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.
Olympic Biathlete Brian Olsen: Elite & Olympic Teams Should Say ‘You Can Play,’ Promote Inclusivity for LGBT Athletes
At age 21, Brian Olsen worried that coming out as gay would negatively affect his performance as a biathlete. Years later, he’s using his position as an athlete rep to advocate for governing bodies in Olympic sports to think more carefully about the environment they’re creating for gay and lesbian athletes. That might start here in the nordic community.
This spring, nordic organizations across the U.S. and Canada were hit hard by cuts from their Olympic funding partners. U.S. Biathlon Association President Max Cobb says his group wasn’t one of them: USBA didn’t get its full request, but it got enough. “It’s a relief,” he said. USBA also has the added benefit of a foundation to help with additional fundraising.
IBU President Besseberg Explains Olympic Blood Screening Decision, But Reveals Lack of Communication with Medical Director
IBU President Anders Besseberg explained to FasterSkier that he is “harmonizing” the blood screening procedures at Olympic Games between biathlon, skiing, and speedskating, and then the IOC will take over all administration of the tests. But his claims that VP for Medical Issues Jim Carrabre never contacted him about the issue is false, as e-mails shared by Carrabre show that he did try to ask the president why the decision was taken.
Biathlon to Discontinue Blood Testing at Olympics; Internal Discord, Anger from Antidoping Advocates
The International Biathlon Union’s Executive board voted last month to discontinue its blood testing at the Olympic Games, meaning that the Athlete Biological Passport program will no longer be implemented there. The decision was taken without consulting the organization’s Medical Committee, and the IBU has not offered an explanation to its members.
Former Canadian biathlete Jim Carrabre, now a doctor practicing in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, is launching a bid for the presidency of the International Biathlon Union. He will run against Anders Besseberg, who has held the position since 1993. A longtime antidoping advocate, Carrabre is also running on a platform of good governance and global development of the sport.
Casting Traditional Sponsorship Aside, Small Wisconsin Business Brings Skiers Together from Around the World
Out There Biathlon and Nordic Team member Sarah Murphy jokes that when the team’s founders, Bjorn and Kristen Hanson, decided to open a ski shop they had two rules. Rule number one: change the world. Rule number two: sell some ski stuff. The joke is not far from the truth as the couple is revolutionizing nordic ski team sponsorship by creating a family atmosphere for fringe members of the sport.
Own the Podium increased biathlon’s budget from last season’s $200,000 to a still-low $250,000 – less than its post-Vancouver award despite better performances. “I see great potential in the Nordic sports where a single athlete who is at that level can win multiple medals,” Biathlon Canada’s Chris Lindsay said. “We’re potentially going to be missing out on a bunch of those podiums.”
U.S. Biathlon CEO Max Cobb says that it took four or five years for his organization to get on its feet after splitting from modern pentathlon in 1980 — but that whatever route U.S. Nordic Combined takes, the good news for them is that they have proven success and that direct fundraising tools have entered a whole new realm in the past few years.
The U.S. Biathlon Association is focusing resources on the future: for the first time in years, there’s a development team, a recruitment camp, coaches seminars and regional development efforts. Plus, High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler is now the Chief of Sport, and will also oversee development – that’s “why I’m staying with U.S. biathlon,” he said.
Last year, Casey Smith transitioned away from school at Montana State University and into full-time training at the Maine Winter Sports Center. His first season as a senior biathlete reaped big rewards: an appearance at Olympic Trials, podiums at the Czech Cup, and a top-30 finish at Open European Championships. As recognition, Smith earned a “B” team nomination.