Tag Archives: Raphaël Poirée

Johannes Kühn: The Interview!

Johannes Kühn is a German biathlete. He was born in Passau on the 19th of November 1991. His Junior career was pretty successful winning 4 gold medals and 2 silver. Last year was his best so far on the World Cup finishing 28th in the Total Score and achieving a personal best finish of 5th. He also qualified and competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Like his Facebook Page: Johannes Kühn – Biathlon https://www.facebook.com/johannes.kuhn.37/

Why did you become a biathlete?

When I was young I played soccer and started with cross-country skiing.
One year later I switched from cross-country to biathlon and stayed there. 😉 I played soccer for several years but I was never that good. 😉


You got your career best result of 5th in the Antholz Mass Start. What are your memories from that race and how did you feel at the end?

I was happy after the race, for sure. 🙂 It was the last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games, that made it even more special!
I remember very well the last lap with Benni (Doll) and great emotions at the finish!

Last year was your first full season racing on the World Cup and your results improved a lot. What made the difference last season?

It was also my first season after my last injury so I did not know what to expect from the season. I think I had a good start and my shooting was most of the time better than the previous years.

You also qualified for the Olympics for the first time. What was that experience like?

The experience was great there, the team was very successful and I could start in a race. That was great, on the other side compared to World Cup races the atmosphere was not that good in the stadium.

What is it like having Andi Stitzl at the side of the tracks when you are racing? Can you even understand what he is saying when he is shouting and running at the same time? 😉

It is motivating most of the time. 😉 If you feel bad and he tells you the start was too slow… then it is not good. 😀
Yes usually it is good to understand, just at some certain places like Birxstieg it is hard to understand someone.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan up until December?

We have been on some camps, including one cycling camp which I have never done before, but it was nice in the south of France.
Then we had the German Championships and now the final preparation towards the winter is on. Soon we will go to Sjusjoen for our last camp before the races.

What are your goals for this season?

My goal is to ski like last year and improve my shooting.

Do you have any hobbies away from biathlon?

Soccer, Mountain Bike, Cinema.

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

My favourite track is Obertilliach, I like the atmosphere, the people and the village there.

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

Mh… I think Raphael Poiree or Emil Hegle Svendsen because I like their style of skiing.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Tall, funny, realistic.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): The blue Italian suit.
Favourite shooting range: Osrblie
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Benni Doll
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Mario Dolder because of Bankso 2013.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Doing what you love and travelling around the world.

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Valera Patotski: The Interview!

Photo Credit: Tumashov/IBU

Valera Patotski is a biathlon journalist who works for the IBU. He covers the Junior Cup and Youth/Junior World Championships. He is Russian but lives in Norway which are about the best credentials you can have for covering biathlon! Currently finishing his journalism degree he is the mastermind behind the IBU Junior Twitter and Snapchat accounts and also contributes to the IBU magazine.

Follow Valera on Twitter: @ValeraPatotski
And on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valera.patotski/

Why do you love biathlon?
I think I could write a book on why I love biathlon, there are so many reasons, but mainly; because the sport is so unpredictable, everything can change in a matter of seconds. All the different disciplines, which is extremely fun to watch.
And the engaging community.

Can you describe your typical day when you are working at the Junior Cup?

I wake up, check social media for updates, comments, stats. Then I eat breakfast and rush to the stadium. I arrive at the stadium in advance of the athletes so I can prepare for the upcoming training or competition. Upon arriving I already have a plan on what I want to produce and how I want to do it. When the first athletes are arriving I leave the press centre and start producing content for Snapchat and Twitter. Often videos need editing so during zeroing I regroup at the press centre to edit and upload the content. Then I run out for the competitions and continue to produce content. After competitions I do interviews. When everyone has left the stadium I head back to the hotel, and usually continue with video concept shooting or writing from the hotel bed. Sometimes the day ends with some billiards or table tennis with the athletes. More or less this is a typical day for me.

Do you have a favourite/memorable race(s) that you have covered? Why was it special?

