Tag Archives: Ruhpolding

Jake Brown: The Interview!

Jake Brown is an American biathlete from Minnesota. The 27-year-old was a cross country skier until 2016 when he saw sense and became a biathlete! His progress has been rapid making his World Cup debut last season and scoring his first point when he finished 40th in the Antholz Sprint.

Follow Jake on Instagram.

Why did you become a biathlete?

I have always been a strong skate distance skier and had always wanted to try biathlon- I got the chance after racing NCAA skiing through the US Biathlon’s development program of post-collegiate cross-country skiers. Growing up I loved running, training, and pushing my limits, seeing how hard I could go. Yet I was still drawn to the great moments of team sports, like the buzzer beater in a basketball game or the 2-out at-bat in the bottom of the baseball’s ninth inning. I love that biathlon has a bit of both.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? Was there anything that disappointed you?

Last season surpassed my expectations for 2018-2019. I had previously raced in four IBU cups, and so was shooting for a full IBU Cup season with the goal of making top-15s and a dream goal of racing our home World Cup in Utah. I hit 15th in my first IBU Cup race and spent most of the season racing World Cups, plus World Championships. It was a season I won’t forget!

I was really happy with how I trained last year, both in preparation for and throughout the winter. However, this year I’ll seek to do a better job of staying healthy. Lucky for me, sickness struck mostly during breaks in the race schedule last year, but I don’t think the frequency with which I was getting sick would be sustainable in the long term. I want to be more intentional this year about keeping sleep, nutrition, and healthy habits a priority.

You got to race at a home World Cup in Soldier Hollow for the first time last season. What was that like?

I was glued to the 2002 Olympics which were held in Salt Lake (with XC and Biathlon at Soldier Hollow) when I was 10, so to get to race there last year was special. Biathlon is growing in the US, and hosting a World Cup in close proximity to a metro area like Salt Lake City is a great way to spread the hype for this sport.

Your best result was in Antholz where the World Championships are being held! Is that a good track and range for you? Do you like the altitude?

In general I like racing hilly courses, and a lot of courses at altitude tend to have hills. Antholz has a good variety of terrain and is definitely tough, I like that. I needed at least three breaths between shots last year, so I wouldn’t say the range is easy for me, but I enjoyed racing there last year and look forward to racing there again- what a beautiful place.

We thought Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke had finished biathlon but they are both still working with the US team. How important is it for you to still have them around?

It’s been great. We in the US often need to recruit Europeans to lead our programs, and we do benefit from having European coaches. But Lowell and Tim have as much experience as anyone, and they understand better than anyone the challenges that American biathletes face. Lowell, having spent a year in Montana leading the Cross-Cut program at the club level, and Tim, now in a development-director role, are more invested in the grassroots growth of biathlon in the US, not just trying to fast track college skiers to the World Cup (as I was). I think that’s important long term.

What have you been doing for summer training?

I dealt with lower body injuries this spring, so I did a ton of upper body aerobic training early on: mostly Ski-Erg with a little surf-ski paddling with Paul Schommer. In late June I was able to get back on roller skis and double pole plus introduce a bit a gravel biking. I’ve never been a big cyclist, but I found I really enjoy long solo gravel riding for my over distance workouts in the Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

What are your goals for this season?

-Increase my shooting consistency and dial in my mental approach.
-Help our team crack the top 10 in Nations Cup for both World and IBU Cup

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A few of my strengths are hilly courses, pushing myself on the last loop, and staying positive. A few current weaknesses are staying healthy, shooting speed and shooting consistency.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, helping out with the junior ski programs at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, exploring, water skiing, and playing sports.

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

Valcartier, Quebec. It’s a Nor-Am course on a military base, I love it because it is really challenging yet has great flow. It’s a narrow track through the forest with big climbs and fun, windy, wooded descents.

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

I don’t have a favorite, but I like it when an underdog puts it all together and wins- it was sweet to see Lowell win in 2017 and Dominik Windisch win last year.

Does your rifle have a name?

Nope.

Describe yourself in three words.

I love sports.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Estonia
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): The Unicorn one
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Russia’s black, blue, and pink suit from last year.
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: 77
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Jules Burnotte, Canada
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Simon Fourcade, France
Best thing about being a biathlete: Becoming mentally stronger every day.

