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Wild Rumpus Sports

Biathlon Canada Names Teams for Tour #1 on the IBU World Cup and IBU Cup

After last week’s selection trials held in Canmore, Alberta, Biathlon Canada announced today the athletes competing on the IBU World Cup and IBU Cup for the team’s first racing tour.

Prior to the three-race selection trials held in Canmore, Alberta, only Rosanna Crawford and Scott Gow had pre-qualified for the IBU World Cup.

Today’s announcement includes eight athletes selected for the World Cup and eight for the IBU Cup.

Canada’s World Cup team will include the following athletes for tour 1. Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Brendan Green, and Nathan Smith for the men’s team. Megan Bankes, Rosanna Crawford, Nadia Moser, and Megan Tandy comprise the women’s team.

The IBU World Cup begins on Dec. 2, in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

Jules Burnotte, Carsen Campbell, Aidan Millar, and Adam Runnalls will represent Canada’s men on the IBU Cup. Sarah Beaudry, Emily Dickson, Emma Lunder, and Darya Sepandj make up the IBU Cup women’s team.

The IBU Cup starts Nov. 29, in Idre, Sweden.

IBU Keeps World Cup in Russia, Slated for March, On Schedule

At an Executive Board meeting at the Olympics, the IBU (International Biathlon Union) decided not to move a World Cup competition in March away from Tyumen, Russia, even though Russia is currently not compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Two second-tier IBU Cup competitions will also go on as scheduled, one weekend in Uvat, Russia, and the other in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

“Firstly, the IOC had no concerns that all the competitions awarded to Russia before RUSADA was officially declared non-compliant were to be organised and conducted according to the initial plans and schedules,” the IBU wrote in a press release as their justification for the decision. “The IBU decided on the schedule for the 2017/2018 season prior to RUSADAs non-compliance.”

But the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is still not deemed compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency and that’s very unlikely to change between now and March. And the IBU itself had previously downgraded the Russian Biathlon Union to provisional membership in its international federation; three biathletes were disqualified from the 2014 Olympics for doping.

In December, Biathlon Canada wrote a letter to the IBU stating that they would boycott the event if it was to be held in Tyumen.

“We have a nation whose anti-doping organization is non-compliant, WADA code non-compliant in the Russian Anti Doping Agency,” Biathlon Canada President Murray Wylie told FasterSkier at the time. “So our pitch has been — Biathlon Canada, the Canadian federation — if you are WADA non-compliant, then you should be not hosting any IBU events, major IBU events… We voiced that quite strongly and that essentially is what we are saying.”

There have already been some reactions regarding the decision.

“Hugely disappointed with the [IBU] decision today to, despite considerable pressure, to keep the [World Cup] in Russia,” Monday’s Olympic pursuit silver medalist Sebastian Samuelson of Sweden tweeted, according to a translation.

Having the event in Tyumen would be “a huge, huge affront to clean athletes,” U.S. biathlete (and World Champion) Lowell Bailey told ESPN’s Bonnie Ford in an article published on Tuesday. “That’s saying to the world, to the athletes on the World Cup, the IBU executive board has no problem with doping, and they actually, in a sense, reward federations that dope. Because that’s a reward. It’s a monetary reward, pride, all of those things.”

Samuelsson was rewarded with numerous twitter replies from Russian accounts telling him to stay home, one of which called him a baby and another of which said he was “not welcome in Russia”.

Along with the abuse and threats hurled at Czech women who gained a 2014 Olympic relay medal after Russia was disqualified for doping, that might partly explain why athletes are in fact reluctant to go to Russia.

“Tensions are so high right now, [competing in Russia] is not something I feel comfortable risking,” American biathlete Susan Dunklee said in the same ESPN article.

A similar fight played out differently last season, when the Czech and British teams led a boycott threat of that season’s scheduled World Cups in Tyumen. That time, the IBU relented and moved the competitions.


US Biathlon Names World Cup Team for Trimester 1

Emily Dreissigacker (Craftsbury Green Racing Project/USBA B-team) racing to fifth in the women’s sprint at 2017 US Biathlon Rollerski Championships on Aug. 12 in Jericho, Vt. (Photo: John Lazenby/

(Note: The following has been updated to include comments from US Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler and Joanne Reid.)

On Tuesday, US Biathlon’s International Competition Committee (ICC) met to finalize its team for the first trimester of International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup racing (World Cups 1, 2 and 3), selecting five men and four women.

According to a team press release, Paul Schommer (who was named to US Biathlon’s A 3 Team in April) will join Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Leif Nordgren, and Sean Doherty on the men’s team, while Kelsey Dickinson (who won US Biathlon’s rollerski trials) and B-team member Emily Dreissigacker will join Susan Dunklee and Clare Egan on the women’s team. Notably, Joanne Reid (A 3 Team), who was also in the running for World Cup starts, was not selected for the first trimester of racing.