The Single mixed relay in JOECH 2018 is the most memorable one. It was just a very intense and close battle for the podium. What made the competition so special is that France who crossed the finish line first was disqualified due to Emilien Claude using one extra spare round during his last shooting.

My favourite competition is the youth relay from YJWCH 2018. Just a super exciting competition that ended with Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg beating Finland’s Heidi Nikkinen for the gold medal at the finish line.

Who should we be watching next season from the Juniors? Any big stars in the making?

In fact, many. I have seen a lot of talented young athletes, and I am confident that soon some of them will shine on the big stage. I would point out Emilien Claude, Igor Malinovskii, Elvira Oeberg and Sophia Schneider. They are all very skilled biathletes with a great future ahead of them.

I also would like to add that it is very cool that we see more and more Juniors and first year seniors at the World Cup.

Which biathlete would you really love to interview and what would you ask them?

I would love to do a 5-hour interview with Martin Fourcade. To try to understand his mind set a little bit better. I think he is mentally two steps above his competitors.
Poor Martin! 😉

There is a lot more coverage of biathlon on social media now. Do you enjoy that side of it or do you prefer writing articles?

The IBU became more visible on social media in 2016 and I feel very honoured that I took part in that “renovation”. I enjoy working with social media it is a very different way of bringing biathlon to the people. If I had to pick a side between social media and classic articles, I would go with social media.

You are still a student. What would you like to do in the future?

I still have one year left of my bachelor in journalism. When I’m finished I would like to continue working with winter sport and social media.

When I am IBU President and you are my Vice President (VP the VP!) what would you like to see change in biathlon?

I wish there were more races on the calendar as I cannot get enough of biathlon.

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

I have to go with Pokljuka here, I have been there two times. They have a great stadium and usually great weather. The staff who work with hosting the competitions are very professional and kind.

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

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, he was one of the reasons I started following biathlon back in 2007. I remember him beating Raphael Poiree when I attended in my first ever biathlon competition. It was quite something!

If you had a rifle what would you call it?

Shakespeare

Describe yourself in three words

confident, funny, empathetic

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Biathlon family
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Marketa Davidova
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): all-time favourite Norway (2016), but currently Czech Republic has a great ski suit design.
Funniest biathlete: Tom Lahaye
Nicest biathlete: Joscha Burkhalter
Best media centre: Holmenkollen
Favourite biathlon journalist (not yourself!): Rene Denfeld and Giulio Gasparin, you cannot have one without the other. You mean like Tweedledum and Tweedledee? 😉
Best thing about being a biathlon journalist: Travel around the world, original right?

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A long way to Malysh-GO!!!

malyshko

You would assume that Dmitry Malyshko has been on the World Cup for a long time now but in fact he only made his debut in 2011. At 28 he is reaching his prime as a biathlete and it will be a big season coming up for him. Born in Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad region of Russia, Dmitry is now an established member of the Russian national team.

He enjoyed early success on the World Cup stage as he got his first podium in his first season with a third place finish in Kontiolahti. His second season 2012/13 was his best so far as he won twice doing the double in the Oberhof Sprint and Pursuit races. He also took two second place results that season in the Hochfilzen Pursuit and the Ruhpolding Mass Start. He narrowly missed out on a medal in the Nove Mesto World Championships coming in fourth in both the Pursuit and the Relay. Despite not getting a medal it was an impressive season for him and he finished 8th in the Total Score in only his second year on the World Cup.

Since then however his results have not been so good. Of course he was part of the relay team which won gold on home soil in the Sochi Olympic Games and it was a fantastic performance along with teammates Anton Shipulin, Alexey Volkov and Evgeny Ustyugov. Individually however the best he could do in Sochi was 20th in the Mass Start. He did get a couple of 4th place finishes on the World Cup too but no podiums.