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Amanda Lightfoot: The Return!

Amanda Lightfoot is the next in the catch up series with previous biathlon23 interviewees. The 32-year-old British biathlete was absent from the World Cup last season but she is back and ready to race this winter. She has a career best finish of 31st from the Individual in Oestersund in 2017 and represented Great Britain at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang and 2014 in Sochi.

Follow Amanda on Instagram.

We last spoke 4 years ago!! What has changed for you since then?

4 years has flown by. I’m now engaged to a fantastic and wonderful guy that is Ilario Maddalin.
I now have 12 nephews and nieces. Lol
I got promoted to Sergeant in the British Army.

What happened last season? You didn’t compete on the World Cup, why was that?

Last season I did not compete, I needed to go back to the military and complete career courses. So last season I did not compete internationally. I did compete at the British Championships in Ruhpolding and won the women’s Overall, coming away with 6 medals and 4 trophies though.

How much did you miss racing last season? What things did you miss and was there anything that you didn’t miss?

I absolutely missed racing last season, I missed the atmosphere of the World Cup, the biathlon family and just competing in general.

Do you think missing last season will make the start of this season more difficult or could it be a positive thing?

For sure I will not be on top form this season after missing a whole summer training, shooting and a full competing season, but training has been going well this year, and it’s the right time to come back in before Beijing. I’m hoping to find myself again on the circuit and really enjoy what I love about biathlon. Next season is the big season when the Olympic qualification season starts and this is my next big goal.

What have you been doing for summer training and what are the plans up until the start of the season?

So far I have mainly based myself in Ruhpolding. This year I have put a big focus on the shooting and I can see and feel the benefits this is having on me as a biathlete. My shooting has always been my Achilles heel, so I knew this had to be my primary focus this summer.

I went to the Summer World Championship in Minsk (where unfortunately she was ill), then following that I’m doing the German Championships here in my summer home turf that is Ruhpolding.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals are to enjoy what I love doing and that’s competing. I’m not getting any younger and after Beijing it will be the end of my career.

I have goals at all levels this season and I plan to achieve them all.

Do you think biathlon is getting more popular in the UK? Do you ever get recognised by people?

Yes I believe it is, we have summer camps both in Scotland and the south of England where more and more people are discovering the crazy and awesome sport that is biathlon.

I do get recognized by people, however it is a lot more grander in Europe where you find most of your fan base.

What are you hobbies away from biathlon?

I have to say learning the piano, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I do struggle finding the time to learn. I also love a good coffee and cake on a free afternoon..
And this season I’ve just signed up to study 2 modern languages, so looking forward to trying to find the time to fit that in.. haha.

Is Oberhof still your favourite track and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen your favourite biathlete?

Did I really say Oberhof?? Wow..
Well that has definitely changed, it is now Oslo, it has to be the most beautiful place and atmosphere on the World Cup Circuit.

My favourite biathlete would now be the Olympic Champion and a great friend that is Hanna Oberg. I watched her grow into a fantastic athlete whilst training along side her and the rest of Sweden team for over 3 years. it was amazing to be part of their great inspirational journey to Olympic gold.

Does your rifle have a name yet?

Hmmm… no.. however I’m open to suggestions, send them to me via Instagram @amanda198726

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Amanda Lightfoot.. haha
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation):Japan
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: 61
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Tarjei Boe
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup/IBU Cup: Mona Brorsson
Best thing about being a biathlete: competing on the World stage and being part of a huge biathlon family.

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Scott Gow: The Interview!

Scott Gow is a Canadian biathlete who was born in Calgary on the 6th of November 1990. He was a member of the Canadian team who won their first Relay medal at the World Championships in Oslo 2016 finishing third. He has represented Canada at Youth, Junior and Senior levels and his best finish to date is 14th place in the Individual race at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. His younger brother Christian is also a biathlete.

Like his Facebook page: Gow Brothers Biathlon


Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because when I tried the sport for the first time, I loved it so much I knew I wanted to keep training and practicing to become one of the best in the world.

How do you assess last season on the World Cup? You got a PB in Annecy and got to race in the Mass Start. What was that like?

Last season was my best season yet. I had a lot of personal best results, including at the Olympics, and had the opportunity to compete in the Mass Start. I’m happy with how I performed and it always feels good to see a hard summer of training pay off.

