Tag Archives: Zdeněk Vitek

Spring Things 2020!

Well Spring was not much fun this year, was it? With most of us on lockdown there wasn’t much going on. Or was there? As you know biathlon never stops and even if the athletes were stuck at home there were still some things happening!

Firstly I have to say it was quite nice to not have to look at all the biathletes holiday pictures on social media having better vacations than we do, right!

As we all know (and haven’t recovered from yet) there were some big retirements at the end of last season with Kaisa Makarainen and Martin Fourcade both ending their careers. It kind of overshadowed all the other retirees but there were a lot of biathletes hanging up their rifles this spring.

Celia Aymonier was another French athlete to go along with Fourcade. Italy lost Thierry Chenal and Alexia Runggaldier. Michal Slesingr announced the end of his career in Nove Mesto and then Veronika Vitkova joined him after annoucing she was retiring and having a baby! Congratulations to her!

Alexey Volkov has finished being an athlete and is now a coach. Emily Dreissigacker has retired from the US team and
Terezia Poliakova from Slovakia has also called it a day. Austria’s Fabienne Hartweger has stopped at just 28 and earlier in the season Chardine Sloof the Dutch biathlete who later raced for Sweden finished her career at 27 as did France’s Myrtille Begue who has hung up her rifle at age 23.

It was also reported that Krasimir Anev has finished his career apparently to do with differences with the Bulgarian Biathlon Federation.

We don’t like retirements but there was good news from Norway when para biathlon legend Nils-Erik Ulset had a baby son called Olav. He can now join the 2043 Norwegian men’s super relay team alongside Magnus Svendsen and Gustav Boe!

It was also announced that Stina Nilsson, Sweden’s World and Olympic medallist in cross country skiing, has decided to become a biathlete! Imagine if you will a sprint finish between Eckhoff, Herrmann, Roeiseland, Wierer and Nilsson! OK so it’s not that likely to happen but it would be awesome! 😉

As usual in the biathlon off season the coaches packed up their bags and did a little shuffle up and down the range to join their new teams! Are there no new coaches in biathlon? They all just swap around every summer!

In France Franck Badiou left his postition as the women’s shooting coach to be replaced by Jean Paul Giachino. Giachino had previously worked (you guessed it) as the French women’s shooting coach!!!

Gerald Hoenig has left the German team to take over as the Austrian women’s shooting coach. He is replaced in the German team by Engelbert Sklorz.

Ondrej Rybar as well as being sporting director of the Czech team will also return to his role as head coach of the men’s team. Aleš Liguan will work as his assistant with Zdeněk Vitek moving to coach the IBU Cup team.

In Ukraine Juraj Sanitra will be head coach for both the men and women. Alexey Kravchenko and Roman Pryma will work as coaches for the men while Alexander Bilanenko and Igor Yashchenko will work with the women’s team.

Belarus have also made changes with former Austrian men’s coach Reinhard Gösweiner becoming the new women’s coach and
Andrei Padin the new coach of the men’s team.

Sweden have added an extra shooting coach, Jean Marc Chabloz, to the World Cup team.

Unfortunately the Summer World Championships have been cancelled this season due to corona virus. They were to have been held in Ruhpolding from the 19-23 August. This is mainly because all mass events in Germany have been cancelled until the 31st August.

The IBU congress has also been rescheduled from September to November in Prague so the delegates will have to wait a little longer for the freebies and the cheap beer!

The IBU also announced that it has joined the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework and have launched a new website for their new Biathlon Integrity Unit. Seriously the IBU and BIU! Get some new letters at least!

They also released some findings from their fan survey which showed that people would like an app to follow biathlon and also that 100% of fans want Biathlon23 to be the next IBU president. Disclaimer: the last result may not be entirely accurate!

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Spring Things 2018!

Spring was depressing, wasn’t it! It started off with the raid at IBU HQ in Salzburg. The President of the IBU Anders Besseburg and the General Secretary Nicole Resch are both under investigation by the Austrian police for covering up positive doping samples from Russian biathletes. At the time of writing no charges have been brought against either party but both stepped down from their positions while the investigation is on going. Both deny any wrong doing.

Then we had all the retirements to deal with! The legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finally called it a day although I think he made the decision at rifle point as he seemed a bit reluctant to retire! We won’t get rid off him though, he will be coaching or commentating next season I am sure. 🙂

It was not a surprise when his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen also gave up the sport. He made no secret of the fact that he would go after the Olympics. I know what you are thinking – whose hair will I admire now? Well I take a keen interest in Sebastian Samuelsson’s coiffure but actually I have found someone with even better hair than Emil! Step forward German para- biathlete Steffen Lehmker! 🙂

Jean Guillaume Beatrix has gone too. Very sad to see a biathlon23 interviewee finish their career mainly because it is not allowed! Americans Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey also hung up their rifles along with Russell Currier leaving a lot of space to fill on the men’s team. Jaroslav Soukup and Daniel Mesotitsch retired too. Florian Graf quit and in a bit of a shock so did Canada’s Macx Davies! No!

