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Wild Rumpus Sports

Mäkäräinen Bests Yurlova in Early Season Sprint

Competing in one of the first biathlon races of the season, a sprint in Kontiolahti, Finland, hometown athlete Kaisa Mäkäräinen bested 2015 World Champion Katja Yurlova of Russia by a whopping minute and 23 seconds over 7.5 k.

Billed as an “International Grand Prix”, the competitions featured primarily Finnish athletes but also those from Belarus, Russia, and Estonia. Yurlova, who trains independently from the Russian national team, has close ties to Kontiolahti as a training base.

That didn’t help as both she and Mäkäräinen, the 2011 and 2014 World Cup Total Score winner, missed two shots in standing.

The conditions were difficult,” Mäkäräinen told Finnish website Kestävyys Urheilu. “The prone was good, and four standing shots were under control, even if one of them went high. The last shot was off completely, it was useless error.”

Yurlova couldn’t keep up on the tracks and finished second. Annuka Siltakorpi placed third, also with two penalties, +2:36.

Matti Hakola led an all-Finland men’s podium in the 10 k sprint. With one penalty he bested second-place Mikko Loukkaanhuhta, who had two penalties, by 59.8 seconds.


Biathlon Canada Finalizes World Cup/IBU Cup Teams

On Friday, three Canadian men and two women punched their tickets to start this season on the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup, after the second race of Biathlon Canada’s team trials at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta.

While Nathan Smith and Rosanna Crawford won the men’s 10-kilometer and women’s 7.5 k sprint on Friday, respectively, the two national-team members were already prequalified for the first World Cup trimester. So was Brendan Green, who placed second, 10 seconds off Smith’s winning time of 31:44.3.

But it was the men’s third- and fourth-place finishers, Christian Gow and Macx Davies, who earned two of the remaining three spots on the World Cup team, with Gow finishing 13.1 seconds back in third and Davies placing fourth (+17.1).

None of the 19 men who finished shot clean during the two-stage race; Smith missed four targets, and Green had three penalties. Both Gow and Davies had a single miss.

Scott Gow, who placed eighth (+1:33.6), also made the World Cup team for Period 1.

Matt Neumann, Pearce Hanna, Scott Perras, and Carsen Campbell finished fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively, to secure their spot on the IBU Cup men’s team.

While Crawford and Megan Tandy (formerly Heinicke) were prequalified for the women’s World Cup team, Zina Kocher and Julia Ransom were also nominated on Friday. Kocher placed third, 52.6 seconds behind Crawford, who won the sprint in 26:53.3 with a single miss. Ransom was fourth (+1:02.3), with two penalties. Kocher had three misses and finished 15 seconds behind Emma Lunder, who was second on Friday with two penalties.

Lunder, who ended up 37.6 seconds off Crawford’s winning time, was named to the IBU Cup team, along with Audrey Vaillancourt, Sarah Beaudry, Erin Yungblut, and Leilani Tam von Burg. According to Biathlon Canada’s team announcement, Yungblut declined her selection to the team.

Vaillancourt placed fifth on Friday, Beaudry was sixth, Yungblut seventh, and Tam von Burg eighth out of 10 women.

Friday’s 7.5/10 k sprint results

Tuesday’s 7.5 k/10 k individual results

Canada’s Trimester 1 Teams:

World Cup men

  1. Nathan Smith***
  2. Brendan Green***
  3. Christian Gow
  4. Macx Davies
  5. Scott Gow

World Cup women

  1. Rosanna Crawford***
  2. Megan Tandy***
  3. Zina Kocher
  4. Julia Ransom

***pre-selected based on performances from last season

IBU Cup men

  1. Matthew Neumann
  2. Pearce Hanna
  3. Scott Perras
  4. Carsen Campbell

IBU Cup women

  1. Emma Lunder
  2. Audrey Vaillancourt
  3. Sarah Beaudry
  4. Erin Yungblut**
  5. Leilani Tam von Burg

** declined selection

Crawford, Smith Win First Selection Races

Rosanna Crawford and Nathan Smith won the first competitions of a two-race series in Canmore to determine which Canadian biathletes will be racing on the World Cup and IBU Cup circuits at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season.

Crawford took a 34-second win over Zina Kocher, with Julia Ransom in third just five seconds behind in the 7.5 k sprint.

In the 10 k sprint, Smith took an even bigger win, besting Scott Gow by 45 seconds. Brendan Green was third, +1:00.6.

Smith, Green, and Crawford, as well as Megan Heinicke (who did not compete at the race), are pre-qualified for the first period of World Cups. The third and fourth members of the team will be selected based on results from today’s and Friday’s races.

Meanwhile, Gow and his brother Christian, Ransom, Macx Davies, Emma Lunder, Sarah Beaudry, and Audrey Vaillancourt are guaranteed spots on the IBU Cup tour, although they could move up to the World Cup. Other IBU Cup spots will be filled based on only Friday’s race.

Time trial results

Summer Biathlon World Championships Recap

This past weekend, Summer Biathlon World Championships (SBWCH) took place in Cheile Gradistei, Romania, a resort town 180 kilometers from Bucharest, the capital of the country. The races began on Friday with a mixed relay, continued on Saturday with a sprint, and wrapped up on Sunday with a pursuit.

Friday’s competitions started with excellent weather; the sun was out and the temperature was warm. However, by the time the senior competition started, winds began sweeping across the shooting range, affecting the accuracy of the competitors.