You went to your first Olympics in PyeongChang. What was that experience like? Tell me about finishing 14th in the Individual, were you happy or a bit gutted about the miss on the last shoot?

The Olympics was an amazing experience. The atmosphere of the Games, the athletes, the venues and everything else is over the top and catered to the competitors. It’s a very special experience to spend 2 weeks training and competing with all of Team Canada. The highlight of my Olympics had to be the 14th place. On the one hand I’m thrilled with the result and it’s the best I have ever performed, so it is hard to be upset, but on the other hand if I had hit my missed target then I would have achieved an even higher level. I’m sure I’ll wish for that shot for many years to come.

You won World Championships bronze in the Men’s Relay in Oslo. What do you remember about that race? How did it feel to stand on the podium with your brother?

The World Championships bronze was very special. It was my first medal, I achieved it with the rest of my team and I was sharing the experience with my brother. Oslo was an excellent atmosphere and the race was so exciting from start to finish. I still wonder sometimes how we did it.

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

Summer training has been fairly normal for me. Most of the training has been in Canmore, and I’ve had two training camps: one in eastern Canada in Quebec and one in Park City, USA. The first camp is a low altitude, high intensity training focus and the second is a high altitude, volume focus. For the fall training I’m staying in Canmore where I will ski on Frozen Thunder and then prepare to leave for Europe mid November.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for the season are to build on last year’s good results and increase my consistency. I would like to see consistent top 20 results with some top 10’s in there too!

What’s it like training, competing and travelling with your brother? Do you get on well?

Travelling with my brother is great. He is like a piece of home I can take with me everywhere I go. We get along very well.

Is it true that you want to study medicine after biathlon? Have you always been interested in that?

I have always been interested in medicine, and my focus in school is to still pursue that career. It’s just taking me a very long time.

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

My favorite track is in Antholz. It’s a beautiful place, with great food surrounded by mountains. It also reminds me the most of home so I like it for that reason as well.

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

My favorite biathlete is Ole Einar Bjorndalen. I had his poster from the 2002 Olympics on my bedroom wall when I was growing up, and I always saw him as the greatest biathlete ever.

Does your rifle have a name?

I do not have a name for my rifle. Maybe I should think of one?

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Switzerland
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Michael Roesch
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Favourite biathlon siblings (not yourselves!): Bø brothers
Lucky bib number: 24
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Roesch
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Anais Bescond
Best thing about being a biathlete: Skiing all winter.

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Christian Gow: The Interview!

Christian Gow is a Canadian biathlete who was born on the 28th of March 1993 in Calgary. He was part of the team who won Canada’s first ever relay medal at the 2016 World Championships in Oslo when they took bronze. His best finish to date on the World Cup is 21st in the Pursuit. His older brother Scott is also a biathlete.

Like his Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GowBrothersBiathlon/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I decided to compete in biathlon after trying it out at a Summer camp at Canada Olympic Park in the summer of 2001. I had so much fun at the camp and I was offered a chance to join a program in the fall, so I signed up and have been loving it ever since!

You were 21st in the Pursuits in Oestersund and Oberhof. Why are you so good in the Pursuit? Is it your favourite event?

I think the pursuit suits me well as a racer. I perform a lot better when I am able to ski with other people and I can manage the pressure of shooting in a group. I would say the pursuit is my favourite event, it is fast-paced, exciting, and the reason for several of my best results!

You went to your first Olympics in PyeongChang. What was that experience like? Were you happy with your performances there?

The Olympics were an incredible experience. I feel so fortunate that I was able to go, I have memories from there that I will never forget. I was happy with my Individual and relay performances, not as happy with my Sprint.

You won World Championships bronze in the Men’s Relay in Oslo. What do you remember about that race? How did it feel to stand on the podium with your brother? Also do you just perform well in places that start with ‘O’?

I feel like I remember every detail of that race, it was such a special and amazing day. I remember being really happy with my opening leg and getting more and more nervous the longer that we stayed at the front. Being on the podium was the best experience ever, and sharing it with my brother made it even better. Haha, I have never thought about it, but maybe that’s what it is!

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

We have been in Canmore for most of the Spring and Summer except for a last minute camp out to Quebec because the smoke from forest fires was so bad. It has been routine training with a focus on volume in the earlier months. Our focus now is shifting more towards intensity and getting ready to race.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals are to continue building on my season from last year. I had a really good season with several new personal bests and I would like to continue that trajectory.