In an email, US Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler explained that the decision to take Schommer was more straightforward than choosing between Dreissigacker and Reid.

“[Schommer] was the clear winner of the trials and showed a good and improving level as well as really good attitude throughout the whole training season, so it was a very logical and clear call,” he Eisenbichler.

“It was very tight between Emily and Joanne,” he continued. “We collected a lot of data over the training period for both and looked at that as well as on all the races they competed against each other, especially on the last ones in Canmore. Analysing all of that together, Emily just a had a very tiny advantage over Joanne.”

Reid struggled with health issues during the offseason and “missed some key training” as a result, Eisenbichler explained. “But the last weeks in Canmore showed already that she is on the right track back to a good performance level. We feel that she needs still a good training block now to make sure she is on top of her game from Jan. – March. We all know about her potential and capacity and are not worried about her coming back strong in January.”

In an email, Reid focused on praising Dreissigacker.

“We are all incredibly proud of Emily, who absolutely, beyond a doubt, earned her stripes this year, Reid wrote. “The goal is to put the four women who will perform the best in World Cups 1-3 onto the World Cup team and Emily is one of those women.

“She’s a solid shooter, which is just as important as ski speed in this sport, and when the chips are down she performs,” she continued. “She’s a biathlete I would want on my relay team any day, and to come from last year (when we only started three women in the first world cups) and now to have four solid women and to be able to start a relay is a blessing and will really help out this team.  A World Cup start is a privilege, not a right, and I really admire the ICC for the tough choices they have to make -but this choice would have been an easy one.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the ICC determined the pre-qualification criteria for next season’s (2018/2019) World Cups 1, 2 and 3. Athletes who achieve at one top-25 result this World Cup season or at the 2018 Olympic Games will be eligible. The U.S. will pre-qualify up to three athletes per gender, unless three or fewer start spots exist. In that instance, “up to one less than the start spots can be pre-qualified (i.e. 2 can pre-qualify if only 3 start spots),” the press release stated.

The IBU World Cup opens Nov. 26-Dec. 3 in Östersund, Sweden.


Bailey, Dreissigacker Win Jericho Sprints as Part of Trials Series

Lowell Bailey and Emily Dreissigacker claimed wins at the Ethan Allen Biathlon Range in Jericho, Vermont, on Saturday, as the U.S. Biathlon Association held rollerski sprint races as part of a trials series that will help them select teams for the World Cup this winter.

Another sprint race will be held on Sunday, after which point at least two and possibly up to four athletes will find out that they are invited to attend an on-snow training camp in Canmore, Alberta, later this fall, from which the team for the first period of World Cups will be chosen. These athletes will join those which are prequalified for the camp and the World Cups: Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Bailey, Tim Burke, Sean Doherty, and Leif Nordgren.

The additional athletes will be picked based on their best three of four results from the trials race series: two races in August, and the two races this weekend. The top-ranked man and woman will join the prequalified athletes, and another athlete of each gender may also be selected by discretion. The top-ranked woman will also automatically qualify for the first period of World Cups. The selections also have important implications for Olympic team selection, as one part of the qualification process is based on early-season World Cups.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, Paul Schommer made a strong case that he should be one of those picks, finishing just four seconds behind World Champion Bailey despite missing a shot while Bailey went clean. Third place went to Doherty, 13.4 seconds back with three penalties, and fourth to Russell Currier, 42.2 seconds back with two missed shots.

World Cup trials, round 2. #usbiathlon #roadtopeyongchang

A post shared by Jonne Kähkönen (@jonnekahkonen) on

Dunklee had swept the August trials races but sat out this edition due to illness. In her absence, Dreissigacker used the best shooting in the field to race to a 13.1-second win over Kelsey Dickinson in the 7.5 k sprint; Dreissigacker had one missed shot, and Dickinson two. Egan finished third, 30.3 seconds back with three missed shots, and Joanne Reid fourth, 37 seconds back with four penalties.



Tyumen World Cup Stage Moved to Kontiolahti, Finland

Ondrej Moravec celebrates a sizable win for the Czech Republic in Thursday’s mixed relay at 2015 IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. (Photo: Kontiolahden Urheilijat/Jarno Artika)

Ondrej Moravec celebrates a sizable win for the Czech Republic in the mixed relay at 2015 IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. (Photo: Kontiolahden Urheilijat/Jarno Artika)

In December the Russian Biathlon Union “gave back” their planned World Cup stage in Tyumen, before the International Biathlon Union could strip it from the country following an investigation of widespread doping in Russia.

The competitions, scheduled for March 9-12, have now been allocated to Kontiolahti, Finland, a usual World Cup stop which lost its hosting rights this year in order to make room for the pre-Olympic test races in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kontiolahti also hosted 2015 IBU World Championships.