Last season he returned to the podium once with third place in the Oberhof Mass Start but he didn’t enjoy a good World Championships in Kontiolahti with his best result there a 34th place in the Sprint. Compared to his teammate Anton Shipulin he didn’t have a successful season. As a Russian biathlete you have massive pressure on your shoulders to do well as there are a lot of other athletes in line to take your place.

Dmitry has shown however that he does have the talent to match the results of compatriot Shipulin but he seems to lack the consistency of his teammate. He seems to perform well as part of the Relay team but needs to show that form more often individually. Shipulin has been criticised for training away from the rest of the Russian team but it hasn’t done him any harm looking at last season’s performances. Maybe Malyshko could try a similar tactic as he needs to do something to help his chances. His ski speed last year was down on previous years and his shooting stats were outside of the TOP 20 men on the tour.

As a young man he looked up to biathletes such as Bjoerndalen, Poiree, Fischer and Cherezov. The consistency of Cherezov is what he should be trying to emulate. He could also take inspiration from the others in the way that they were not afraid to try different training methods, take risks and to try new things. He missed one World Cup round last season but that doesn’t account for his worst ever finish in the Total Score of 31st.

Dmitry has a big season ahead of him. If he could recapture his form of 2 years ago he will be back challenging at the front of the biathlon field. He is very capable of doing this as he is a really talented biathlete. He needs to take some inspiration from what Shipulin has achieved and have the self belief to know that he can perform at a similar level to his teammate. It’s imperative that he improves next season as places in the Russian team are very hard to keep. However I have faith that he can do it because anyone who describes their favourite food as good steak and potatoes has a long way to Malysh-GO!!!

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Martin Femsteinevik: The Interview

femsteinevik

Today’s subject is young Norwegian biathlete Martin Femsteinevik. He was born on the 16th of February 1994 and took part in last year’s Youth/Junior World Championships where he achieved a best placed finish of 5th in the Junior Men’s Individual race. He is obviously very passionate about biathlon and is a pretty inspirational young man as you will soon read!

You can follow Martin on Twitter: @MFemsteinevik

Biathlon is really popular in Norway and therefore really competitive. Why did you want to be a biathlete and how hard is it to get into the team?

I tried biathlon for the first time when I was 6 years old. My dad had a biathlon rifle from when he was young, and I got to try it then. After those shots I really thought this was fun, and it was something I wanted to do more of. So when I was 7 years old (almost 8) I started to compete in biathlon races. After the first race I was so happy and satisfied that I wanted to continue my career. And after that it has just become more and more biathlon for me.
I got another motivational boost were I really said to myself that I want to be among the best biathletes in the world when I was 13.5 years old. At that time I was diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer) and one of the first things I thought and said to myself was that I am gonna get through this, and come back to biathlon to be one of the best athletes in the world. And I think that when I was sick I saved up so much motivation to come back to biathlon that I could go on for many more years.

It is really hard to get into the Norwegian national team in biathlon. There are many good athletes in Norway that have never been on a national team, but still could have been high on the lists in the IBU cup or even taken points in the World cup. Because of this top Norwegian biathletes always try to become better and develop both their strong and weak sides. This means that Norwegian biathlon still can be really good for more years.

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?

This season is the first season I am not attending any school. So it will be a new experience for me. In the last seasons I have attended a secondary school were we had training between lessons four times a week. This has really helped me, both with getting through my education with some motivation to perform well in school, and to make me a better biathlete.
Outside biathlon I do not have a social life like other persons of my age. I come from a really small place in the western part of Norway, and most of my friends are or have been biathletes. So I´m social with friends at competitions and training camps. Some might say that I am losing something when I´m so dedicated to my sport, but for me biathlon is life and therefore I think that I´m not losing anything.

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

I have some local companies that are funding me, but I also take some of the cost myself. However the Norwegian biathlon union has a lot of money, so when we are traveling to training camps with the national junior team NSSF pays the travel, accommodation and food. And also when competing in Junior World Champs IBU cup or World Cup NSSF pays for everything. So that means that you do not have to be really rich to be a biathlete in Norway.
When it comes to equipment athletes on national teams get clothes from NSSF´s clothing sponsor SWIX and when it comes to boots and skis I have a contract with Rossignol.