What’s it like training, competing and travelling with your brother? Do you get on well?

It’s great having Scott on the team with me. We get along really well and it is nice to always have each other for company.

What are your hobbies away from biathlon?

I like to read, play video games, and mountain bike.

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

I really like the course in Obertilliach (another O 😉 ), I have good memories racing there. On World Cup my favourite venue is probably Hochfilzen. Its a beautiful area and almost always nice weather.

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

Ole Einar is my favourite biathlete. The first thing I learned about biathlon when I was starting was that he was the best in the world and so I always looked up to him.

Does your rifle have a name?

It does not.

Describe yourself in three words.

Outgoing, personable, dedicated.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Favourite biathlon siblings (not yourselves!): The Fourcades
Lucky bib number: None
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Rosch
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Simon Fourcade
Best thing about being a biathlete: Travelling the world and doing what I love.

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Thierry Langer: The Interview!

Thierry Langer is a Belgian biathlete who was born in Malmedy on the 24th of October 1991. He is regular on the IBU Cup and last season raced on the World Cup for the Belgian Men’s Relay Team. Not only is he a biathlete but he also competes in cross-country skiing and is studying chemistry. It’s safe to say he is quite busy!

Like his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thierrylangerbiathlon/

Why did you become a biathlete?

When I was 14 years old a small group practised the sport already for a couple of years. I took part in the cross country events in Belgium every year so they suddenly invited me to try biathlon. That was when I tried it in a summer camp in Winterberg (Germany) for the first time. I liked the sport better than cross country skiing, athletics or football which I was practising back then. I stuck to it until now after I saw some progression and received a lot of support from my parents.

Unusually for the Belgian team you are actually Belgian! How have things changed for you with Roesch and Claude joining the team?

For me personally this is probably why I am still doing biathlon. I got new motivation to become as good as them or probably beat them one day. But also with them joining the whole Biathlon Federation became more professional every year and so did I. I learned a lot in this time and had my first professional winter season last year which was exciting.

The Relays were amazing to watch last season. What were they like from your perspective?

In Hochfilzen I was pretty nervous watching them on the warm up lap when I saw us in front. When I started my race all of this was gone. I was so focused on skiing that the crowd wasn’t really bothering me. In Oberhof it was easier. It wasn’t a new situation, so I knew what to do and I think it also worked out better for me with only one penalty loop in those special conditions.

You made the Belgian Olympic Team but for cross country skiing! How was your experience in PyeongChang?

It was amazing. I already had the chance to take part in every big event in biathlon and cross country skiing, but the Olympics were something special having every nation and almost every winter sport around. I really enjoyed the month in PyeongChang. I hope to qualify in 2022 again, but this time for the biathlon competitions.

How do you manage your season between competing on the IBU Cup, the World Cup and in cross country?

The last season was indeed a hard season. I had several weekends racing in different places which isn’t very ideal, but it was necessary to qualify for the Olympic Games. I raced for example in Campra, Switzerland, travelled seven hours after the race to start the day after in the relay in Oberhof. In the end it all worked out fine, I was fit when I had to be and I also had my best season ever but this is not for every year.

Do you think you will always do both biathlon and cross country or will you concentrate on just one sport in the future?

I will concentrate on biathlon for sure, but this doesn’t mean that I won’t compete at cross country races anymore. If there are some free weeks that I can fill with cross country races I will definitely do that.

What are you doing for summer training?

I like running, roller skiing or mountain biking. Otherwise the usual visits to the gym and the shooting range.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to get some good shooting results again this season. This is something which suffered a bit with all the cross country races. I want to repeat my 15th place at the IBU Cup again and probably get the chance to do some more World Cups beside the relay races. But in general repeating the good results of last season should be my main goal.

You also study chemistry. How difficult is it to balance studying and training? Can you make your own gunpowder? 😉

I better not tell that to anyone 😉 … but I’m more interested in waxing and the skis. This is also the topic of my Masters thesis.
After several years at the University I got used to the rhythm and how I can get free time for the sport. A huge factor is also the German system which makes it a lot easier to be flexible. After all I’m far from training like the pro’s but that’s why every training has to be effective and I think this works quite well so far.