Per an IBU press release:

“Following the recent decision by the IBU Executive Board to move BMW IBU World Cup 8; they IBU have now selected a new venue to host the event. BMW IBU World Cup 8 will be held in Kontiolahti, Finland March 6 – 12, 2017.”


Currier 44th in Beitostolen Sprint, Re-Qualifies for World Cup

When Russell Currier (Outdoor Sports Institute) was selected to the U.S. World Cup team after a one-year absence, there was just one piece of outstanding business: he was no longer qualified for the World Cup. So that entailed an early-season trip to the second-tier IBU Cup to re-make qualification criteria.

Currier raced in the 10 k sprint in Beitostolen, Norway, on Friday to do just that. He was the only American athlete there, and traveled with one coach, U.S. men’s team coach Jonas Johansson. The one-day reintroduction to international racing was far from dull for the skeleton crew.

Currier faced few problems on his skis, cruising to the tenth-fastest course time.

“Ski speed was better than expected,” he wrote in an email. “Two days of travel and jet lag, a one-man wax team and not the best feeling in the legs had my expectations on the lower end.”

But Currier shot two penalties in each of his stages, with some added challenges in standing.

“I accidentally ejected a magazine,” he explained. “It proceeded to bounce off the mat and beyond the firing line. Normally there is a coach with a spare clip for in these situations… [but] Jonas was checking my shots [on a digital network] without having to be in front of a scope. So, I had to wait for a race official to figure out what I was yelling about. The official that came over had, coincidentally, five rounds on him that I was able to reload my prone mag with. Still, the winds were so obnoxious that hitting three of five with a 50+/- second rest didn’t help.”

Currier had to hurry his way to the finish and his time, +3:09.4 from winner Vetle Sjastad Christiansen of Norway, earned him 44th place and points of 111.85 – just sneaking under the 125-point cutoff for World Cup qualification.

The whole experience was a bit wild.

“There was some pressure because I didn’t know what to expect,” Currier wrote. “It had been so long since my last race with this field. After my standing stage folly, I was more nervous.”

But he has since rejoined the U.S. team in Östersund, Sweden, where he will compete in the World Cup 20 k individual on Thursday.

“The whole race could have been so much worse and so much better,” Currier wrote. “The goal was to do well enough to make the points and then be in Östersund with the rest of the team ASAP, so with that in mind the race was a success.”



Norway Names Teams for World Champs, Canmore World Cups

Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates a photo-finish victory over France's Martin Fourcade in the men's 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite being unsatisfied with his form, Svendsen is on the team for 2016 World Championships.  He will sit out the next two World Cup weekends in North America to prepare.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates a photo-finish victory over France’s Martin Fourcade in the men’s 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.Unsatisfied with his form, Svendsen is looking toward 2016 World Championships and will sit out the two World Cup weekends in North America.

Norway has named its teams for the next World Cup, and IBU Cup races, as well as for World Championships, which start on March 3 in Oslo.

The World Championships squad consists of four women and five men:

Tiril Kampenhaug Eckhoff, Fossum IF
Synnøve Solemdal, Tingvoll IL
Fanny Horn Birkeland, Oslo SSL
Marte Olsbu, Froland IL

Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Simostranda IL
Johannes Thingnes Bø, Markane IL
Tarjei Bø, Markane IL
Emil Hegle Svendsen, Trondhjems Skiskyttere
Lars Helge Birkeland, Birkenes IL

Leading up to their home Championships, things haven’t gone perfectly for the Norwegians. Eckhoff, posed to become a star after winning a bronze medal in the 2014 Olympic mass start and then her first individual World Cup in 2015, only has one podium this year – third place in the mass start in Ruhpolding. In particular, she has been struggling with standing shooting.

Eckhoff plans to focus on shooting in the coming weeks.

At least one hour more than what I have done until now,” she told NRK of her shooting training. “Currently I use maybe half an hour. Now I’ll feed on the hour.”

She will also skip the World Cups in Canmore, Alberta, and Presque Isle, Maine, instead staying in the European time zone and competing on the IBU Cup along with Horn Birkeland.

On the men’s side, Tarjei Bø is currently in second place in the World Cup Total Score, having earned four podiums but not yet an individual win. Bjørndalen won the very first World Cup competition of the season and has two other podiums, but none recently, and struggled with shooting in Ruhpolding, which he blamed on rifle problems. Johannes Thingnes Bø has one win and one other podium so far this season.

Svendsen has two World Cup podiums and sits in fourth in the Total Score, but is unsatisfied with his season; he didn’t shine last season either, compared to previous years where he had won the Total Score or Olympic gold. He told NRK that he increased his training by 20% to try to come back from last season’s disappointment.

“Considering the season so far, there’s no doubt that it perhaps wasn’t the best idea,” Svendsen said. “We’ll see how it is when the season is over… we are only about halfway through yet… I felt good all the way [in training], but it is a delicate balancing act.”