On the women’s side we said goodbye to a lot of mums! Marie Dorin Habert, Karin Oberhofer and Weronika Nowakowska all stopped racing. All three women have young children so that may have come into their decisions. Then at the end of June Darya Domracheva decided that she would also retire wanting to focus on her child too. This followed the announcement from Nadezhda Skardino at the start of June that she was ending her career thus decimating the Belarus Olympic gold medal Relay team!

Eva Tofalvi, Hilde Fenne, Coline Varcin and Olga Podchufarova also gave up biathlon. And we lost another biathlon23 interviewee in Julia Ransom. 😦

Miriam Goessner has changed sports to go to cross country skiing. Her back problems meant she had trouble carrying the rifle and her aim meant she had trouble hitting the targets! 😉 Good luck Miri!

Gabriela Koukalova will not race again this season and possibly not ever again. She seems to have fallen out of love with biathlon! How could she?!! She also has an autobiography out which has already caused a bit of controversy. Think the fame may have gone to her head a bit! 😉

In other news Mario Dolder got married and Selina Gasparin is pregnant with her second child in exciting times for the Swiss. Not with each other though just to be clear!

Jakov Fak got married too and Ondrej Moravec had a little boy called Ondrej. Again not with each other!

Nadezhda Pisareva also married Russian ski technician Andrey Shatokin. Johannes Boe will be married on the 30th of June and Marte Olsbu and Mari Laukkanen will also get married this summer. You guessed it – not to each other! 😉

My postman assures me that he didn’t lose my wedding invitations so I have no idea what has happened to them!!!

In less exciting news Simon Schempp broke his shoulder in a bike accident and Dzinara Alimbakava had surgery on her shoulder. Florent Claude had a operation for compartment syndrome in his shins and Anton Shipulin has mononucleosis.

Finally we had the coaching merry-go-round! I don’t think so many changes have been made in the Spring before! Take a deep breath, possibly grab a snack and a drink – follow this if you can!

USA:
The Americans lost both their coaches this Spring. The women’s coach Jonne Kähkönen went back to the Finnish women’s team and the men’s coach Jonas Johansson went back to Sweden as Development Coach. They were replaced by Michael Greis (Men) and Armin Auchentaller (Women). They now have Tim Burke as athlete development manager. He didn’t stay away for long, did he!!!

France:
The French team made big changes with the appointments of Vincent Vittoz, a former cross-country skier, and Patrick Favre from the Italian team taking over as the men’s coaches. Coaching the French women will be Fredric Jean and Vincent Porret.

Norway:
The coaches for the women’s team have changed. Patrick Oberegger moves from the Italian team and ex-cross country skier Sverre Kaas will take care of the skiing.

Germany:
Germany have gone for youth with their new coaches all in their 30’s. Mark Kirchner is now head of the German men and women with Gerald Honig as German national shooting coach. Kristian Mehringer is the Senior Women’s coach with Florian Steirer as his assistant. Isidor Scheurl is the new men’s assistant coach.

Poland:
Nadija Belova is the new Polish women’s head coach taking over from Tobias Torgersen.

Italy:
Andreas Zingerle is the new World Cup and Elite Team coach. He will be assisted by Andrea Zattoni while Klaus Hoellrigl and Nicola Pozzi will coach the A team. Olympic gold medallist in shooting without skiing (apparently that’s a thing!) Niccolò Campriani will be shooting coach for all the Italian biathletes.

Russia:

New RBU president Vladimir Drachev has appointed Anatoly Khovantsev as the new head coach. He will take the men’s team with Sergei Idinov assisting him. Vitaly Noritsyn is the women’s coach with assistant Sergei Bashkirov.

Czech Republic:
Norwegian Egil Gjelland is the new coach of the women’s team. The former coach of Norway’s men will be joined by Jiří Holubec and Tomáš Kašpar. Zdeněk Vitek moves from the women’s team to coach the men with another Norwegian Anders Bratli assisting him as well as Aleš Ligaun.

Austria:
The Austrian men’s team will be coached by Ricco Gross after he left his job with the Russian men’s team.

Ukraine:
Andrei Prokunin will take over as the new Women’s Coach for Ukraine. Uros Velepec will most likely return to coach Slovenia.

Switzerland:
The new women’s head coach is Austrian Sandra Flunger who happens to be Simon Eder’s cousin!

If you have made it this far I congratulate you and encourage you to consider climbing Everest – it’s a similar feat! 😉

I imagine I have forgotten some retirements, events or coaching changes but there is a lot going on!


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