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

Duszniki Zdroj, Poland. I enjoyed the track a lot during the ECH.

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

Raphael Poiree, he was my favourite when I was young for no reason.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined , quiet and clumsy.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Germany
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Anton Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Norway
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: None
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Rösch
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Erik Lesser / Arnd Peiffer
Best thing about being a biathlete: Unforgettable moments during this time.

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Herbert Cool: The Interview!

Herbert Cool is a former Dutch biathlete who was born in Rotterdam on the 9th of February 1985. He retired from biathlon in 2012, which was far too soon!, with a top finish of 50th in both the Sprint and Pursuit races at the 2008 World Championships in Oestersund. After retiring he began commentating on biathlon for Dutch Eurosport.

Follow Herbert on Twitter: @CoolHerbert

Why did you become a biathlete?

My father loves to go cross country skiing. As we have no snow in the Netherlands we used to spend our vacations in Germany and the Czech Republic. I got into the sport as well, enjoyed it, enjoyed racing against the local youth and sometimes even beating them. Age 18 I participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Bled, Slovenia. I came 9th in the Sprint which was great. We hardly ever trained on snow, only roller skiing and some shooting in a shooting range without a roller ski loop. This made me realize I had a talent for the sport and made me decide to pursue a professional career in biathlon. At age 19 I moved to the US to train with the US Junior team in Minnesota. A year after, I moved to Ruhpolding and stayed there for 6 years.

What are your best memories from your biathlon career?

For sure the first year in the US was the most fun. Obviously it is a great experience to live there on the whole, especially after finishing school. I got to see a lot of the country and was surprised about the large Nordic community it has, not to mention the beautiful cross country tracks. Also, the team was great. Just a bunch of young people wanting to make it in a sport that wasn’t normal in the country they came from. I guess we shared this experience, even though our countries were so far apart. We shared the troubles with funding, we shared having to travel away from your own country to be able to do what you love. And we had a great coach, Vladimir Cervenka, who is still coaching the US Juniors in Minnesota. Of course there were many great memories after that year, but things became a bit more serious, more like a job.

How did you become a commentator for Eurosport and how long have you been doing it?

Unfortunately I didn’t qualify for the Vancouver Olympics. The Dutch Olympic Association wants biathletes to be top 8 in the world, which obviously is a requirement similar to countries like Germany or Norway. However, there is hardly any funding and no talent development whatsoever. I really hope this will change and I am putting energy into this myself, but for now it is unrealistic to expect any talent from the Netherlands (nor is it realistic to expect youth to become interested in the sport, there simply are no facilities). Eurosport gave me a call; whether I would be interested in joining their biathlon commentator during the Olympics. I did, and it was a lot of fun. After I decided to quit in 2012 I pretty much became their new biathlon commentator. I still enjoy it a lot, and nowadays do some other sports as well as some presenting in front of the camera. For example during the 2018 Olympics. It’s a lot of fun and it enables me to stay on top of the sport that I love.

Did you find the transition from biathlete to commentator difficult? Was it harder or easier than you thought? Do you ever run out of things to say? 😉

I think it was the fact that I could become the biathlon commentator at Eurosport that helped me in the transition. You have to understand, I am a city boy. I was born and raised in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. Definitely worth a visit if you have the time. So living in Ruhpolding was about as far away from living in the city as possible. Although I often miss the beautiful nature in the Alps (and the snow, obviously) I also really wanted to go back to Rotterdam. And I’m not just a commentator, I also own a sports management agency. We are into sports marketing, event management and athlete management. For example, this year we will bring a large group of Dutch biathlon fans to the World Team Challenge in Gelsenkirchen for the first year. You’d be surprised how many Dutch people love watching biathlon. When it comes to winter sports, speed skating is obviously the number 1 by far, but I would say biathlon is the second most popular winter sport on television here!
(Definitely not running out of things to say 😉 )

How much and what kind of research do you do before the races?

Honestly, I hardly do any research. I simply love the sport so much that I read and see everything no matter what. Before a race, I obviously do my preparation work, but that doesn’t take a lot of time this way.

Do you have some favourite/memorable races or moments that you have commentated on? Why were they special?

