Action was exciting in the World Cup biathlon relays on Saturday, with plenty of lead changes, untimely penalties, and aggressive skiing. The scenery was also pretty nice, with the field snaking up long climbs and through open meadows. You’re sure to find some pictures of your favorite biathletes in our photo set – and get a hankering to hit the trails yourself.
Fresh snow couldn’t keep the US women’s relay from matching their best ever 4.5 Classic/Free Relay time. Randall, Bjornsen Stephen and Diggins claimed a bronze medal despite near disaster and broken ski pole. A second US women’s relay team clinched 12th to close the second weekend of World Cup racing
Despite Good Performances, North American Men Struggle to Gain Spots in Hochfilzen Pursuit; Smith the Lone Big Mover
Aided by an early bib and a mid-race snowstorm, Lars Berger – who was left off the Norwegian national team this year – earned his sixth win but the first in three years. He beat Martin Fourcade of France, who had two fewer penalties but was stuck in slow snow conditions. Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway was third.
Despite a mid-race snowstorm that put later starters at a serious disadvantage, Lowell Bailey finished 16th and Tim Burke 24th in the 10 k sprint in Hochfilzen. They were the only two Americans, men or women, to qualify for the pursuit races on Sunday. “We can’t control the weather,” shooting coach Armin Auchentaller said.
Switzerland has never won a biathlon World Cup race – and it was especially surprising that the first victory would come from its small women’s team. But Selina Gasparin has been close to the podium before and today she sealed the deal in the 7.5 k sprint, eking out a 1-second victory over Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic.
Because the Olympics only come around every four years, domestic races hold even more value in the months leading up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. In Canada, they’ll determine who will fill approximately four remaining spots on the Olympic nordic team. The fun starts this weekend at Sovereign Lake, British Columbia.
With less than a year of nordic experience, Tatyana McFadden — a three-time Summer Paralympian with 10 Paralympic medals and a marathon Grand Slam to her name — has her heart set on Sochi. “I have to just be relaxed and go with the transitions,” she says. “When it comes time for me to put my skis on the snow, I have to remember everything I’ve learned … and ski as fast as I can and hopefully make people proud.”
Bump up your strength routine with gymnast rings — and no, you don’t need to be the next Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti, (wait, who’s he?). FS contributor Katie Bono writes: “It’s fun, the rings are extremely portable and versatile, and the exercises develop strength, coordination, and stability. However, the main benefit is that ring training is HARD. Like REALLY HARD.”
Nutrition expert Georgie Fear explains how to ward off illness when training volume is at its highest. “As the season approaches, athletes want to be strong, fast, and lean, and putting in the hours to train is essential,” she says. “It’s also critical for good nutrition to be a part of your routine.”