The Russian team of Ekaterina Avvakumova, Olga Kalina, Sergey Klyachin and Sergey Korastylev was able to persevere through the tough shooting conditions to get the win. The team took the lead on the last leg when Korastylev needed only two spare rounds during standing to pass his competition, which were picking up penalties. Bulgaria took second on the day, 26.8 seconds behind the Russian team and Romania rounded out the podium in third, 38.6 seconds back from the winners.

In Saturday’s sprint race, Ukraine’s Olga Abramova claimed the victory for the women with the Polish duo of Monika Hojnisz and Magdalena Gwizdon taking second and third. In the men’s race, Bulgarian Iliev Vladimir crossed the line first followed by Artem Pryma of Ukraine in second and Martin Otcenas from Slovakia in third.

For the pursuit race on Sunday, the wind yet again picked up. However, it did not deter Saturday’s winner, Abramova, from winning the women’s race despite five penalties. She was yet again followed by Hojnisz who claimed second despite having seven penalties. Hojnisz finished 52.7 seconds behind the winner. Rounding out the podium in third was Ukrainian Juliya Dzhyma who had only two penalties on the day and was 1:09.7 behind the winner.

In the men’s race, Otcenas was able to shoot pretty well on his way to victory, picking up only four penalties. Pryma also had only four penalties on his way to second place in the pursuit, 28.6 seconds behind Otcenas. Finishing in third was Matej Kazar of Slovakia who was able to ski strong despite having five penalties to claim the final spot on the podium, 42 seconds back. Saturday’s winner Vladimir struggled on the range in the pursuit, getting seven penalties and falling down to sixth place.

Meanwhile in the junior race, Romanian Marius Ungureanu claimed his nation’s first-ever gold medal at the championships.

More results and information

Biathlon Book Wins Top Skiing Prize

At the International Skiing History Association Awards Dinner in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, last week, the book Everyone To Skis!: Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon by W.D. Frank was awarded the Ullr Award, which is “Presented for a single outstanding contribution or several contributions to skiing’s historical record in published book form” according to the International Skiing History Association website (where you can also find a list of past winners).

It’s one of the first times a book with a notable focus on the nordic disciplines has been recognized. In 1996, Glenn Parkinson’s First Tracks won the award for chronicling the development of skiing in Maine.

You can read a 2013 FasterSkier interview with W. D. Frank here, and purchase his book from Powell’s or Amazon.

Shipulin Bests Fourcade, Domracheva Wins “Mega Mass Start” in Tyumen

After finishing the IBU World Cup season in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia, two weeks ago, some of the world’s top biathletes returned to Russia this week to compete in the “Champions Race” in the Tyumen region. The format was a “mega mass start”: 8 shooting stages, spread over 15 kilometers for women and 20 kilometers for men.

In the women’s race, Darya Domracheva of Belarus skied to a 24-second win over Russia’s Darya Virolainen. Virolainen had four penalties to Domracheva’s three. Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third with six penalties, 1:12 back.

Today’s victory has turned such that it might seem that I am very prepared for these competitions, and by and large I was,” Domracheva told organizers after her victory. “After the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk I was in Novosibirsk, where I participated in the opening of some wonderful children’s competitions, and then went to Ramsau to the mountains. There I was snowboarding and skiing… We were a bit unlucky with the weather, but managed to save the ski form for today.”

Domracheva has enormous support in Russia. She was born in Minsk in 1986, when it was part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Soviet Union. Domracheva moved with her family to the Khanty-Mansiysk region for 15 years growing up, and began doing biathlon in Russia. She later returned to Belarus, which had declared independence in 1991. In her first competition for Belarus, she won the World Youth sprint and pursuit races in 2005. Despite leaving Russia, it does not seem to have hurt her relationship with fans there.

In Tyumen, I was struck by the support of fans… it’s great, very helpful, thank you very much!” she said.

In the men’s race, Russia’s Anton Shipulin completed the 20 k in just over an hour, and beat Martin Fourcade of France by just 0.5 seconds. Russian teammate Evgeniy Garanichev was third, 11 seconds back.

For Shipulin, it was payback since Fourcade bested him in this same race last season. Shipulin had six penalties to Fourcade’s three.

Fourcade was penalized for skipping a penalty loop, otherwise he likely would have won the race.

“Always good to remember that when you do a mistake you should go on the penalty loop!” he posted on his Instagram page. “2nd of the Tyumen race cause of this stupid mistake!”


Women 15 k

1. Darya Domracheva (Belarus) – 56:30.7 (3)
2. Darya Virolainen (Russia) – +24.1 (4)
3. Kaisa Mäkäräinen (Finland) – +1:12.0 (6)
4. Ekaterina Yurlova (Russia) – +1:47.0 (3)
5. Irina Trusova (Russia) – +2:00.6 (3)
6. Karin Oberhofer (Italy) – +2:04.8 (6)
7. Dorothea Wierer (Italy) – +2:27.7 (9)
8. Svetlana Sleptsova (Russia) – +2:50.9 (4)
9. Olga Abramova (Ukraine) – +2:54.9 (3)
10. Nadezhda Scardino (Belarus) – +3:06.4 (3)

Men 20 k

1. Anton Shipulin (Russia) – 1:00:19.2 (6)
2. Martin Fourcade (France) – +0.5 (3)
3. Evgeniy Garanichev (Russia) – +11.1 (5)
4. Michal Šlesingr (Czech Republic) – +39.6 (3)
5. Simon Susilov (Russia) – +1:01.0 (5)
6. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway) – +1:07.2 (4)
7. Sergey Semenov (Ukraine) – +1:38.4 (5)
8. Jean-Guillaume Beatrix (France) – +1:54.4 (2)
9. Maxim Burtasov (Russia) – +2:13.7 (6)
10. Jakov Fak (Slovenia) – +2:25.0 (6)

Fak, Dahlmeier Win Mass Starts; Crawford Crashes Out in Khanty Mansiysk

Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished fourth in today's 12.5 k mass start in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and secured the first World Cup overall title of her career. (Photo: IBU Biathlonworld/Instagram)

Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished fourth in today’s 12.5 k mass start in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and secured the first World Cup overall title of her career. (Photo: IBU Biathlonworld/Instagram)

The season ended on a high note for Laura Dahlmeier of Germany and Jakov Fak of Slovenia, who won the season-ending 12.5 and 15 k mass start competitions in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Fak shot a perfect 20 for 20 and went to the front after the third shooting stage. He skied the loop by himself, then calmly cleaned all his targets to finish up, skiing to an easy 10-second win. That also secured him third place in the overall World Cup standings.