My relationship with the US team runs like a red line through my career. First I moved to Minnesota to train with the US Juniors. After that I moved to Ruhpolding where I was fortunate enough to have Ricco Gross coach me and help me a lot. He helped me connect to the US World Cup team -they waxed his ski’s during that time- and I ended up going with them in some of their training camps as well as travelling with them throughout the winter. A great setup for which I am still very grateful to both Ricco Gross, Bernd Eisenbichler, their high performance director and the team as a whole. It was during the time Tim Burke did very well, he even led the World Cup total score during Christmas, and I roomed up with them and learned a lot. So to answer the question, during the Hochfilzen World Champs there was the epic individual race men’s race. Moravec was in the lead, Lowell Bailey started really late. He shot well, and the finish loop was so intense. I think I screamed during my commentary and for sure I wasn’t very objective, but I didn’t care. It was such a great win for Lowell and I felt a lot of joy, especially seeing all of the wax techs and coaches celebrating afterwards. You know how hard they all work for it and how much effort goes in behind the scenes.

Is biathlon popular in The Netherlands? Can you tell us something about the current biathletes from the Netherlands.

It’s a difficult subject at the moment. The Dutch ski federation has chosen not to invest in talent development. One of the reasons is that the Dutch Olympic Association will only send a biathlete to the Olympics if he or she is around top 8 in the world. This is almost impossible to achieve in general, but especially with no funding, no facilities (no snow) and, very important, no athletes who are already on a World Cup level. You need to train with athletes who are at least as good as you on a daily basis. A good example is Chardine Sloof; she is a talented biathlete who got introduced to the sport because she lives in Sweden. She became a Junior World Champion for the Netherlands, which is crazy. Luck hardly has any influence on the sport of biathlon, if you become Junior World Champion you are talented. Period. After that she struggled with some physical issues and the funding stopped. She decided to switch to the Swedish team. A good decision, because she is surrounded by great athletes, the right culture and great facilities as well. She achieved 3 top 15 results during the Oberhof World Cup 2 seasons ago, really great stuff. I hope we will see more of her in the upcoming season.

Do you have any predictions for the up coming season? Anyone we should be looking out for to do well?

As always after an Olympic season we saw some big names quit. Of course we will miss Domracheva for example. She has one of the best techniques on the women’s side and is of great added value to the exposure of biathlon due to her personality. On a personal note I will miss Bjoerndalen, because he was my idol when I was a biathlete myself. I think Johannes Thingnes Boe will again be a little bit better and more solid this time, although he did admit to not training as much as he should have done in spring. But it will be interesting to see whether Fourcade can take another overall World Cup. I think it’s Boe’s time now. And the Swedes will be strong. They have the momentum after their successful Olympics. Of course there is a big difference between having nothing to lose and being one of the favourites, so this will be a role they will have to get used to. On the women’s side I think Dahlmeier will be very strong, if she stays healthy on her way to December. But I’m afraid that if she wins a lot, she will quit after this winter, which would be a big loss to the sport. I would also keep an eye on Lisa Vittozzi, she made big steps last season and is still very young.

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

I loved Östersund. Great atmosphere downtown, great energy on the whole and tracks that suited me. Long uphills that you really had to dig into. Antholz is everybody’s favorite, not only because of the great food and kind people. I always joke during my commentary that they somehow always seem to have a lot of snow, yet the sun is always shining!

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

Bjoerndalen, because he made biathlon into the sport it is today. He pulled it out of cross country skiing’s shadow. His technique was perfection. Someone who also has great balance and style on ski’s is Simon Fourcade, I love watching him ski. When it comes to fighting spirit you have to mention Kaisa Makarainen. Such a great athlete, a fierce competitor on the tracks and a great person once she crosses the finish line.

Did your rifle have a name?

Nope.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, passionate, calm.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Right now: Belgium!
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Shipulin’s carved rifle looks great.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Not sure which year, and a bit of a different sport, but I loved the suit the Norwegian cross country team had in the last seasons Bjorn Daehlie was racing.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Being active in a worldwide sport that is still small enough to be a small community, and the closeness to nature.
Best thing about being a commentator: Sharing what you love with viewers who really discover your sport -and how great it is. Because biathlon wasn’t really known in the Netherlands, viewers can ask me question through Twitter during the race. This works out great and gives me the chance to bring the sport closer to the Dutch audience.

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Regina Oja: The Interview!

