On Sunday, IBU Championships wrapped up in Ruhpolding, Germany, after eleven days of exciting racing that saw both dominating performances from overall World Cup leaders and refreshing victories and medals from lesser-known athletes.
The big winners at the championships were Martin Fourcade of France and Tora Berger of Norway; Fourcade picked up three individual gold medals in the sprint, pursuit, and mass start, along with silver in the men’s relay. That was almost matched by Berger, who won gold in the individual and mass start races, along with gold in the mixed relay and bronze in the women’s relay.
The Swedish team also had phenomenal results. Carl Johan Bergman had what is probably the best result of his life, winning bronze in the sprint and silver in the pursuit. His wife then gave birth to their first child and he visited home before returning to place sixth in the mass start, a race where his teammates Bjorn Ferry and Fredrik Lindstrom took silver and bronze. Helena Ekholm also won bronze in the individual.
Slovenia, meanwhile, gave talented underdogs everywhere a reason to keep dreaming after they crossed the line first in the mixed relay and ended up with silver due to a time correction from a target malfunction. Then a few days later Jakov Fak took gold for real, winning the men’s 20 k individual.
Other leading World Cup athletes also saw success, with Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Darya Domracheva of Belarus going 1-2 in the sprint and then swapping places in the pursuit.
In the relays, traditional power prevailed, with Norway taking the men’s title and Germany the women’s. The two countries had the most fans in attendance at the championships, leading to a party atmosphere for those victories.
The U.S. team was led by a fifth-place result from Susan Dunklee in the women’s 15 k individual and a tenth-place finish from Tim Burke in the men’s 10 k sprint. Lowell Bailey placed 20th in both the sprint and pursuit, and Dunklee also placed 17th in the mass start.
The Canadians saw JP Le Guellec ski to 14th in the sprint, while Zina Kocher finished in the top 30 of every race she entered. Megan Heinicke had a strong individual race, placing 30th.
Below are links to FasterSkier’s race reporting from the Championships (results can be found at the IBU Datacenter); we also wrote about USBA’s development program, featured an interview with Eurosport commentator Sigi Heinrich, asked the U.S. women why their hair was pink, and gave you audio and video of the atmosphere at biathlon’s biggest venue. At the bottom is a gallery of new photos – while FasterSkier was on course, our reporter was also scurrying around doing interviews and missed some of the action. To fill in some of the gaps, the United States Biathlon Association has shared a collection of photos from the Nordic Focus Picture Agency. Enjoy!
Thursday March 1, Mixed 2 x 6 + 2 x 7.5 k Relay
Saturday March 3, 7.5 / 10 k Sprints
Sunday March 4, 10 / 12.5 k Pursuits
Tuesday March 6, Men’s 20 k Individual
Wednesday March 7, Women’s 15 k Individual
Friday March 9, Men’s 4 x 7.5 k Relay
Saturday March 10, Women’s 4 x 6 k Relay
Sunday March 11, 12.5 / 15 k Mass Starts
Photos from Nordic Focus Via the U.S. Biathlon Association