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Wild Rumpus Sports

Dunklee Leads North Americans With 16th in Mass Start

RUHPOLDING, Germany – Susan Dunklee led the four North American starters in the 12.5 / 15 k mass start at World Championships on Sunday, placing 16th with a single penalty. She finished 1:28 behind the winner, Tora Berger of Norway. Zina Kocher of Canada placed 23rd with four penalties.

In the men’s race, Americans Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey placed 23rd and 25th with four and five penalties.

Women’s results / men’s results

Helena Ekholm To Retire

There seems to be no gray area here: just like Magdalena Neuner, Swedish biathlon star Helena Ekholm has decided to retire at the end of the season, as widely reported by Scandinavian newspapers. “It really has nothing to do with results,” said Ekholm, who on Tuesday won bronze in the 15 k individual at World Championships. “It comes from the the heart. I unfortunately don’t have the motivation to continue to the 2014 Olympics.” Ekholm has won 13 races, including two individual World Championship titles, and has also taken gold in several championship relays. Her departure will leave a large void in the Swedish women’s team; only one other member of the squad, Anna Maria Nilsson, has stood on the World Cup podium, and she has only done so once. It will also be another blow to the depth of the international women’s field. Neuner, who is 25, is currently…

Sachenbacher-Stehle To Switch to Biathlon?

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, who also has 14 FIS World Cup wins to her name, is reportedly considering switching to biathlon. According to several German newspapers including Zeit, the 31-year-old three-time Olympian will begin training with the biathletes this spring. She did say, however, that she wanted to keep both doors open for the 2012-13 season. Sachenbacher-Stehle has not raced on the cross-country World Cup this season, competing instead on the Alpen Cup circuit. At German national championships, she placed eighth in the two races she entered, a 5 k classic and a 10 k skiathlon. The German women’s biathlon team is facing the retirement of star Magdalena Neuner, and is apparently pleased with the prospect of Sachenbacher-Stehle’s conversion. “We no longer have the power we have had in the past on the women’s biathlon team.” Deutscher Skiverband Director Thomas Pfuller told Zeit. “To close the gap by…

Canada 13th in Men’s Relay

RUHPOLDING, Germany – The Canadians didn’t hit their goals in today’s men’s relay, but they did hit a lot of targets, only skiing one penalty loop thanks to the use of ten spare rounds. The team ended up 13th, 3:20 behind the winning Norwegians. Marc-Andre Bedard started things off for Canada, and struggled on the range more than his teammates: he used a total of four spares and skied the team’s only penalty. With the 15th-fastest course time, he didn’t drop as low as some of the race’s other shooting-challenged competitors – for instance Sweden, which was a shocking 28th at the first handoff – but tagged in 20th position. JP Le Guellec turned in a strong performance to move the team up to 12th, using a single spare round and skiing the ninth-fastest time of all second-leg racers. His effort was on par with the best: he only lost…

Kocher 26th, Heinicke 30th to Pace Canada at World Champs

RUHPOLDING, Germany – Canada’s Zina Kocher has finished in the top 30 in every race at World Championships so far, which has earned her a spot in the exclusive mass start race on Sunday. But in Wednesday’s 15 k individual, she was for the first time joined in the top 30 by a teammate. Megan (Tandy) Heinicke shot 0-1-0-1 to finish 30th, the best World Championships performance of her career. Heinicke was the top Canadian at the 2010 Olympics, collecting a 36th-place finish in the pursuit, but since then a lot has changed. She married coach iLmar Heinicke, and after Biathlon BC lost funding following the Olympics the pair moved to Klingenthal, Germany; that November, Heinicke gave birth to a son. Her husband still coaches her, and she has competed domestically in Germany for the last two years as well as traveling to IBU Cup races and a few World…

Domracheva Bests Neuner for World Champs Pursuit Title

RUHPOLDING, Germany – It didn’t seem possible until the very last stage of the race, but Darya Domracheva of Belarus beat out Magdalena Neuner of Germany for gold in the 10 k women’s pursuit this afternoon. After shooting an identical zero-one in prone, the distance grew between the two women when Domracheva missed a shot in the first standing stage. She got the last laugh, though, when Neuner missed two in the final stage; the Belorussian was able to head out onto the trails while Neuner was stuck in the penalty loop and power her way to a 25-second win. Olga Vilukhina of Russia took bronze. Full race report to follow. Results

Committee Changes Seeding Rules for World Champs Sprint; Motives Questionable?

RUHPOLDING, Germany – World Championship and Olympic races have always been seeded differently than regular World Cups: World Cup ranking plays a smaller role, with a maximum of two athletes from each country in any one of the four “draw groups”. Each nation is allowed four starters regardless of nations cup ranking; the top ten ranked athletes in the World Cup may start in any group, while those ranked below the top 80 may only start in the last two groups. Thanks to a November rule change, however, today’s seeding protocol for the World Championship sprint will not follow this rule. Four months ago, coaches voted to enact a new rule that the World Cup system would be used in the case of extreme weather or other circumstances which might change conditions over the course of the race; this was fairly obviously in response to the debacle that was the…

Doherty’s 13th Paces U.S. in World Youth and Junior Pursuits in Finland

Sean Doherty of Conway, New Hampshire led the U.S. team in the culminating pursuit competitions at World Youth and Junior Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland today. Based on Friday’s sprint, Doherty started the youth men’s 10 k pursuit in 13th position, and that’s where he finished. Along the way he picked up five penalties and dropped as low as 27th before using fast skiing and a clean final stage to move back up to 13th. Doherty had the tenth-best ski time of the day. Sam Dougherty slipped from 35th to 42nd on the back of four penalties, and Nick Proell missed six shots to drop from 40th to 56th. In the junior men’s 12.5 k pursuit, Ethan Dreissigacker was hoping to capitalize on his 20th place finish in the sprint, which had tied his career best and was the best finish for and American junior male all week. In the pursuit,…

Russia’s Billionaire Biathlon Boss Raps…. Badly

Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire who owns the New Jersey Nets, runs the Russian Biathlon Union, and is running for his country’s presidency, rapped on a comedy show. The lyrics include “our English is bad,” which is accurate; Prokhorov appears in the video to find the humor in his skills or lack thereof. Here’s hoping that there’s a rap battle among federation heads at World Championships… In other Prokhorov news, the oligarch’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is examined in this week’s New Yorker.

Wenzel Wins Individual Race at World Juniors for Canada

21-year-old Calgary native Kutis Wenzel picked up the second World Junior Championships win of his career on Tuesday, missing a single shot en route to a 42-second victory in the 15 k individual race in Kontiolahti, Finland. Previously, Wenzel had won the sprint and placed third in the pursuit at 2009 World Youth Championships in Canmore, Alberta. He only finished one race at the 2010 event and did not compete in 2011. Wenzel was the only competitor in the field to miss only one shot, and only three, including second-place Marius Hol of Norway, missed two. Wenzel also had the tenth-fastest ski time of the day. Look for a full writeup of the race on FasterSkier later today. Results: junior men’s individual / women’s