This is a nice way to end the season and win the final event that I won the World Championship in,” Fak said in a press conference.

Tarjei Bø of Norway left the range in second place after the final shooting stage, but was caught on the trails by Russia’s Anton Shipulin. Shipulin left him in the dust once the pair entered the stadium, and skated to second place in front of a home crowd.

I only wish that I could have shot clean,” said Shipulin, who had two penalties and had to ski the fastest time of the day to make it up to second place. “It is always good to do well here at home, but I would have liked to won a race.”

Canada’s Nathan Smith collected four penalties to finish 17th, and Leif Nordgren of the USA picked up three penalties to finish 24th.

In the women’s race, things were marred on just the second loop by a major crash that snared at least a quarter of the field. On a fast downhill corner, one racer lost control and in the mayhem of trying to avoid her, others went down as well. Three racers fared worse than the rest. Weronika Nowakowska-Ziemniak of Poland lost a ski, which was eventually replaced; it cost her at least a minute and she went on to finish 24th.

Veronika Vitkova, a favorite to podium for the Czech Republic, also lost a ski. She began skating up the the trail on one ski, running with her other foot, until she could find a serviceman with a new ski. She returned to the race, but accumulated five penalties and eventually dropped out.

Canada’s Rosanna Crawford had the worst luck, with her ski running straight through the protective fence and becoming stuck. It was a painful way to stop from high speed, and it took help from several people to get her untangled. She did not continue the race.

With those competitors lost in action, the women’s field raced on. Darya Domracheva of Belarus took an early lead, but picked up penalties in the standing stages and dropped out of contention. Instead, Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic left the final stage first, and put a small gap on Dahlmeier. But Soukalova seemed to have used her energy too early, as later in the loop Dahlmeier drew even with her. Coming into the stadium, Dahlmeier put in a finishing sprint and dropped the Czech.

It was the second win of the season for the 21-year-old German, who ends the year ranked eighth in the total score.

I never thought back in August, October or even in February that I would win this race or any other this season,” she said in a press conference. “It has been a wonderful season for our team…Now I am ready for some holidays and no biathlon for 5 or 6 weeks.”

Marie Dorin Habert of France finished a solid third, and Domracheva fourth. That gave her the overall World Cup title, for the first time in her career.

For the United States, Susan Dunklee finished 19th and Hannah Dreisigacker 26th, each with six penalties.

results: men / women

Nathan Smith 5th; Fourcade Wins Last World Cup Sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk


Nathan Smith was back in the flower ceremony on Thursday, the first day of the final IBU World Cup stop in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, as the Canadian placed fifth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint.

Coming off a silver medal at 2015 World Championships in the sprint, Smith had a single prone miss and finished 34 seconds after France’s Martin Fourcade, who shot clean and won in 23:47. Russia’s Anton Shipulin also hit all his targets and finished 13 seconds back in second, and Germany’s Benedikt Doll placed third with one standing penalty, 18.3 seconds behind Fourcade.

Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs cleaned and missed the podium by three-tenths of a second in fourth.

Smith finished 0.4 seconds ahead of Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, who was sixth, and 1.5 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Lindström in seventh.

“I knew if my skiing came back up that a top-10 should be more than possible,” Smith wrote in an email. “I would say I actually exceeded my expectations a little today.  I would’ve been pretty happy with a top-16.”

American Leif Nordgren missed one standing and ended up 21st, 1:14 behind Fourcade, for one of his top-five career bests.

“I’m pretty surprised with this result today, and really happy about it,” Nordgren wrote, adding that he started to come down with an upper-respiratory sickness after World Championships in Finland. “… The last loop I pushed as hard as I could, I was definitely starting to die a little, but about halfway through I got caught by Shipulin and it was nice to have someone to hang on to for the rest of the loop.”

Canada’s Brendan Green placed 30th (+1:23.5) with one standing penalty, and Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke finished 51st (+1:54.2) and 55th (+1:57.3) for the U.S.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth race recap on


France Wins Mixed Relay, Canada Seventh in Final Race of IBU Cup Season

Zina Kocher (r) tags Marc-Andre Bedard in the mixed relay on the last day of the IBU Cup 8 and 2014/2015 IBU Cup season in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Zina Kocher (r) tags Marc-Andre Bedard in the mixed relay on the last day of the IBU Cup 8 and 2014/2015 IBU Cup season in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

(Press release)

CANMORE – Ecstatic over the news of Canada’s first male world championships medal in the history of the sport, Canadian biathletes had extra motivation for the final race of IBU Cup – the mixed relay. Emma Lunder, Zina Kocher, Marc-Andre Bedard, and Macx Davies suited up for Canada, which was considered one of their strongest relay teams to date on the IBU Cup. All four have World Cup experience.

