Tag Archives: Sjusjoen

Hallie Grossman: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Hallie Grossman.

Hallie Grossman is an American biathlete. She was born in Vermont on the 27th of April 1993. She has been doing biathlon since 2016 after initially competing as a skier for the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. Last season she made her debut on the World Cup in Oberhof and raced in Ruhpolding. She also got some good results on the IBU Cup at the end of the season in Minsk with two Top 30 finishes.

Follow Hallie on Instagram: halliegeee
Check out her website: https://halliegrossmanblog.wordpress.com/

Why did you become a biathlete?

After graduating college, I joined the Craftsbury Green Racing Project as a skier. During my first summer on the team, I injured my knee and couldn’t do very much training. During this time, some of the biathlon boys on the team taught me how to shoot and I enjoyed the challenge. It took about a year to really get into it, but I’m so glad that I did.

You got your first taste of the World Cup last season. What was that experience like?

It was an awesome experience! My first weekend on the World Cup was in Oberhof in the pouring rain but I arguably had the biggest smile on my face and was the happiest person at the venue all weekend. Our relay team was made up all of women from the same club in Craftsbury, which was fun and something our ski coach at home was really excited about. On the IBU Cup, my teammates and I started wearing glitter for most of the races, and happily sharing it with anyone and everyone. It was a great bonding experience and way to get to know our competitors (who quickly turn into friends!). I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it in the “big leagues,” but was so happy I decided to and it reminded me that racing really is quite fun.

What was your best or favourite race from last season and why?

There are several, for different reasons. My favorite race was the opening sprint in Sjusjoen, where my teammate Kelsey Dickinson was 2nd. It was so awesome to see one of my closest friends do so well. One of my best races was in Minsk at the very end of the year. I had been struggling with my shooting for a few weeks, but things came together and I shot 1,0 in the sprint and was ecstatic.

What are your plans for summer training? Has the corona virus affected the plans or the way you train?

I have been home in Craftsbury since March and it’s been great! It definitely is a bummer to not be able to have camps or see our National team coaches except through a computer screen, but I feel fortunate that I have such great training partners and opportunities at home.

What are your goals for this season?

To do my part in this pandemic (wearing my mask!) to help the world get to a point where we can gather and race again!

You are away from home for long periods of time. Do you pack anything special in your suitcase when you travel to Europe?

My aeropress coffee maker, my knitting, and my mini sewing kit. You never know what the coffee situation will be in any given country or hotel. Knitting provides endless hours of activity, especially when you get as distracted as myself and pull it out many, many times. And the sewing kit comes in handy because it turns out clothing and equipment can rip when it’s worn nearly everyday for several months straight.

You are having a dinner party with 3 other biathletes. Who would you invite and why? What’s on the menu?

(I changed it to 4 🙂 ) Johanna Taliharm, because she’s been training in Craftsbury with us for the last few summers and has become an integral honorary member of our team. Kaisa Makarainen, she joined us for a camp last year in France and it was great to get to know her a bit. Her incredible ski speed has made me a fan of hers since I started doing biathlon. Mona Brorsson. In Oberhof, she reminded me to have fun and enjoy it right before the relay. It was such a kind gesture and it makes me want to get to know her better! Flurina Volken. Flurina and I met two years ago when we started near the very end of the race together, since then I’ve spend several weeks living with her and her family in Switzerland and she has become a great friend. The menu! Depends where we are dining. If we’re at my home, we’ll have salad, tacos, and one Emily Dreissigacker’s cake for dessert.

What are your hobbies away from biathlon?

I love to teach kids. When I’m home (prepandemic) I spend time in a local elementary school, working with kids on math or reading, or whatever they may need a little extra attention with. This summer, I’ve been tutoring a 9 year old girl and we’ve been reading books, doing math, and just playing outside and riding our bikes.

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

Martell. This is where I did my first IBU Cup in 2017 and this past year where I had my fastest ski times. I like it because there are some tough uphills and the downhills appeared tricky but I was able to practice them enough that they seemed ok!

Does your rifle have a name?

My rifle doesn’t but my stock does. Her name is Maisey. My first stock was Posey.

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiley, caring, energetic.

Quick fire choices:

prone or standing? prone
against the clock or head to head racing? head to head
uphill or downhill? uphill
mixed relay or women’s relay? This one is tricky! I’ve done one women’s relay on the WC and several mixed relays on the IBU cup and both are special in their own ways!
morning or night? morning
sun or snow? sun
roller skiing or cycling? cycling
alcohol or chocolate? chocolate

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Vinny Fountain: The Interview!

Vinny Fountain is a British biathlete and also a serving member of the British Army in the Royal Artillery (16 Regt RA). He was born on the 12th of October 1991 and his hometown is Nottingham. Vinny first raced on the IBU Cup in the 2015/16 season and last season he competed for GB at the World Championships in Antholz as well as the Open European Championships in Minsk.

Follow Vinny on Instagram: vinnyfountain12

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because I really enjoyed alpining when I was at school so I wanted a new challenge therefore took on biathlon. And what a challenge it is.