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

I hope so, but there haven´t been any qualifying races yet. We will have three weekends of Norwegian cup, with a total of six races where the four best races count in the qualifying. The races will be in early December, early January and mid/late January.

What the best and worst thing about being a biathlete?

The best thing about being a biathlete is that I get to do what I love every day.
I cannot come up with anything that I will name as the worst thing about being a biathlete because I like almost everything about it.

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

I would steal Martin Fourcade´s way to ski. The way he plays and tries different techniques during a race, from sprinting the last few hundred meters before the shooting to just relax in the middle of a small group on the last lap. He has the ability to change his plans depending on how he and the athletes around him perform. And I think that this is one of the reasons that he has become the best overall biathlete for the last three seasons.

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

Today I can´t come up with anything that I want to change about biathlon. The IBU have done a really great job by making biathlon an extremely TV-friendly sport with short skiing courses and man vs. man shootouts on the shooting field. So people think that it is very exciting. Here in Norway most people that I speak with tell me that they think biathlon is the most exciting sport to watch on the TV because nothing is settled until the last shot is fired, anything can happen. And that is what is so good about biathlon. And now the TV-companies make sure we get brilliant pictures both from the shooting range and the track, so I think that biathlon is good as it is today. But we must of course try to develop and evolve biathlon further when that is necessary.

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

In biathlon Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is a big role model for me. He has competed in the absolute world class for over 20 years, since before I was born. This means that from the very first time I tried biathlon he was among the best in the world, and he has been that ever since. Also he is Norwegian, and to have a person like him to look up to for a young biathlete has been great. He is extremely detail oriented and everything he does is planned so that he can perform as well as possible. I think that this is what has made him so good. He has always looked at what he can do better and tried to develop himself and his equipment as fast as possible. And this is one of the main reasons I have him as a role model because he has done so much for biathlon in his career.

What’s your typical day like?

I normally wake up 7.30 then breakfast. Start the first training session between 8.30 and 9.00. Lunch 11.00 – 12.00. Relaxing until next training session. 15.30 – 16.00 second training session. 18.00 dinner 22.00 go to bed.

Norway has many world class biathletes. Do you ever get to train with Bjoerndalen or Svendsen or do they help you with tips and advice? Does Emil give free shampoo to everyone?

As I live in western Norway I do not see the world class Norwegian biathletes so often. Most of them live in the eastern part of Norway, about 7 hours travel by car from where I live. But I sometimes meet them when we are on training camps. But I do not train with them or get tips from them now. I guess they are occupied with themselves, and trying to do their best to get ready for a new season.
I have not gotten any shampoo from Emil yet! hehe

Does your rifle have a name?

No I have not given my rifle a name. But considering the time I use to take care of it I might have to give it a name soon. But for now its just the rifle.

Describe yourself in three words.

Impatient, detailed, vigilant

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: Nordic heritage center (Presque Isle)

Favourite biathlete (past or present): Raphaèl Poirèe

Favourite event:(sprint, pursuit etc): Mass start / Relay

Favourite/best race of your career so far? Junior Norwegian championships 2013 (2 individual golds, and best leg time on the relay)

Favourite food: «Pinnakjøtt» traditional Norwegian christmas food, sheep meat with potatoes and mashed turnips

Favourite singer/band: The Killers

Favourite film: James Bond: Skyfall

Favourite sports team: Real Madrid FC

Favourite TV show: Top Gear

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The Road to Sochi.

E. ON IBU Biathlon World Cup - Sochi

As The Hollies used to sing “The road is long, with many a winding turn, that leads us to – who knows where”. Well we do know where, it’s to Sochi but why everyone is obsessed with the road I don’t know. It’s pretty far away – I suggest you fly!

Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea coast near the Russia-Georgia border close to the Caucasus Mountains. It has a population of just under 350,000 which makes it Russia’s largest resort city and has a subtropical climate of hot summers and mild winters. If you are lucky enough to be going there for the Winter Olympics there are many things to do to fill in the time between events.

Sochi has two aquariums, a zoo and a Dolphinarium. It has many different museums and if history is your thing you can tour some local Byzantine ruins or visit Stalin’s old summer home. Legend has it that his ghost still wanders its halls at night- so don’t go there at night! Instead you can enjoy the many bars,clubs and casinos in the city.For the nature lover there is also Sochi National Park where you can go to the top of Mount Akhun and if you are brave in February you can go to one of the beaches or take a boat tour.

If you are going to watch the biathlon you will be heading for the Laura Stadium. You can find it to the northwest of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort. There you will find a world-class 9,600 seater stadium, the courses for biathlon and cross country skiing, the shooting range and a warm-up area. A World Cup round was held in Sochi in March 2013 as a test for the Olympics and it proved to be a very difficult track. Despite that it was a hit with most of the biathletes.

Martin Fourcade said: “The stadium is really huge and the track is hard. This course was made for strong skiers and I’m happy about it.”Raphael Poirée liked the location saying that: “There is so much wood around. Nowadays they cut the wood at the stadiums, so it is not natural.” Tora Berger commented that: “The track is really nice and difficult. I’m looking forward to starting here; it is going to be real fun. At the same time, it might be the most difficult track I’ve ever seen. The uphills are very demanding.”

If you are wondering about the name of the stadium it is named after the nearby River Laura. The name of the river is based on a legend of a young girl, Laura, who chose death over living with an old prince she did not love. After running away from the prince, Laura jumped into the river and Murat, Laura’s lover, could not live with the pain of their parting and jumped in after her. Not the happiest of endings but I am hoping none of the biathletes do the same if they have a bad day on the shooting range!

So The Road to Sochi has been long and winding but there is not much further to travel now. The first event is the Men’s 10km Sprint on the 8th of February. If you are going as a spectator you will have a great time in a great city but please don’t take the road – fly!

For information on Sochi see:
http://www.sochicityguide.com/everything-about-sochi/things-to-do-in-sochi
For information about the Laura Stadium see:
http://www.sochi2014.com/en/spectators-place-laura-cc-bt-center/

Bjørn winner!

bjorndalen

What can you write about Ole Einar Bjørndalen that hasn’t already been said? The man is a legend! He is the King of Biathlon and the best biathlete of all time. He has won about a million medals in his 100 year career (slight exaggeration but it feels like that sometimes!)

Ole Einar Bjørndalen was born in Drammen, Norway on the 27th January 1974 although he now lives in Austria. He won his first junior medal in 1992 and made his debut on the World Cup in 1993. To cut a long story short he then went on to win everything there is to win! He has a record 11 Olympics medals in biathlon, he has won the overall title six times and has more World Championship medals than he knows what to do with!

An unbelievable career which will culminate in his last ever biathlon season this year. He has announced that he will hang up his biathlon skis at the end of this season after competing in his 6th Olympic Games. He will be 40 years old by the time Sochi comes around and if he keeps his fitness up he will surely be able to add to his medals haul in the Norwegian relay team.

Strangely for an older athlete Bjørndalen has maintained his ski speed but seems to have suffered more with his shooting. Really you would expect the opposite to happen, the legs to go before the eyes. Hopefully he will maintain this for next year but unfortunately I can’t see him winning any individual races. The likes of Fourcade, Svendsen, Bø and Shipulin are just too strong for Ole to compete with now.

What I would love though is for someone to fire up the flux capacitor and get the DeLorean to take these guys back to around 2002 and see them compete against Bjørndalen at his best. What a race that would be! And you could even throw in Raphaël Poirée and Sven Fischer just to add some more spice! However until time travel is actually invented it will just have to be raced in my head, but who would win?

Well you can’t look past Bjørndalen. At his peak I think he could beat anyone past or present. After all he is a Bjørn winner!

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