But while the Canadians performed well and finished a respectable seventh, the French, Austrians and Italians surprised the field by all reaching the podium on the final day of competition. The heavily favoured Germans finished fourth, while the Russians, who had reached the podium all week – finished eighth. The upstart Italians wowed the crowd early on by holding onto first place until the final leg, when they were caught by the French and Italians. France won in 1:07.05, 11 seconds ahead of Austria, and 25 seconds ahead of Italy.

Lunder started the relay for only the third time in her career, and shot extremely well to keep Canada in the mix early on. As the last race of a long week, she left it all on the line

“I was really happy with today’s race. The first loop was super relaxed. I was so happy to be starting, because I really enjoy that now,” Lunder said. “On the last lap, last IBU race of the season, I just went for it.

She shot clean on her standing bout, and couldn’t believe it when she caught the favoured Germans on her final lap. She had raced many of the same athletes earlier in the year on the IBU Cup circuit.

“To be skiing with them, and passing them was confidence boosting, for sure.”

Kocher kept the team in the mix, while Bedard and Davies took risks to make up time, however they couldn’t catch the strong skiers in front of them.

Following the race, Biathlon Canada High Performance Director Chris Lindsay said he was happy with Canada’s performance over the week, as they achieved their goal of two medals. The Canadian women won two medals, and had two more top six performances.

“Overall, it was a fantastic week,” Lindsay said. “I think we had a lot of successes, especially on the women’s side… (with the men) we saw some improvement. It was difficult, especially yesterday. The conditions broke down really quickly and unfortunately we weren’t as ready for those changing conditions as we could have been. But it’s true, I would have like to see more performances out of the men.”

Lindsay said the men’s field in Canmore was extremely tough, and he praised Bedard for his string of strong races.

The organizing committee will now debrief the races, and begin preparations for the World Cup races in Canmore in February 2016.


Kocher One Spot Off Podium in Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Canada's Zina Kocher after placing fourth in Friday's 7.5 sprint on the last day of individual racing at IBU Cup 8 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Zina Kocher after placing fourth in Friday’s 7.5 sprint on the last day of individual racing at IBU Cup 8 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Coming off silver in the IBU Cup sprint last Sunday, Zina Kocher finished fourth on Friday to lead Canada in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint on the final day of individual IBU Cup racing in Canmore, Alberta.

Hungry for another podium after placing 19th in Wednesday’s 15 k, Kocher missed two shots to finish 15.1 seconds from the podium and 39.3 seconds behind Russia’s Anna Nikulina, who won in 20:09.9. She continued Canada’s streak of having a woman in the top six in every IBU Cup race in Canmore so far this week.

“I’m happy with it,” Kocher told Biathlon Canada. “I wasn’t actually feeling too great [Friday] morning. I had to focus more on believing that I felt really good, being positive and getting back the clarity of shooting. I was frustrated with my performance in the individual. I just didn’t feel as focused and clear in the shooting as I did [last] Sunday.”

Nikulina shot 9-for-10 yet edged Germany’s clean-shooting Karolin Horchler by 9.4 seconds. France’s Marine Bolliet placed third with one penalty, 24.2 seconds back.

Kocher missed one prone and another standing, but explained she was fortunate the wind calmed down for most of her second shooting.

“With my last shot, it started to pick up again. I took too long and ended up missing,” she said. “It’s frustrating because that would have landed me on the podium. It’s not a perfect race, but a lot more perfect than my season has been. It’s good to end it that way.”

After Saturday’s mixed relay, Kocher intends to finish her season at Canadian Biathlon Championships in Hinton, Alberta, according to Biathlon Canada.

Three Canadian women finished in the top 20, with Emma Lunder in 16th (+2:02.3.) with three misses, and Claude Godbout in 19th (+2:18.3) with two penalties. Also for Canada, Erin Yungblut placed 23rd, Leilani Tam Von Burg was 30th, and Sarah Beaudry was 33rd.

Katrina Howe was the top U.S. woman in 26th (+2:59.3) with three misses, and Kelsey Dickinson made the top 30 in 28th (+3:12.4) with two penalties.

After finishing eighth at IBU Junior World Championships, Aidan Millar of Canmore was the leading Canadian man in Friday’s 10 k sprint in 32nd, 2:54.1 behind Germany’s Christoph Stephan, who won in 25:52.1. Stephan cleaned, as did Austria’s David Komatz, who tied Norway’s Vegard Gjermundshaug for second, 38 seconds back. The Norwegian missed two shots en route to silver.

Temperatures were above 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) by the time the men raced, yet Millar, 19, posted the second-best IBU Cup result of his career with two misses (2+0).

“It was pretty sloppy. Some parts had lots of water underneath, so it was slow, but for the most part it held up pretty good,” Millar told Biathlon Canada. “Ever since world juniors were here in 2009, I’ve always dreamed of racing internationally at home, so it was an amazing experience.”

Also for Canada, Macx Davies finished just behind Millar in 33rd (+3:03.9) with four penalties, Marc-Andre Bedard was 35th, Scott Perras 39th, Matt Neumann 42nd, and Carsen Campbell 45th.

For the U.S., Patrick Johnson placed 41st, Wynn Roberts was 43rd, Ethan Dreissigacker 44th, and Max Durtschi 46th.

In Saturday’s mixed relay, Lunder, Kocher, Bedard, and Davies are slated to start for Canada, and Dickinson, Howe, Johnson, and Roberts will represent the U.S.