Of the men’s team, only Birkeland will make the trip to North America. Birkeland won the opening single mixed relay of the season with teammate Kaia Wøien Nicolaisen, and the Norwegians are hoping to repeat the result in Canmore.

And unlike the women, the men’s stars will not compete on the IBU Cup in the meantime. Instead, they will focus on training.

The World Cup roster for Canmore:

Synnøve Solemdal, Tingvoll IL
Marte Olsbu, Froland IL
Kaia Wøien Nicolaisen, Asker SK
Hilde Fenne, Voss SSL
Lene Berg Ådlandsvik, Sørskogbygda IL

Lars Helge Birkeland, Birkenes IL
Henrik L’Abée-Lund, Oslo SSL
Alexander Os, Ishavslaget
Håvard Gutubø Bogetveit, Førde IL
Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen, Geilo IL

And the IBU Cup roster for Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia:

Tiril Kampenhaug Eckhoff, Fossum IF
Fanny Horn Birkeland, Oslo SSL
Sigrid Bilstad Neraasen, Vingrom IL
Rikke Hald Andersen, Asker SK
Thekla Brun-Lie, Oslo SSL

Erling Aalvik, Kvam LSK
Vegard Bjørn Gjermundshaug, Alvdal IL
Andreas Dahlø Wærnes, Trondhjems Skiskyttere
Tore Leren, Vingelen IL
Fredrik Gjesbakk, Bossmo&Ytteren IL
Martin Rui, Froland IL


Oberhof Canceled, Canmore Results, U.S. & Canadian Team Announcements

With no snow in low elevation areas of central Europe and none in the forecast, Oberhof, Germany, has canceled its biathlon World Cups which were slated for the first weekend of the New Year.

The International Biathlon Union is seeking alternative venues for a replacement, with Ruhpolding, Germany, and Pokljuka, Slovenia, reportedly in the mix. The IBU will announce the relocation by December 27.

There was plenty of snow in Canmore, though, so the Alberta venue hosted races which served as selection trials for various teams.

On December 17, senior sprints were won by Patrick Johnson and Maddie Phaneuf of U.S. biathlon; junior sprints by Alexandre Dupuis and Kendall Chong of the Biathlon Alberta Training Center; and youth sprints by Leo Grandbois of Quebec Biathlon and Nadia Moser of the Biathlon Alberta Training Center (BATC). Results

On December 19, senior sprints were won by Max Durtschi of U.S. Biathlon and Joanne Reid of Colorado Biathlon; junior sprints by Matt Strum of BATC and Caitlin Campbell of Biathlon Prince Edward Island; and youth sprints by Teo Sanchez of Biathlon Quebec and Megan Bankes of BATC. Results

On December 20, the senior pursuits were won by Casey Smith of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project and Reid; the junior pursuits by Aidan Millar of BATC and Campbell; and the youth pursuits by Zachari Bolduc of Biathlon Quebec and Bankes. Results

After those competitions, the American and Canadian biathlon federations have announced rosters for several international racing trips. The U.S. is reshuffling its World Cup roster, keeping only Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Annelies Cook, Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, and Sean Doherty on the squad for the (now relocated) Oberhof weekend.

Hannah Dreissigacker and Leif Nordgren will compete on the IBU Cup, along with six other athletes selected after the Canmore races. They are: Smith of Winthrop, WA, and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project; Wynn Roberts of Battle Lake, MN, and National Guard Biathlon; Durtschi of Ketchum, ID, and U.S. Biathlon; Reid of Boulder, CO, and Colorado Biathlon; Phaneuf of Old Forge, NY, and U.S. Biathlon; and Emily Dreissigacker of Morrisville, VT, and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.

Biathlon Canada named four biathletes to compete a the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, in February. The competitions are only for athletes born in 1998 and 1999; the inaugural version of the Games was held in Innsbruck four years ago. The chosen four are Ben Churchill (Calgary, AB / Calgary Biathlon), Leo Grandbois (Sherbrooke, QC / Biathlon Quebec), Gillian Gowling (Calgary, AB / Rocky Mountain Racers), and Tekarra Banser (Kelowna, BC / Telemark Biathlon).

