Tag Archives: Summer World Championships 2019 Minsk

Kristian Wulff: The Interview!

Photo courtesy of Kristian Wulff.

Kristian Wulff is a Danish biathlete and biathlon commentator. Originally a cross-country skier he came to biathlon a little later in his career. He has competed in two Summer World Championships so far. He commentates for Danish TV as well as having full time job as a teacher. He is a busy man!

Follow Kristian on Twitter: @Kristian_Wulff

Why did you become a biathlete?

I probably started as every other cross-country skier – in a sled pulled by my parents and got my first pair of skis when I was three years old. In Denmark there is not a lot of snow in winter, so we went skiing primarily in Sweden and Norway and only for a few weeks per year. When I was about 10 years old I participated in the Danish National Championships in cross-country (held in Sweden) and I found out that skiing was the perfect sport. Beautiful nature, high pulse, and demanding technique – combined!
I have participated as a cross-country skier in the Youth Olympics, Junior WCH, and WCH in Oslo 2011. But with full time study and becoming a father at the age of 26 I stopped competing – and only did training for fun. Four years ago at the age of 30 I started regular Biathlon training together with other former cross-country skiers at the local club. Now I have been to two Summer World Championships – Nove Mesto and Minsk – and I still want to train and compete even though I am on the second page on the result list.
Earlier I loved cross-country skiing because of combination of the beautiful nature, high pulse and demanding technique – NOW I love Biathlon because it adds shooting – and that makes it even more fun!

Tell us about the Summer World Championships this season?

It was a very good experience. I was in good skiing shape, but not in that good shooting shape. So I know what I need to work on. It was nice together with the other nations at the hotel, so I did some networking and talked to some of the other biathletes to get even more experience and advice to bring home to Denmark. Minsk was also a part of the trip – a tourist attraction. It was good to spent some time with the team together in Minsk on the last day. We did some classic sightseeing in a city that I would not have travelled to on my own with my family – and that’s what this is all about – to get some good times and get to know the culture in other countries.

How did you become a biathlon commentator?

I started working as cross country commentator for Eurosport in 2008-2009 but got a job offer at TV2 Denmark (a national channel) for the Olympics in 2010 – both cross country skiing and biathlon. Since then I have mostly done biathlon for TV2 and I love it. It is my passion – I would watch everything anyway. The hard thing is to combine it with time with my family, my training and my other full time job as a high school teacher.

What was the best race you commentated on last season?

Uhhh… that’s a tricky one… I think it must have been WCH Östersund 15 km Mass start with the crazy victory for Dominik Windisch. I think he came in to the last shooting placed as number 10 with everyone standing in the crazy snowstorm in Östersund and he was one of the few to shoot clean and suddenly becoming world champion! That’s what biathlon is all about!

Are you going to compete on the IBU Cup this season? If not which Danish biathletes should we look out for?

I have not done the final plans for this winter. Maybe I will be at Sjusjöen at the IBU cup or maybe before the opening of the season. But I know that my teammate Jens Hulgaard wants to qualify for the WCH in Antholz, so I hope to commentate the championships with a Danish flag on the start list!

You are teacher and a commentator? When do you have time to train and what have you been doing for summer training?

Yes, I am a full time teacher I teach geography and sport science. I train very little but very hard! That’s my motto! Sometimes in my 30 minutes lunch break I do some intervals on a Thoraxtrainer (a skiergometer) before I have to do a lecture in sports science with my students. They find it OK that I am a bit sweaty starting the class I think…
This summer I have been in southern France and in Tuscany with my family – and with my bike on the bike rack behind the car. It has been great with a lot of biking and running – but no shooting practice. So that is the key for development in biathlon to train more shooting.

You are heavily involved in trying to get more people to do biathlon in Denmark. How is it going so far?

At the summer WCH last year we were only two participants. This year we were 5 participants – 3 seniors together with 2 juniors. So that’s progress! Next year we plan to bring one or two junior girls to the summer WCH. So we are still trying to improve

What are your strengths and weaknesses? (biathlon or commentary!)

My strength is being enthusiastic – both in biathlon and in commentary!
I love skiing full speed and sometime find it difficult to calm down entering the shooting range. So maybe this is also my weakness.
And I love biathlon so much that I maybe talk a bit too much doing my commentary. So maybe that’s also my weakness.
Being enthusiastic about biathlon is both my strength and apparently also my weakness!

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

I love the track in Holmenkollen because of the crowd – I participated as a cross country skier in WCH Oslo 2011 and it was amazing to hear the “Kollenbrølet” (Kollen roar). And I commentated the WCH Oslo in biathlon in 2016 live on site at the stadium and experienced once again the crazy “Kollenbrøl”!

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

Like everyone else I have to say Ole Einar Bjørndalen because he could always find some small details to improve. And because he went on for so many years. I am 34 years old, so he motivates me to continue improving even though I’m not getting any younger.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ahh… nope… I actually don’t have my own rifle yet. I always use the same rifle at my club so it’s kind of mine, but I have not bought my own yet.

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic, Social, Ambitious

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): hahah… Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy (IN BLUE)
Favourite shooting range: Antholz because of the surroundings
Lucky bib number: 23…
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Johannes Bø
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup:Klemen Bauer
Best thing about being a biathlete: Seeing places that you would not normally see as a tourist and training with some cool stuff – skis and a rifle – what’s not to like!

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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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