Results: Women | Men

Mixed relay start list

Beaudry Sixth, Bedard Eighth in Canmore IBU Cup 15/20 k

Canada's Emma Lunder skis off from the range to place second in the women's 7.5 km sprint at IBU Cup 7 at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Feb. 28. She placed 17th in Wednesday's 15 k individual with six penalties. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Emma Lunder skis off from the range to place second in the women’s 7.5 km sprint at IBU Cup 7 at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Feb. 28. She placed 17th in Wednesday’s 15 k individual with six penalties. (Photo: Pam Doyle/

Canada just keeps finding its way to the flower ceremony. On Wednesday, the home nation tallied yet another top six in the third IBU Cup race in Canmore, Alberta, with 20-year-old Sarah Beaudry placing sixth in the women’s 15-kilometer individual race.

With 19-for-20 shooting, Beaudry finished 2:23.1 behind Germany’s Karolin Horchler, who won in 44:34.4 with a single penalty as well. For Horchler, it was her third win of the week in Canmore,  and she edged Norway’s Kaia Woeien Nicolaisen by 12.2 seconds for the win. France’s Marine Bolliet placed third, 1:02.2 back.

“It’s definitely one of my best races this year,” Beaudry said in a Biathlon Canada press release. “It’s just awesome to be at home, do well, hit some targets, have some fun in the mountains in the nice sun. I had some rough races at World Juniors. I wanted to put out a solid race and remember what it was like.”

At the IBU Junior World Championships, Beaudry posted a top result of 15th. On Wednesday, she wore a Canadian flag sticker on her cheek and sent good vibes to her father, who was undergoing hip surgery at the time.

“It’s so easy to be relaxed at home,” Beaudry said. “It feels more like another NorAm in a good way. Knowing everyone out here and the volunteers.”

Also in the women’s 15 k, Canada’s Emma Lunder placed 17th with six penalties, Zina Kocher was 19th with seven misses, and Claude Godbout made the top 20 in 20th with four penalties. Erin Yungblut placed 25th and and Melanie Schultz was 32nd for Canada.

Katrina Howe led the U.S. women in 29th with seven penalties. Kelsey Dickinson placed 35th with six misses.

In the men’s 20 k individual, Marc-André Bedard delivered on his vow that the Canadian men would improve their performance throughout IBU Cup 7 & 8 in Canmore. Contending for a top four throughout much of the race, the 29-year-old Bedard missed one shot too many to finish eighth with 18-for-20 shooting. He was 2:56.4 behind Russia’s Matvey Eliseev, who tallied his first IBU Cup win in 50:25.1.

“I’m really happy with this,” Bedard told Biathlon Canada. “It really sucks to miss the last target, especially when it’s close like that at the end, but it’s great. I’m having fun again.”

Germany’s Christoph Stephan finished 9.9 seconds back from Eliseev to place second, and Norway’s Vegard Gjermundshaug was 56.9 seconds back in third.

According to Bedard, the 20 k’s have been his strong point lately and he considers his fitness to be at an all-time high.

“Every race has the same approach,” he said. “I want to have fun and embrace the suffer. You’ve got to push yourself and get in that zone.”

Carsen Campbell placed 22nd for Canada and had two penalties for one of his personal-best results.

“I wanted to hit at least 18, maybe more,” Campbell said in the press release. “That tied my best shooting for individual. I’m not sure if it’s the best shape of my life, but it’s a lot better than it’s been.”

Wynn Roberts led the U.S. men in 25th with two penalties as well. Teammates Patrick Johnson placed 44th, Max Durtschi was 45th and Ethan Dreissigacker was 46th.

Also for Canada, Matthew Hudec finished 35th, Matt Neumann was 37th, Macx Davies was 42nd, and Scott Perras was 43rd.

IBU Cup 8 concludes with the women’s 7.5 k sprint and men’s 10 k sprint on Friday, followed by the mixed relay on Saturday.

Results: Women | Men

Biathlon World Champs to Air on Eurovision and Universal Sports

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland — Eurovision and Universal Sports will provide television coverage of the upcoming 2015 International Biathlon Union World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. The event, which takes place March 5 through March 15, will be broadcast live on Eurovision with english commentary from Chad Salmela. Universal Sports will air the footage in prime time on the dates included below.

Broadcast schedule (all times in EST):

Date Eurovision Webcast  Universal Sports Network TV
Mar. 5 Mixed relay: 11:15 a.m. 
Mar. 7 Men’s sprint: 7:00 a.m.Women’s sprint: 10:30 a.m.
Mar. 8 Men’s pursuit: 8:15 a.m.Women’s pursuit: 11:00 a.m.
Mar. 9 Mixed relay (from Mar. 5): 8-19 p.m.
Mar. 10 Men’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-19 p.m.
Mar. 11 Women’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary) Women’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-9 p.m.
Mar. 12 Men’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary)
Mar. 13 Women’s relay: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary)
Mar. 14 Men’s relay: 11:30 a.m. Men’s relay (same-day): 7-8 p.m.
Mar. 15 Women’s mass start: 8:30 a.m. Men’s mass start: 11:00 a.m. Women’s mass start (same-day): 6-7 p.m. Men’s mass start (same-day): 7-8 p.m.

Kocher Silver in Second Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Canada's Zina Kocher waves to the crowd after a second-place finish in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Zina Kocher waves to the crowd after a second-place finish in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Saturday was a day for the youngsters, with Emma Lunder, new to the national team this year, leading Canada with a silver-medal performance in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore.

Come Sunday, though, the veterans took over. Zina Kocher matched Lunder’s hardware, skiing the third-fastest course time and picking up a single penalty to place second. The three-time Olympian was 17.8 seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany, who won for the second day in a row.

“There is definitely huge fire inside of me that says get it together for God’s sake,” said Kocher in a Biathlon Canada press release, referring to her struggles earlier this season bouncing between the World Cup and IBU Cup.” Knowing the accomplishments I’ve had in the past helped me. I really just wanted to enjoy the fact I’m racing at home.”