* Biathlon Canada also named its team for World Youth and Junior Championships, slated for Chiele Gradistei, Romania, beginning January 25. The nominations are as follows:

Junior Men

Aidan Millar                             Canmore, AB                            BATC / Canmore Nordic

Matthew Strum                       Canmore, AB                            BATC / Canmore Nordic

Alexandre Dupuis                   Ottawa, ON                               BATC / Chelsea Nordic

Pearce Hanna                         Edmonton, AB                          BATC / Rocky Mountain Racers

Junior Women

Kendall Chong                         Calgary, AB                               BATC / Foothills Nordic

Charlotte Hamel                      Sherbrooke, QC                        Biathlon Quebec

Caitlin Campbell                      Bedeque, PEI                            Biathlon PEI

Leilani Tam von Burg              Ottawa, ON                               BATC / Chelsea Nordic

Youth Men      

Teo Sanchez                           Wakefield, QC                           Biathlon Quebec

Adam Runnalls                       Calgary, AB                               Calgary Biathlon Racers

Zachari Bolduc                       Ste. Sophie, QC                         Biathlon Quebec

Lucas Boudreau                     Elmwood, PEI                            Biathlon PEI

Youth Women

Megan Bankes                        Calgary, AB                               BATC / Foothills Nordic

Nadia Moser                           Whitehorse, YT                         BATC / Yukon Biathlon

Emily Dickson                         Prince George, BC                    BATC / Caledonia Nordic

India McIsaac                         Calgary, AB                                Rocky Mountain Racers

U.S. Biathlon will be holding its trials races for World Youth and Junior Championships in Anchorage, Alaska, beginning on December 27th.


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


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



In “Tough Day”, U.S. Women 18th in Oslo Relay

Susan Dunklee skied a strong leadoff leg for the United States in the 4 x 6 k World Cup relay in Oslo, Norway, on Sunday, tagging off in sixth but just 25 seconds behind the leaders. Dunklee used a two spare rounds in the standing shooting stage, but skied the fastest time of all leadoff skiers to climb from ninth place after standing up to sixth.

“Lately I’ve been feeling physically run down and a little burnt out from a lot of racing,” Dunklee wrote in an e-mail. “However, as soon as the gun went off the skiing felt great and the hunger was there. The first loop was a blast; Andreja Mali [of Slovenia], my 7th row start buddy (way in the back) started passing people like crazy and I hopped in behind her. Halfway around the first loop, she was leading the race.”

From there the team struggled with spare rounds and penalty loops, and dropped to 18th place before being lapped and pulled from the race. Hannah Dreissigacker – coming off a career-best sprint on Saturday where she shot clean – Annelies Cook, and Clare Egan each had two penalty loops.

“It was a tough day for the team and we know we have plenty of room to improve going forward,” Dunklee wrote. “The skills are there for sure; I think the main thing is going to be getting everybody’s confidence levels in a good place. Luckily we’ve got two weeks [before World Championships].”

Dunklee knows a thing or two about getting confidence back. After finishing 11th in the 15 k individual competition on Thursday, she picked up four penalties in the sprint and finished 69th; prior to the sprint, her weakest result all season had been 41st during the very first weekends of racing in Östersund, Sweden.

But picking up the fastest ski time in the relay helped begin to put the sprint in the rearview mirror, Dunklee said.

“I didn’t want to go into the break with the off feeling that I had yesterday,” she wrote. “Today felt much more normal.”

The U.S. men did not enter a relay team today, as they have only three men in Oslo. The IBU Cup team returned to the U.S and Sean Doherty, who has competed in several relays so far this season, is busy preparing for World Youth and Junior Championships, which starts this week.

U.S. Biathlon Association President Max Cobb wrote in an e-mail that the federation will announce its World Championships team selection “early next week”. The World Cup is on break until Championships begin on March 5 in Kontiolahti, Finland.



Green on Antholz Pursuit: “The Pace Absolutely Crushed Me”

Brendan Green had a career-best day in the World Cup sprint in Antholz, Italy, on Thursday, placing fifth. That made a dilemma for the Canadian biathlete: how to approach Saturday’s 13.5 k pursuit?

“I had anticipated that I would likely have to red line it to catch and then ski with [Jakov] Fak and [Benjamin] Weger on the first loop,” Green explained in an email.

In a five-loop biathlon race, that was a risky maneuver. The fast pace so early ended up catching up with Green, who couldn’t maintain the speed or his string of perfect shooting.

“The pace absolutely crushed me,” he wrote of the first loop, where he hung onto the two skiers ahead of him. “I still managed to shoot clean that first bout and leave the range in 3rd, but I knew the pace was one I wasn’t going to be able to handle. The second loop was hard and I was starting to feel blown up, but by the third loop I felt like I was able to settle a bit and finally relax.”

Green missed two shots in each of the middle shooting stages, but by relaxing later in the race he was able to bring things back together. He cleaned the final shooting stage and moved from the mid-20’s up to 18th, a position he maintained until the finish.

“From then on I felt like I recovered a bit and felt stronger as the race went on,” Green wrote. “It was a great experience to be in contention for the podium for part of the race and it was a learning opportunity for sure. I’m happy to have had that opportunity and hopefully next time I can stay in contention for more of the race.”

And as for the end of the shooting streak? By cleaning the first stage, he brought his tally to 55 straight hits on the World Cup. After that, well, it was natural that there’s be some error sometime, and Green says he still thinks he has what it takes to turn in more good performances.