Regina Oja is an Estonian biathlete. She was born in Tallinn on the 31st of January 1996. She made her biathlon debut in 2013 and raced on the World Cup for the first time in 2016. Last season she spent most of her time competing on the World Cup and raced at the Open European Championships in Ridnaun where she finished 4th in the Single Mixed Relay. She can also be found racing the first leg for the Estonian Women’s Relay team.

Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/reginabiathlon/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I started with many activities such as dancing, gymnastics and swimming and afterwards skiing. For a long time I did swimming and skiing at the same time but in the end it was skiing I chose, I had really good friends and training partners and that’s what became decisive. When I got older my father took me to shoot and showed me how everything works. It was really interesting for me and it didn’t take long until I raced my first biathlon race. It was during summer and in running. The first day I shot really well and got 1st place. The second day in one range I shot 5 penalties but ran 4 penalty laps, so I got +2mins and ended up somewhere at the back of the list. However it was really interesting for me, I started to wonder if I could get my own rifle so my father said, that if I wanted my own rifle I had to start doing biathlon more often. So that’s when I started to race in biathlon races more often than cross-country and so it went. 🙂

Last season was your first major season on the World Cup. How do you assess your season?

I consider it okay. It wasn’t anything super good but I didn’t have high hopes either. I wished to race all season long and that’s what I accomplished. Of course I wanted to race well in every race, the beginning was hard and many new races and disciplines, but after New Year I think it started to look better for me. I learned a lot and started to feel better again. It was a long season and definitely different than my other seasons have been, to begin and start the season on the World Cup was new for me but something I really wanted and worked for.

You were 4th in the Single Mixed Relay at the ECH in Ridnaun with Rene Zakhna. Were you happy with that race or disappointed to just miss a medal?

Yes, we were happy. I didn’t think so much about missing out on a medal because it was either way a surprise race for us. Of course we wanted to do well but I had already raced the whole of January and also 3 races in Ridnaun ( Individual, sprint and pursuit) before the Single Mixed so I really started to feel tired. I wanted to keep calm and not think about results. It was a good race and I’m happy we managed to achieve 4th place, of course a medal would have been something completely different but that would have meant better shooting and skiing from both of us. 🙂

In Kontiolahti you raced in the Single Mixed Relay and the Mixed Relay on the same day. How difficult is that physically and mentally?

At first I didn’t think it would be a big deal, I knew what I said “yes” to and I was prepared. The hardest part was lack of time between the two races and also in the warm up before the second race, my body was already relaxed and recovering from the first race and it was hard to do zeroing and warm up again in such a short time. It was just something I haven’t done before. It wasn’t that bad and I had time to prepare myself for that situation. I knew I had 2 races before the races and when I arrived at the stadium that’s what I went to do. It was just to keep a positive and open mind about the situation and everything. My team helped a lot and were very supportive.

What are your plans for summer training?

To raise the training hours and a little bit of a different training method than before. I have done a lot more running than earlier years and I will start roller skiing more from September. I have had a tendency for some things to come up in autumn so this is what we’re now trying to anticipate and start with some training a little bit later than usual.

What are your goals for this season?

Of course to do better than last year. I have now seen and felt my weak spots and how things worked last year so I can be more aware now. I want to stay healthy and get in shape when it’s most needed.

It seems you like the colour pink. Any plans for a pink rifle for next season? Or maybe a pink harness? Or pink gloves? 😉

Pink is not my favourite colour, it has just happened that I have many things in pink. I don’t want a pink rifle, I think it’s too much. I have a pink harness and magazines, these details I’m okay with pink. I like colour and would rather choose something colourful instead of black. Often things are either in black, pink or something like yellow, green or blue. Then I choose pink, but not because it’s my favourite color but because it’s the prettiest of the choices I have. 🙂

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

I really liked to race in Ruhpolding and in Kontiolahti last year. I don’t know if these are my favourite, I still have many places to discover but these are what I remember the most from last season. 🙂

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

Magdalena Neuner, always has and always will be. She was so natural and pure wow. I like everything about her.

Does your rifle have a name?

Usually I say rifle when I talk about it but it’s also called Tessa. I don’t call it that way though, it’s just there.

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiling, honest and strong.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy
Favourite shooting range: in Solleftea, Sweden
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Lena Häcki
Best thing about being a biathlete: The Biathlon Family

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