She appreciated Lunder’s performance the day before, and is glad that Canada now has a strong women’s team: Canada is currently ranked 13th in the World Cup Nations Cup. The year that Kocher skied her first World Championships, 2003, Canada ranked 22nd in the world.

“It was so exciting for me as an older athlete finishing my career to see all these young athletes coming up that are so strong,” said Kocher. “I didn’t have that when I started. Today was extra special to have so many of my former teammates, friends and family around. Tonight will be a good celebration!”

After her perfect day on the range on Saturday, Lunder picked up three penalties in Sunday’s sprint to place 16th, 1:32.7 behind Horchler. She was followed one spot later by Erin Yungblut, who shot clean. Melanie Schultz and Claude Godbout finished 29th and 30th, and Leilani Tam Von Burg rounded things out for Canada in 33rd.

For the U.S., Katrina Howe led the way in 22nd with three penalties. Maine Winter Sports Center teammate Kelsey Dickinson placed 34th.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, it was a Canadian veteran who led the North Americans for a second day in a row. Marc-André Bédard placed 19th with one penalty, and finished the weekend with impressive 39-for-40 shooting. That put him 1:28.8 behind Florian Graf of Germany, the winner of the day.

Fellow veteran Scott Perras placed 23rd with two penalties, followed by a passel of younger racers: Matt Neumann in 34th, Matt Hudec in 36th, Andrew Chisholm in 40th, and Macx Davies in 42nd.

For the U.S., Wynn Roberts again led the way, this time matching Howe’s 22nd-place finish. The National Guard Biathlon racer shot clean and finished 1:41.6 behind the winner. Patrick Johnson placed 44th and Ethan Dreissigacker 46th.

Results: women / men


Lunder Second on Home Turf in IBU Cup Sprint

EmmaLunder skis_pamdoyle ww

Canada’s Emma Lunder leaving the range en route to second place in Saturday’s 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Emma Lunder cleaned her first IBU Cup race to finish second in the 7.5 k sprint in Canmore, Alberta, in front of a crowd of friends and family. Lunder, originally from Vernon, British Columbia, turned in the best North American performance of the day.

Lunder was one of only three competitors to hit all ten targets in the competition.

“I’ve never cleaned at an IBU Cup race,” Lunder said, according to a Biathlon Canada press release. “As I was leaving the range the final time, I was like woo hoo – I don’t have to do a penalty loop. What a great day.”

She left the range in second place, 2.9 seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany, but was not able to close the gap on the ski trails. Horchler took a 5.1-second win, with Marine Bolliet of France third, 2.9 seconds behind Lunder. Lunder had the tenth-fastest ski time on the day.

“That last loop I said to myself ‘You know this course better than any other girl so do whatever you can to make up seconds,” Lunder said. “There was people all over the course cheering my name and it was such an amazing day.”

Teammate Zina Kocher finished 19th with four penalties (+1:54.8). Former National Team-er Melanie Schultz is out of retirement and finished 27th with one penalty. Erin Yungblut, Claude Godbout, and Leilani Tam Von Burg finished 29th, 30th, and 33rd in the 36-woman field.

For the U.S., Kelsey Dickinson led the way in 28th with two penalties (+2:48.4) followed by Katrina Howe in 31st with four penalties.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, 2010 Olympian Marc-André Bédard led the way for Canada with a 21st-place finish, like Lunder with perfect shooting. He finished a minute and 15 seconds behind Alexey Kornev of Russia, who won the day. Kornev’s perfect shooting gave him a half-second victory over Anonin Guigonnat of France, who’d had one penalty.

Macx Davies was close behind Bédard in 23rd with two penalties, followed by Scott Perras in 25th with one penalty. Matt Hudec, Matthew Neumann, and Andrew Chisholm finished 40th, 43rd, and 46th, also for Canada.

The top American finish belonged to Wynn Roberts, who finished 29th (+1:44.9) with a single penalty. Patrick Johnson finished 35th with four penalties, and Ethan Dreissigacker 45th with two penalties.

Racing continues on Sunday with another set of 7.5/10 k sprints.

Results: women / men


U.S. Biathlete Smith Injured in Canmore Crash, In Stable Condition

Preparing for this weekend’s IBU Cup competitions in Canmore, Alberta, Casey Smith (Maine Winter Sports Center/U.S. Biathlon “B” Team) crashed into a tree and sustained major injuries, according to multiple sources.

After crashing “back first” into the tree, according to USBA CEO Max Cobb, Smith had to be moved by EMT’s. He broke his shoulder and injured his back. Smith was moved to Calgary for further treatment, where he was also found to have punctured his lung. He is currently listed in stable condition.


France and Russia Claim final Junior Titles; Canadian’s 9th and 16th, USA 13th and 14th


Jakob Ellingson opens the relay for team USA. Photo credit to Jim Levins

The 2015 Junior World Championships concluded in Minsk Belarus on Tuesday with the junior women’s 3x6k relay and the junior men’s 4×7.5k relay. Rain before the start of competition made for difficult ski conditions.

Junior women took to the icy trails first, and it was France that would take the lead after the second shooting stage and remain there for the finish. Chloe Chevalier opened for the French team and gave her teammate Julia Simon excellent position to continue the lead. Though, it was Lena Arnaud who would cross the line in 53:27.3 and solidifying her second victory of the week with relay women’s gold for France.

Following closely, Russia finished only 26.9 seconds behind France. Victoria Slivko, Natalia Gerbulova, Uliana Kaisheva took silver. Gerbulova used quick and accurate shooting shooting to keep close to the French team but during the final leg Russia could not hold on.