“I knew my clean shooting streak would have to come to an end eventually,” he wrote. “It would have been amazing to keep it going for one more race, especially for today, but it was great that it lasted so long and hopefully I can continue to have strong shooting throughout the season. In talking with my coach Matthias after the race the misses sounded like they were very close with no big errors.”

Competition continues with relays on Sunday: “It’s been a really fun last couple weeks of racing so far and I’m looking forward to the relay tomorrow!” Green wrote.

Main race reportResults


Dunklee Sixth in Antholz Pursuit

Dunklee Antholz flowers

American biathlete Susan Dunklee (right) celebrating after finishing sixth in the 10 k pursuit in Antholz, Italy, today. Franziska Hildebrand of Germany and Marie Dorin Habert of France (left, center) finished fourth and fifth.

Susan Dunklee took Friday’s eighth-place finish in the 7.5 k sprint and turned it into a flower ceremony on Saturday. In the 10 k pursuit, she had just a single penalty in four shooting stages and skied the fifth-fastest isolated pursuit time to move up to sixth place. It’s a season-best for the American biathlete.

Darya Domracheva of Belarus started with bib one after winning the sprint and was never challenged, also missing just a single shot and skiing to a one minute, 21 second victory over Daria Virolaynen of Russia. Virolaynen started in bib 11. The battle for third place was an intense one: Dunklee, Kaisa Makarainen of Finland, and Marie Dorin Habert of France left the range together, fighting for fourth place. The pack stayed together for most of the 2 k loop, but Makarainen pushed hard at the end and caught Franziska Hildebrand of Germany, who had been skiing in third place. The Finn bumped her off the podium by just 0.3 seconds.

Hannah Dreissigacker, the other U.S. starter, moved from 60th – the final woman to make the pursuit cutoff – up to 42nd despite four penalties.

The two Canadian women, Rosanna Crawford and Megan Heinicke, finished 26th and 29th.



Ukraine Biathlon Adds Lifetime Ban for Dopers

The Biathlon Federation of Ukraine President, Vladimir Brynzak, has decided that athletes convicted of doping offenses will be permanently banned from the national team. The decision reportedly comes after consulting with the International Biathlon Union (IBU). Ukraine’s biathlon team has had two major doping offenses in the last five years: the first when Oksana Khvostenko ingested the banned stimulant ephedrine in her cold medicine and the women’s team lost their 2011 World Championships silver medal in the relay; and the second last week when it was announced that Sergui Sednev had tested positive for EPO nearly two years before. His formal suspension has not yet been decided and his case is waiting to appear before the IBU’s Anti-Doping Hearing Panel.

According to a press release on the Biathlon Federation of Ukraine’s website, Brynzak writes:

I would like to inform the fans and all biathlon community about the initiative of our Federation regarding the incident with Sergey Sednev. We decided to unilaterally dismiss the athletes who were caught using prohibited medicine from the Ukrainian national team. It means that the athletes, in addition to the standard two-year disqualification by IBU, will no longer be able to become a part of the Ukrainian national team. We hope that such decision will influence those who will try to act dishonestly and discredit our federation. With this initiative we would like to emphasize the fact that we always support only honest competition, and encourage other national federations to support us.

It is unclear whether lifetime bans will stand up should an athlete appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The WADA Code does not stipulate that athletes can be banned for life after a single doping offense. U.S. sprinter LaShawn Merritt successfully appealed an International Olympic Committee policy that any athlete banned for more than six months for a doping violation could not take part in the next Olympic Games. CAS also ruled that the British Olympic Committee’s policy that athletes with a doping offense would never be able to represent Great Britain at any future Olympics was invalid.

Nevertheless, Brynzak hopes to move forward with the ban and hopes other federations will as well.

“This initiative was fully supported by IBU President Anders Besseberg and regards the unilateral decision to exclude for life from the Ukrainian national team all athletes who have tested positive for banned substances and were disqualified for a period of at least 2 years,” he wrote, according to the Italian website “In other words, even once the disqualification of two years imposed by international bodies has ended, the doors of the Ukrainian national team will forever be closed. We hope that this choice will lead to reflection by those who attempted to pursue dishonest behavior and thus discredit on our federation. It is a gesture of good will and an act to emphasize that the Ukrainian federation to takes very seriously the fight against doping. We hope that other national federations will follow our example.”


Two Year Ban for Piksons in Norandrolone Case

After a sample collected at an out-of-competition test in September 2014 tested positive for norandrolone, a prohibited steroid, Latvian biathlete Edgar Piksons was handed a two-year ban from the sport by the International Biathlon Union’s Anti-Doping Hearing Panel, the IBU announced on January 15.

Piksons, a 31-year-old career athlete, had about six times the concentration of noandrolone in his sample as is allowed by anti-doping rules. According to the panel’s minutes, he declined to have the “B” sample opened, stating that “there was a very small possibility that the results could differ.” Piksons subsequently retired, and did not attend the hearing panel because of financial constraints.