How much of your time is split between being a biathlete and being a soldier? What duties do you still have in the army?

I would say my time split between being a biathlete and being a soldier is 80/20. I’m only ever in work after the winter season or to carry out a career course. Apart from that I’m training. The duties I currently have is to help the regimental team throughout the winter nordic and biathlon season where possible.

What was your best or favourite race from last season and why?

My favourite race from last season would be the single mixed relay in Minsk. Even though the conditions weren’t great, it was so fun and exciting and we (TeamGB) didn’t do too bad either.

What are your plans for summer training? How have they been affected by corona virus?

Summer training is the same as last year apart from a few months of delay. I’m currently training in Ruhpolding and will remain here until the winter season. During covid, unfortunately I had to train back at camp where it is flat and only at sea level but this was my only option. I just have some catching up to do ha.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for this season are to improve my shooting accuracy to at least 75% or even 80% and gain a World Cup start place.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths – maintain discipline, motivated and I feel like my skiing is getting better.
Weaknesses – I can still improve on my running, shooting needs a little more work and I should be doing more stretching than I am to recover.

You are having a dinner party with 3 other biathletes. Who would you invite and why? What’s on the menu?

I would invite Johannes Boe, not only is he a very funny guy, but last year at the World Champs in Antholz, he was kind enough to give me a can of coke so I would like to repay the favour with some good food.
Martin Fourcade – he’s a legend in himself and it would be comedy to watch Johannes and Martin debate who the better biathlete was 😂
Lisa Vittozzi – I’ve heard some good things about Lisa so I’d use this opportunity to get to know her and she is also nice to look at ha.

The menu – it has to be good or they won’t want to come back haha. I think I’ll spice things up with a Mexican night. Cheesey nachos with salsa dip/sour cream/guacamole for starters. The main is make your own fajitas with as many or as little fillings as you want and for dessert, warm chocolate fudge cake with some potential shots of tequila on the side.

What song would you add to the stadium playlist and what song would you remove?

I don’t think I’d remove a song from the stadium play list however if I could add one, it would either be Eminem – Collapse, or Welshly Arms – Legendary. Both very good songs. Gets you pumped for racing ha.

On your IBU profile one of your hobbies is tattoos! What have you got and where? What is your next tattoo going to be?

I have a full right arm sleeve, wings and a crown on my chest, writing on my ribs and a cool little palm tree just below my left calf. I’m thinking hard about my next one and I think its either going to be the face of a lion or a wolf. Not sure where yet. I would also like the Olympic rings but we’ll have to wait and see about that one.

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

My favourite biathlon track would have to be Sjusjoen, Norway. It was my first ever official track I’d trained and raced on and I think for the amount of effort you put in, you get back. By this I mean, you work hard uphill and then you get a nice downhill rest after.

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

Don’t tell him I said this but it is the one and only Lee Steven Jackson. Former Team GB athlete and good friend. The reason for this is because when I first started biathlon he was the best we had and I wanted to get to the places and venues he had already been. He showed great determination and his work ethic was immense. Everything you’d expect from a role model.

Does your rifle have a name?

Rita

Describe yourself in three words.

Spontaneous, easy going and sociable.

Quick fire choices:

prone or standing? Prone
against the clock or head to head racing? Head to head
uphill or downhill? Definitely downhill
mixed relay or men’s relay? mixed relay
morning or night? morning
sun or snow? sun
roller skiing or cycling? roller skiing
alcohol or chocolate? erm….alcohol

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Shawna Pendry: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Shawna Pendry.

Shawna Pendry is a 17-year-old British biathlete who is based in France. She was born in England but moved to France aged four. She started cross country skiing when she was eight and biathlon at eleven in Font-Romeo where Simon and Martin Fourcade started. Last season was her first competing internationally on the IBU Junior Cup.

Check out her website: https://shawna-pendry.site123.me/

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because my best friend cross country skied and it looked fun so I also joined the ski club, a few years later we started shooting and I loved it! Since then I have been doing biathlon.

How do you assess last season overall? Were you happy with it? Was there anything you were disappointed with?

Last season was my first season competing in international races so it was pretty scary but I also learned so much. I am happy because at each competition I had the impression that I was getting better and stronger but also because I reached one of my main goals that was to qualify for a pursuit race. I am not disappointed with anything because I know that with every mistake I made I also learned something.

How do you manage going to school with training and competing in biathlon?

It is hard to do both school and sport especially in winter because I am away so often on competitions but I am lucky to got to a “sporting school” were most of the students are like me so the teachers are very helpful, and then when I am away I have to try and work even if all I want to do is ski and sleep.

It’s not easy being a British biathlete. How are you funded and do you get support from the BBU or train with any of the British team?

I do receive financial support from the BBU who with the aid from their IBU funding cover the majority of my travel and accommodation costs during the race season. I still need to fund my equipment which I do with the aid of my parents and I am always looking for external help like crowdfunding or grants just like the ‘Vincent Budge Award’ from the British Skiers Trust that I am very proud to have just received.
Training wise I train with my local team and I will join the British team for an on snow training camp in the autumn, apart from that I do not do any training with them as I need to stay at school this season.