Anna Weidel and Helene Therese Hendel opened for Germany and kept them in contention. When Marie Heinrich started her race she was fighting for the bronze medal, only needing a single spare and an incredible effort of the track brought German onto the podium, 1:33.7 back.

For the USA Madeleine Phaneuf, Mikaela Paluszek, Hannah Streinz took to the tracks to claim 14th. Collecting one penalty loop and using nine spares the USA’s women finished 7:12.2 off the pace of the winning French team.

Canadian jurnior women’s team consisting of Megan Bankes, Sharah Beaudry, and Bryn Robertson finished 16th, also with a penalty loop and using 13 spares 8:38.7 back. Bankes and Robertson, both youth athletes raced up in age cattagory to field a full junior relay team.


Paul Thomas Everett helps USA men ski to a 13th place at Junior World Championship relay. Photo credit to Jim Levins

The Russian team of Aleksandr Dediukhin, Viktor Tretiakov, Eduard Latypov, and Alexander Povarnitsyn was a clear favorite for a medal. Three of their four racers already claimed medals in the individual races. Confidently taking the lead Russia seemed poised out front and only needing 4 spares to hit their forty targets made them difficult to challenge.

Povarnitsyn started with a comfortable 55-second lead over the rest of the nations, easily securing the gold and expanding the lead to win decisively in 1:19:59.7.

For Norway Andreas Kvam, Henrik Sagosen Smeby, Aslak Nenseter, and Vemund Gurigard fought to stay in touch of the lead team for the entire race. Norway only needed one more spare but could not match the nearly flawless Russian team. Even perfect shooting couldn’t help Gurigard close the gap and he finished 1:12.5 back in second.

Inspired by the victory of their female team mates Aristide Begue,Felix Cottet Puinel, Emilien Jacquelin, and Fabien Claude powered the French men onto the podium. Using eight spares France was 1:22.6 off the pace but only 10seconds behind the silver medal at the finish.

Pearce Hanna, Aidan Millar, Carson Campbell, and Matthew Strum raced for Canada. Hanna, also a youth replaced his fourth junior teammate who has struggled with sickness this week. Collecting a penalty loop in the first leg and using sixteen total spare rounds Canada finished 9th, 6:54.7 back.

USA’s junior men also collected a lone penalty loop and used 13 spares to claim the 13th position. Sean Doherty, Jakob Ellingson, Paul Thomas Everett, and Brian Halligan represented America in the final competition of the week.

Results Men / Women


Gold at Home for Belarus Youth Women, Russian Men; U.S. Women 12th, Men 15th

The youth men’s 3 x 7.5-kilometer and youth women’s 3 x 6 k relays held at the Raubichi Winter Olympic Training Center outside of Minsk, Belarus, on Monday, were the last chance for athletes to gain youth world champion status this year.

The Belarus women’s team collectively used seven spare bullets to hit their 30 targets, and was one of only two teams to avoid the 150-meter penalty loop. Dzinara Alimbekava, Hanna Sola and Darya Blashko were all in the top five in the sprint race of the same distance earlier this week, making them the favorite to win gold at home.

Russia led the competition’s early stages, though it lost its lead with a penalty loop and was unable to catch Belarus. Alimbekava, Sola and Blashko took relay gold on their home course for Belarus in a time of 51:50.2.

Despite a penalty loop in the second leg of their relay Russia’s Elizaveta Kaplina, Natalia Ushkina and Kristina Reztsova used their strong skiing to earn the silver medal. On the final leg Reztsova had decisively pulled away from the rest of the pack, but could not close the gap to Belarus and finished 14 seconds behind.

Shooting turned out to be the difference for Kristin Vaagaa Floettum, Eline Grue, and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold of Norway. Using only four spare rounds between the three legs, Norway’s youth women were the top shooters of the day allowing them to claim the third-podium postion having finished 1:03.5 behind the winners.

Siena Ellingson opened the race for the U.S. but would collect three penalty loops in her fist trip to the range and a fourth in her second visit. Chloe Levins and Amanda Kautzer took over for the U.S., neither having to visit the penalty loop but using five and two spare rounds to hit their targets, respectively.

The American youth women finished 12th, 8:32.8 off the pace set by Belarus after their four shooting misses and the use of 13 additional rounds.

Proving to be dominant start to finish, Russia’s youth men were within seconds of the lead for the entire race and decisively pulled away over the last two legs. Hitting all thirty targets having used seven spare rounds Igor Shetko, Nikita Porshnev and Kirill Streltsov became youth relay world champions.

The Ukrainian team of Vitaliy Trush, Nazarii Tsebrynskyi and Dmytro Ivasenko was the only team to challenge the Russians. Within striking distance and only needing eight spare rounds the Ukraine kept the pressure on Russia the whole race. Ultimately unable to make up time on the tracks, Ukraine settled for second place 37.7 seconds off the pace.

Norway’s youth men used more spares (1+11) than any other team in the top six, but with powerful efforts on the skis still maintained a podium spot for the whole relay. Finishing 2:02.5 behind the winning time Uglem Jonas Mabakken, Andreas Kjeverud Eggen and Mattis Haug added to Norway’s medal collection with a third-place finish.

Americans Cameron Christiansen, Sam Zabell and Alexander Kilby struggled to hold onto the pack while having some of the strongest standing shooting of the day. The team incurred two penalty loops and needed nine spares finishing 15th, 10:59.6 off the pace of the Russians.

