“You know we do other workouts,” Tim Burke says with a laugh more than halfway up the 4,867-foot Whiteface Mountain. Minutes before, the U.S. biathlete completed Tuesday’s big effort in 13 minutes, 21 seconds, finishing about 1,300 feet higher than he started for a new record in the hill climb named after him.
U.S. Biathlon’s Max Cobb also chaired the IBU Technical Committee for the past several years – and he just passed rule changes at the IBU Congress that include a system-wide qualification points system and added Wild Card entries to major events. “People voted in favor of a more fair, open, and sporting system – I was really gratified,” Cobb said.
In her second year of biathlon, Clare Egan is a member of U.S. Biathlon’s development group and already seeing strides this season. In August, she placed third at North American Rollerski Championships for her best-ever biathlon result. “My skiing’s just going to keep getting better … and with the shooting, I have to just put in the time,” she says.
James Upham had a good run in Sochi: his Paralympic skiers won three medals – the first by U.S. women in 20 years – and before that at the Olympics Susan Dunklee, a college skier he had recruited to be a biathlete, turned in the best performance ever by a U.S. woman. Now he’s returning to his home of Maine as an assistant coach at Bates College.
Up for voting at the IBU Congress in September will be proposals for how to deal with mid-race cancellations, whether to amend the penalty in youth individual races, and whether age limits are appropriate at Open European Championships – as well as the creation of an entirely new junior racing circuit.
Post-Biathlon, Studebaker Returns to the College Scene as Assistant Coach at University of Alaska Anchorage
Convicted in arranging the attempted murder of a regional governor in 2000, Alexander Tikhonov is never dull. One of the best biathletes of all time, he hopes to return to the international spotlight by becoming IBU President. Canada’s Jim Carrabre is also taking on Anders Besseberg, who has held the position since 1993.
Biathlon in Bozeman was booming in the 1980s but in the last two decades, the sport has declined in the mountain town as cross country skiing popularity has grown. However, a group of community members is trying to bring biathlon back to Bozeman with the formation of the Bridger Biathlon Club, and they are off to a good start.
With two biathlon gold medals under his belt from Sochi, France’s Martin Fourcade is setting his sights on competing in both skiing and biathlon World Championships in 2015. It’s not an easy team to join: the French men took bronze in the 4 x 10 k relay in Sochi. So Fourcade is joining them for training camps.
Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle had three of her nine supplements – recommended by an experienced nutritionist – tested for banned substances. She read the ingredient labels carefully and googled their names with the phrase “doping”. But the IBU rejected the idea of accidental ingestion and slapped her with the same 2-year ban that a Russian using EPO received on the same day. Is that fair?
The International Biathlon Union has finally announced the verdict for Irina Starykh of Russia: a two-year ban beginning on December 23, 2013, the date samples were collected which eventually tested positive for recombinant erythropoetin. Starykh claims that the substance must have been in a drug she injected to improve her skin, but this seems unlikely.
For the last five years, there has been an ammunition shortage in the U.S. The shortage is most acute in inexpensive rimfire-type ammunition, particularly .22-caliber, which is preferred by competitive and recreational shooters (i.e. biathletes). Coaches from several U.S. biathlon clubs weigh in on whether they’ve experienced issues with obtaining team ammo.
Last month, Norwegian shooting coach Joar Himle, who previously coached biathlon greats like Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Halvard Hanevold, visited the Canadians for a weeklong camp in Canmore. While he mostly worked with individual athletes, he also had them do a few interesting drills, including a sort of ‘shoot ’til you miss’ exercise, which takes about an hour on the range.