The Latvian two-time-Olympian’s written statements to the panel are more humble and apologetic than in most cases. Though Piksons does contend that he did not knowingly take the steroid – as does nearly every athlete accused of doping, whether it’s true or not – he wrote that even if it had entered his body accidentally through vitamins or supplements “my blind trust and unprofessionalism are not reasons to escape the liability.” He concludes by apologizing to Latvia and the world.

In the panel’s minutes, the investigators note that Piksons wrote the names of two supplements, Riboksin and Meditropin, on his doping-control forms. Both are anabolic drugs. Piksons wrote in his statement that he was prescribed the drugs by a foreign sport doctor he met at the Summer Biathlon World Championships in Tyumen, Russia. He does not name the doctor, but said that he found the person trustworthy.

Concluding that Piksons was irresponsible, the panel banned him from competition for two years.

Over the course of a long career, Piksons had two top-20’s to his name: 8th and 20th place finishes at 2011 World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.


Sednev Tests Positive for EPO (UPDATED)

This weekend International Biathlon Union (IBU) President Anders Besseberg told Norway’s NRK news service that multiple positive doping tests would be announced in the coming week, with athletes from multiple countries. It has been revealed that one of the athletes is Ukraine’s Sergui Sednev. This was initially reported by Norway’s TV2 news channel.

“The TV2 learned from a source central to biathlon,” TV2 reports. “A Ukrainian coach – who does not want to come forward with their name – confirms the information.”

The Biathlon Federation of Ukraine has since issued a press release:

“The International Biathlon Union (IBU) reported about the positive analysis of doping test A of the former Ukrainian biathlete Sergei Sednev. The positive sample was taken on January 22, 2013 in Antholz. After the initial inspection in 2013 Serguei had not been informed about the positive sample and only after being reviewed in December 2014 the discovery of an indefinite prohibited substance was reported.

“The Biathlon Federation of Ukraine, in accordance with Art. 6.5 Anti-Doping Rules IBU, conducted an internal investigation, in which the athlete was not able to explain or refute the use of illegal substances. The positive results of doping tests were unexpected because the Biathlon Federation of Ukraine is constantly working with athletes, coaches, doctors, and rehabilitators regarding the inadmissibility of the prohibited drugs use.

“The athlete was given the opportunity of opening the B sample, which would have cost 2,500 euros. But as Sednev had finished his carreer after the poor results over the past seasons, he decided not to conduct the further analysis.

“The Biathlon Federation of Ukraine supports the work of IBU and WADA and supports the measures that are aimed at ensuring the integrity of sports. We hope for objective decision of the IBU Anti-Doping Commission regarding this case in accordance with the Anti-Doping Rules.”

Sednev did compete in one World Cup race this season, the 20 k individual in Östersund, Sweden, where he finished 83rd.

Sednev is a 2010 and 2014 Olympian – his top Vancouver finish was 10th in the pursuit, and in Sochi he finished 44th in the sprint – and won a World Cup individual race in Antholz, Italy, in 2009. His presence this World Cup season was not particularly missed: he ranked 93rd in the World Cup in the 2014 season, and scored just nine World Cup points. It was very believable that his absence in the last World Cup races was due to performance, not a drug ban.

Sednev has been competing internationally since 2001. The biggest impact a disqualification of his last season of racing would have would likely be through relays and their effect on Nations Cup points. He was part of a 10th-place relay team in Annency, France, and an 11th-place team in Ruhpolding, Germany, in the 2013-2014 season.

The IBU has already suspended one athlete, Russia’s Alexander Loginov, based on the re-analysis of old samples using new analytical techniques. An additional provisional suspension was put into place on December 15, but the IBU did not initially release the name of the athlete, nor did any national governing bodies announce it. It appears that Sednev is the athlete in question.

On Saturday, Besseberg warned that more positive tests were coming.

“Because of new technology, we have developed new test methods that we can now test retest, and because of these tests, we found positive doping tests,” Besseberg told NRK. “I can not go into details on this here now. But we have positive samples and there is talk of athletes from several nations.”

It’s unclear whether he meant the suspensions of Loginov and Sednev – after all, Loginov’s suspension has been known for some time, but the two could be moving from provisional to final suspensions – or to additional, new positive tests.


Beaudry to Join Canadian World Cup Team in Hochfilzen; Six Headed to Alpin Cup

With back-to-back sprint wins at Canada’s NorAm and youth-junior worlds team trials last weekend in Canmore, Alberta, 20-year-old Sarah Beaudry punched her ticket to Hochfilzen, Austria, to compete in the second IBU World Cup of the season this weekend.