Results: Men / Women

 — Evan Girard

Doherty Bronze in World Juniors Sprint, Millar 8th

Sean Doherty of the United States made his mark on the World Junior Championships history books on Saturday, after earning multiple gold medals in the youth category in previous seasons. In the junior men’s 10 k sprint, Doherty finished third in 24:59.2 with a single penalty. It was a rebound after his 14th-place finish in the individual competition already held at this venue outside of Minsk, Belarus.

Back in 2013, Sean Doherty enjoyed every second of his time carrying the American flag across the finish line as a World Champion in the youth pursuit, the first American gold since 1997. In his first season in the junior age category, Doherty finished third in the World Juniors sprint in Belarus on Saturday. (Photo: UBSA/NordicFocus)

Back in 2013, Sean Doherty enjoyed every second of his time carrying the American flag across the finish line as a World Champion in the youth pursuit, the first American gold since 1997. In his first season in the junior age category, Doherty finished third in the World Juniors sprint in Belarus on Saturday. (Photo: UBSA/NordicFocus)

The win went to Alexsandr Dediukhin of Russia, who had been in third place after the final shooting. Dediukhin was the only one of the top competitors to shoot clean, and in bib 30 also a later starter. He attacked on the final loop and made up 2 seconds to take the win.

Doherty had the fourth-fastest split after the last shooting, but surpassed Niklas Homberg of Germany to secure a medal.

For Canada, Aidan Millar finished eighth. Like Doherty, he is making the move up from the youth category, where he finished ninth in the sprint last year in Presque Isle, Maine. Millar also had a single penalty, and was sitting in fifth after the last shooting. He was unable to hang onto that position though – possibly because as one of the earliest starters, he was at a disadvantage in that his competitors knew how fast to ski to beat him.

In the junior women’s sprint earlier in the morning, Maddie Phaneuf of the United States was the top North American finisher, placing 33rd.

Stay tuned for a full report on the men’s and women’s junior sprints later today.

Results: men / women

Anna Kryvonos, Kirill Sterltsov Win Opening Races of IBU Youth World Champs

By Evan Girard

The ultimate test of the best youth and junior biathletes kicked off Wednesday at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Minsk-Raubichi, Belarus. Youth skiers, ages 18 and under, took to the stage first for the individual races. Youth women raced 10 kilometers and youth men raced 12.5 k each with four trips to the range, alternating prone and standing positions, with each miss adding one minute to an athlete’s finishing time.

First on course was a group of 83 youth women. Many of the early starters raced well but the podium would not be decided until the end of the race. Elizaveta Kaplina of Russia was the 72nd woman to start her race and moved into second at the finish. Kaplina’s time in second was short lived when the 75th starter, Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold claimed, and ultimately held onto, the silver-medal position.

Ukrainian Anna Kryvonos was steady on the shooting range, missing only a single target on her second trip to the range on her way to the fastest time of 30:09.1 to claim the first gold medal of the week.

Both Tandrevold and Kaplina missed two targets each, though it was Tandrevold that gained the advantage on the trail, finishing second by 18.8 seconds and beating Kaplina by 9.9 seconds.

American Siena Ellingson was the top North American of the day, finishing 30th(+5:16.5) with five misses (1+2+1+1). Canada’s Megan Bankes claimed 42nd (+6:44.1) with eight penalties (1+3+3+1). Also for the U.S., Amanda Kautzer and Chloe Levins both missed eight targets, finishing 54th (+8:13.9) and 55th (+8:20.4), respectively.

The second Canadian youth woman, Bryn Robertson, was 66th (+9:22.5), also with eight misses. American Hannah Streinz took 70th (+11:21.3) with 11 penalties.

Youth men were the next athletes to take to the tracks, this time skiing the 2.5 k loop five times. Kirill Sterltsov of Russia narrowly came back to achieve the fastest time of 35:04.8 and to become youth world champion despite missing two targets in the opening half of the race.

Anders Emil Schiellerup of Denmark took full advantage of his early start as the third starter who went on to hit the perfect 20-for-20 and put the pressure on every athlete that followed. He finished just 4.7 seconds behind the winner to earn second.

Igor Shetko matched his Russian teammate Sterltsov’s shooting, but not his speed on course to finish 15.6 seconds off his pace in third.

For the North American men, Canada’s Pearce Hanna was the top finisher in 32nd (+3:56.9), missing six targets (1+2+1+2).

Americans Paul Thomas Everett finished 35th (+4:39.4), Cameron Christiansen was 51st(+6:35.7), and Sam Zabell was 70th (+9:00.9) all incurring five misses on the shooting range. Also for the U.S., Alexander Kilby was 74th (+10:44.8) with nine misses.

Results: Men | Women


Tam Von Burg Doubles Up at Canada Games, Hudek Earns First Gold

Leilani Tam Von Burg of Ontario and the Biathlon Alberta Training Center took her second win in as many competitions at Canada Winter Games in Prince George, British Columbia, on Tuesday. Missing a single target in the 7.5 k sprint, Tam Von Burg picked up a 55-second victory over Prince George native Emily Dickson, who had three penalties. Nadia Moser of Yukon placed third with four penalties, just over two minutes behind Tam Von Burg.

Tam Von Burg also won the 12.5 k individual competition on Sunday, over Moser and Dickson. The trio has an advantage towards winning more medals in Wednesday’s pursuits, where only three other women will start within a minute of Moser.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, Matt Hudek of Saskatchewan notched a 24.5-second win over Alexandre Dupuis of Ontario despite two penalties to Dupuis’s clean shooting. Jules Burnotte of Quebec placed third, another ten seconds behind with two penalties.

The men’s pursuit is shaping up to be more competitive, with Arthur Roots of British Columbia starting just 16 seconds behind Burnotte and keen to earn his first medal.

Results: men / women