 20th of November 1995 and has already taken part in 3 Youth/Junior World Championships. His best result came last year in Presque Isle where he finished 11th in the pursuit race. He also made his World Cup debut last season and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do in Raubichi.

You can follow Mateusz on Twitter: @mateuszjnk

As a Polish sportsman did you ever want to be like Adam Malysz and become a ski jumper? Why did you become a biathlete?

Not really, of course I admire Adam Malysz for his achievements, but I never wanted to be a ski jumper. When I was 10 years old, I started skiing, but the first time when I had the opportunity to shoot, I was 13 years old. My coach took me to train with a group of biathletes and gave me a rifle. To be able to shoot it was a very cool experience, but then I didn’t expect that this would begin my adventure with biathlon. Later, I went to train with a group of biathletes and so it remained.

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

Of course, it is difficult to reconcile study to training, but I have my priorities: first, training, and then the rest of the things. Then I don’t have too many problems with it. Between the camps, when I have some free time, I spend it with family and friends. Of course, like anyone my age, I would like to party, but as I said earlier, “first, training, and then the rest of the things,” so after the season, I find the time for the parties with my friends.

Will you be competing in Raubichi in the World Youth/Junior Championships? What is the selection criteria for your country?

Junior World Championships in Raubichi is for me the most important race of the season, and I am mainly preparing for them. Because of the results of the previous year, I do not have to qualify for this event and for the European Championships. In Poland, about who would go to these events, depends on the qualification of the Polish Cup in biathlon, and the decision of the junior team coach.

Do you receive any funding? If not how do you pay for equipment, travel etc?

The Polish Biathlon Association finance entirely the camps, traveling and all equipment (skis, boots, poles etc.) for the Polish Junior Team, so I don’t have any problems with it.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a biathlete?

The best thing is the ability to stand on the podium. This is an incredible feeling that I can’t describe, and the worst thing is the long stays away from home, but it is not a big problem for me because I really like to stay in the camps.

If you could steal one characteristic from another biathlete, what would it be, who from and why?

I really want to have the self-confidence like Martin Fourcade. At each start he is always confident and knows what he can do. It is this characteristic which I am often missing from the competition.

What would you like to change about biathlon? (the rules, equipment, schedule etc).

I really like biathlon as it is and I don’t want anything changed, however I like the competition such as in Moscow or summer Blink Festival and it would be cool if such competitions were organized more and for more biathletes.

Who is your role model? (in biathlon or in general)

I admire Michael Jordan for his achievements and his lifestyle.

What’s your typical day like?

I get up at 7 in the morning, I do gymnastics, then eat breakfast, short break and I go to the first training. I go back, quick shower, dinner, after-dinner nap and then a second training. When I come back I take a shower, then I eat supper and after supper I have free time for surfing the internet and other things. And about 22 I go to sleep.

Do you have any hobbies outside of sport?

I play the violin in my family folk band. I also really like to listen to music.

Does your rifle have a name?

No. I think that it is not necessary.

Describe yourself in three words.

Nervous, determined and stubborn

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Oslo-Holmenkollen

Favourite biathlete (past or present): Emil Hegle Svendsen

Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Sprint

Favourite/best race of your career so far?: Summer Junior World Championships Tyumen 2014 Sprint race: 2nd place

Favourite food: Spaghetti Bolognese

Favourite singer/band: I like all kinds of music

Favourite film:
The Expendables

Favourite sports team: Miami Heat

Favourite TV show: I don’t like and I don’t watch tv shows

Gwizdon:In Pole position.

gwizdon

Winner of the Sprint race in Sochi last season Magdalena Gwizdoń laid down a marker for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. She followed that up with a 5th place in the Individual the same weekend. She obviously liked the track and was good form around the time the Games will take place next year.

Magdalena Gwizdoń was born in Cieszyn, Poland on the 4th of August 1979. She has already represented her country in two Olympic Games with her best result coming in 2006 when she finished 7th in the relay. Last year was probably her best season in biathlon since 2006/7. During that season she appeared 3 times on the podium winning her first World Cup race, the Sprint event, in Oestersund and performed admirably in her debut Olympics.

Last season she achieved four Top 6 finishes including those great results in Sochi and meant that she finished 15th in the Total Score just one place behind her compatriot Krystyna Palka. She finished just outside the Top Ten in 11th place in the Sprint standing which judging by past results is her best event. A 12th place finish in the Individual,16th in the Pursuit and 21st in the Mass Start standing helped Poland to a 7th place finish in the Nation’s Cup.

As a member of the Polish military she was also eligible to take part in the CISM World Winter Games in Annecy at the end of the World Cup season. The Polish ladies sprint team finished 5th with Magdalena finishing 25th individually. Overall the Polish women’s team performed very well last season winning 2 medals at the World Championships in Nove Mesto. Unfortunately Magdalena didn’t win one but her vast experience is bound to have played a part in helping Palka and Monika Hojnisz in their success.

At the age of 34 Gwizdon is coming towards the end of her career. Like many of the other women competitors in biathlon she seems to have saved her best form for last. It was over 6 years between her 2 World Cup victories and she is producing some of the best performances of her career now. Hopefully she will continue this form into the new season and I would love her to see her in Pole position to get a medal in Sochi as just reward for all her hard work and dedication over her long career.

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