Beaudry, of the Biathlon Alberta Training Centre, won the opening women’s 7.5 k youth/junior sprint on Dec. 4 by 54 seconds over American Kelsey Dickinson (US Biathlon/Maine Winter Sports Center). She went on to win Saturday’s 7.5 k junior sprint with clean shooting, besting another American, Maddie Phaneuf (US Biathlon/MWSC) by 49 seconds.

With one more year of junior eligibility left, this will be Beaudry’s World Cup debut.

According to Biathlon Canada High Performance Director Chris Lindsay, Beaudry joins a World Cup team with four women (Rosanna Crawford, Zina Kocher, Audrey Vaillancourt, and Megan Heinicke) and four men (Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Scott Perras, and Marc-Andre Bedard).

Canada also selected a team to race at the Alpin Cup this weekend (in place of the rescheduled IBU Cup 2 in Martell-Val Martello, Italy): Macx Davies, Scott Gow, Christian Gow, Carsen Campbell, Emma Lunder and Julia Ransom.


On the final day of NorAm racing in Canmore, US Biathlon X-team member Sean Doherty overcame won the men’s 15 k mass start by 3.9 seconds over Casey Smith (MWSC), despite five penalties. Smith had three as did top Canadian Guillame Bertrand (Rocky Mountain Racers) in third (+32.3).

Clare Egan (USBA/Craftsbury) crushed the women’s competition in the 12.5 k mass start, despite four penalties, for a 2:34.4-minute win. Katrina Howe (MWSC) was second, and Erin Yungblut (BATC/Biathlon Ontario) placed third (+4:11).

Stuart Harden (RMR) won the junior men’s 10 k mass start by more than a minute over Matt Strum (BATC/Canmore Nordic), and Jules Burnotte (ACBQ/Biathlon Estrie) overcame six penalties to won the youth men’s 10 k by 53 seconds over Teo Sanchez (ACBQ/Chelsea Nordic).

Phaneuf (USBA/MWSC) had six misses as well, but topped the junior women’s 7.5 k mass start by 36 seconds ahead of Leilani Tam Von Burg (BATC). Bryn Robertson (Foothills Nordic) won the youth women’s 7.5 k with four misses, 11.5 seconds ahead of Ellingson.

Complete results


Svendsen on Östersund: Separates Men From Mice

Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates a photo-finish victory over France's Martin Fourcade in the men's 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen (l) celebrates a photo-finish victory over France’s Martin Fourcade in the men’s 15 k mass start at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

By Inge Scheve

Today’s biathlon competitions are the first individual World Cup races of the season, and the courses in Östersund, Sweden, are notoriously tough.

With the opening mixed relay behind them, World Cup biathletes have the 20- and 15-kilometer individual races next, starting with the men’s 20 k on Wednesday at 17:15 CET (11:15 a.m. EST).

Norwegian biathlete and four-time Olympic champion Emil Hegle Svendsen after racing a cross-country race in 2011 Sjusjøen, Norway. (Photo: Inge Scheve)

Norwegian biathlete and four-time Olympic champion Emil Hegle Svendsen after racing a cross-country race in 2011 Sjusjøen, Norway. (Photo: Inge Scheve)

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen, 29, who is coming off an Olympic season he said was less than stellar (despite gold in the mass start and mixed relay), recently announced that he is planning to race every World Cup race this season, and he’s particularly excited about the World Cup opener in Östersund.

Svendsen, with five Olympic medals (including four gold) and 11 World Championship titles, is determined to dominate the podium, and he loves the courses in Östersund.

“This venue has pretty challenging courses, long uphills, and only a little bit of recovery on the descents,” he told NRK. “The entry to the range is fairly easy, but the conditions at the range are often challenging.”

While the Östersund courses ski well, they definitely separate the men from the mice, Svendsen explains.

“These courses have proven to suit me well in the past,” he said with a grin.

World Cup 1, Östersund, Sweden (Nov. 30 – Dec. 7)
Sunday November 30: Mixed 2×6+2×7.5 km relay
Wednesday: Men’s 20 k individual
Thursday: Women’s 15 k individual
Saturday: Men’s 10 k sprint; women’s 7.5 k sprint
Sunday: Men’s 12.5 k pursuit; women’s 10 k pursuit

Complete schedules, start lists and results


US and Canadian Teams for Opening World Cup Mixed Relay

The United States and Canada have named their teams for the opening World Cup competition tomorrow, a mixed relay in Östersund, Sweden.

Two women’s legs of 6 k each, with two shooting stages, will be followed by two men’s legs of 7.5 k each, also with two shooting stages. Last year Canada finished 11th and the United States 12th.

The United States will compete Susan Dunklee, Annelies Cook, Tim Burke, and Lowell Bailey.

Canada will start Rosanna Crawford, Zina Kocher, Nathan Smith, and Marc-Andre Bedard.

Race time is 15:30 local time, or 9:30 a.m. EST. All races are broadcast live at

Full start list