It’s Olympic and Paralympic season! Good – because we love the races for the gold medals – bad because it usually marks the end of a lot of careers and I forecast a lot of tears for both these things!
However they are still in the future in February and March 2022 so it’s back to the present and a round up of everything that happened in spring.
We have had a couple of post season retirements on the women’s side with Nicole Gontier of Italy and Irina Starykh of Russia calling it a day. Bulgaria’s Vladimir Oryashkov hung up his rifle too due to persisitent injuries. We also had a country swap with Natalia Ushkina officially racing for Romania next season instead of Russia.
There was also a sport swap with Italy’s Guiseppe Montello heading to cross country. Normally I would not approve of such a heinous move but after all his back problems it’s probably a good idea not to carry a rifle any longer. I’m sure he will show those FIS types how it’s done!
Evgeniya Pavlova got married and so did Ulina Kaisheva and so they will be Evgeniya Burtasova and Uliana Nigmatullina this season. Olena Pidhrushna will also use her married name Bilosiuk. Marion Diegentesch will be Wiesensarter after her wedding. Carsen Campbell got married too but he will keep his surname!
Simon Desthieux and Celia Aymonier became parents for the first time to a boy. Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht had a daughter and so did Terezia Poliakova. Hanna Sola got engaged as did Estonian couple Regina Oja and Kalev Ermits. Congratulations to all! They also have a new coach with Fiodor Svoboda taking over the Estonian team.
Elsewhere on the coaching roundabout or should that be roller coaster we saw Adam Kolodziejczyk take over the Polish team with Justyna Kowalczyk-Tekieli (yes the cross country legend herself!) as sports director.
Uros Velepec left Slovenia to return to the Ukrainian women’s team which means Juraj Sanitra will be in charge of just the men’s team this season after doing both roles last year. Janez Marič replaces Velepec as the men’s coach for Slovenia.
The IBU have been busy improving their environmental credentials launching an initiative to plant 100,000 trees in May asking fans to earn trees through exercise. It was a big success. They also finally announced a ban on fluoro ski wax based products specifically C8 fluorocarbons.
An academy education manager has been appointed to help with education, research and to help biathletes compete and study for future careers at the same time. Athlete ambassadors have also been selected to raise awareness across three areas: integrity matters, gender equality and sustainability.
There have also been changes to the calendar with the scheduled round in Minsk-Raubichi being swapped to Kontiolahti due to the political situation in Belarus. The season opening which was to be hosted by Kontiolahti will now take place in Oestersund just before round 1 of the World Cup ….in Oestersund!
Biathlon Canada have launched a video series called Sights on Beijing detailing their preparation for the Olympics. You can find them on their youtube page.
In injury news Amanda Lightfoot fell off her bike on a fast downhill descent and landed on her face. Fortunately she was ok with some facial injuries and a hurt knee but it could have been a lot worse. There has also been a lot of road rash pictures on social media from the likes of Ingrid Tandrevold, Sarah Beaudry, Regina Oja and Lena Haecki from rollerski accidents. Emilien Jacquelin fractured his wrist.
Justus Strelow can ride a unicycle! Vetle Christiansen has dyed his hair blonde and Sturla Laegreid had all his hair cut off! Hopefully he will not have the same issues as Samson!
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