What is it like training where Martin and Simon Fourcade started? Have you ever met them?

It is really inspiring coming from where Martin and Simon started because I tell myself that they have become some of the best biathletes in the world so why could I not maybe some day? I have already met both of them and they’re really nice, I actually trained just next to Martin the other week when he came back home.

What are your plans for summer training?

For this summer I am training mostly at Font-Romeu and I have 3 training camps with my local team that I am looking forward to.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are my motivation and determination and my weaknesses are being impatient and skiing up hills.

What are your goals for this season?

My main goal for the upcoming season is to represent Team GB at the Lausanne Youth Olympic games. I also want to qualify myself to as many pursuits as possible!

If you have any time after school and training what do you like to do in your free time?

I love cooking, especially cakes and cookies (they taste so good after a hard training!) and I also like reading.

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

Yes, my favorite track is at Sjusjøen in Norway because that is where I shot my first 10/10 in competition and qualified to my first pursuit race, and because Norway is so pretty!

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

My favorite biathlete would either be Tiril Eckhoff or Ingrid Tandrevold because they are both inspiring women and they make biathlon look fun.

Does your rifle have a name?

No it doesn’t but I think if it did it would be something like Gwendolyn or Bernadette!

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined / organized / impatient .

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Norway
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): the one with unicorns
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Finland
Favourite shooting range: Sjusjøen
Lucky bib number: I don’t have one.
Funniest biathlete on the Junior Cup/Nicest biathlete on the Junior Cup: I don’t really know anyone because I’m shy, come and say hi next season if you’re reading this!
Best thing about being a biathlete: Travelling to awesome places and missing school for it!

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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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Gabrielė Leščinskaitė: The Interview!

Gabrielė Leščinskaitė is a Lithuanian biathlete. She was born on the 25th of March 1996. She has represented Lithuania at the Youth/Junior World Championships four times. She has raced on the IBU Cup, World Cup and at the World Championships.

Like her Facebook page: Gabrielė Leščinskaitė Biathlete

Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because probably that was one of God’s plans. If not because of this, then the reason was my surroundings. I was born in a sporty family so from a very young age I had to release energy in order to express myself. Actually I insensibly chose biathlon because I can’t even clearly remember how and when I became a biathlete. It just happens when your stepfather turns out to be the President of the Lithuanian biathlon federation.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? What were you disappointed with?

I hope that last season was the last such terrible and gloomy season in my life. I think there is nothing I am happy with. But I survived it though. Obviously there are many things I am disappointed with. It is quite hard to pick out one or two things that I feel sad about because everything in life is made of millions of connected pieces like a chain. However, one of the worst things that disturbed my preparation was a groin injury. That made me reduce the workload to the minimum and just maintain some kind of shape but in the end I was still suffering from the endless sore leg and butt. Apart from poor physical preparation I have been fighting with other problems related to psychological and mental health like intense anxiety, fear, insomnia etc.

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

This summer is a little bit different from the previous ones. First of all, I started to work constantly only in July, so the majority of the work is simply delayed. Secondly, we got some changes in our team. Some of the biathletes left the biathlon world and a new coach came to train the rest of us. So as usual half of the summer we spent in Lithuania, then some athletes had a camp in the mountains, while others stayed in the Baltics. Soon we should go to Ramsau but this year is an exception and we are heading to Vuokatti to check the snow out there. Finally, our preparation journey ends in beloved Sjusjoen, how could we miss this place?!

What is your favourite or best biathlon event? Why?

I do not have a favorite event but I do have a least favorite one and it is the Individual race. And you know what, the greatest achievements of my life was made during Individual races :)))

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths are persistence, patience and hope. My weaknesses are uncertainty, low self-confidence and vulnerability.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for next season are to improve my skiing technique and shooting time. Staying overall healthy, peaceful and optimistic should help me get the right shape I guess.

Do you have any hobbies away from biathlon?

I would like to have more time for hobbies but I have to continue my studies every time I come home after competitions. The only things I can do is just spend time with my family and take some dancing sessions that are the only thing that takes away the worries, lightens me up and inspires.

How popular is biathlon in Lithuania?

Actually some years ago you could barely find any Lithuanian that knew what biathlon is. I have been repeating the same story of giving an explanation of this sport to every person that hasn’t heard about it. I feel really satisfied that after the Olympics in PyeongChang the situation is turning to be a bit better.
Of course there is nothing to talk about the funding, on this point biathlon suffers from a lack of financial aid a lot.

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

Probably I do. Hochfilzen and Anterselva. Because of the aura there. Sjusjoen track is nice for me as well.

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

That would be Algimantas Salna. Because he’s like legend walking on the earth.

Does your rifle have a name?

No.

Describe yourself in three words.

Always a dreamer.

Quickfire Questions:
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Haven’t seen it yet.
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Lithuanian of course!
Favourite shooting range: Lenzerheide.
Lucky bib number: Doesn’t exist.
Funniest biathlete on the World Cup: Klemen Bauer.
Nicest biathlete on the World Cup: Clare Egan.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Chance of winning for everyone.

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