We caught up with Canadian biathlon staff and athletes to chat about the significance of Nathan Smith’s World Cup in on Saturday, just the second in history for a Canadian man. It’s good for Smith and good for the program – but Own the Podium is unlikely to reward it with money, because the funding body only considers World Championships and Olympic medal performances.
Nathan Smith took the lead after the third shooting stage, and never gave it back – despite the best efforts of superstars like Martin Fourcade and Anton Shipulin. “It was kind of surreal,” Smith said of entering the final loop with a 37-second lead and savoring the moments leading up to his first World Cup win. Meanwhile, Martin Fourcade clinched his fourth consecutive World Cup title, a feat that has never before been accomplished in biathlon.
Hannah Dreissigacker rebounded from 75-percent shooting at IBU World Championships to hit 90 percent of her targets on Friday and place 14th for a career best in the final IBU World Cup sprint of the season in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Also for the U.S., Susan Dunklee finished 26th, and Canada’s Rosanna Crawford was close behind in 28th.
Nathan Smith shot 9-for-10 and ended up fifth, 34 seconds behind winner Martin Fourcade, in Thursday’s 10 k sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, the final stop on the IBU World Cup tour. Leif Nordgren led the U.S. in 21st with 90-percent shooting as well, finishing 1:14 back despite feeling under the weather.
When Casey Smith went flying off the race course in Canmore, Alberta, he was knocked unconscious; he later found he had broken many ribs, a shoulder blade, and bones in his back, as well as puncturing a lung. The U.S. biathlete is recovering at home, a process which will be long but which he’s approaching optimistically.
On the closing day of 2015 IBU World Championships, Ukraine’s Valj Semerenko became an individual world champion in the women’s mass start, beating Germany’s Franziska Preuss by 6.2 seconds with perfect shooting. American Susan Dunklee finished 20th with five penalties and Canada’s Megan Heinicke shot 19-for-20 to place 24th.
While Slovenia’s Jakov Fak outlasted Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic and two Norwegians, Tarjei Bø and Ole Einar Bjørndalen, on the last lap to win the mass start at IBU World Championships, four North Americans put down races they were proud of: with Lowell Bailey in 13th, Tim Burke in 14th, Brendan Green in 21st, and Nathan Smith in 23rd.
Simon Schempp and three teammates combined for Germany’s second gold in the last two days of relays at 2015 IBU World Championships, topping Norway and France, respectively. The U.S. got off to a strong start with Lowell Bailey, but finished 14th with two penalties. The Canadians had two penalties as well and ended up 19th.
Young German Relay Dusts Women’s Field; Canada 10th, U.S. Matches Season-Best 12th at IBU World Champs
Germany’s Vanessa Hinz relied on fast skiing and precise shooting to give her team a 30-second lead heading into the last leg of Friday’s 4 x 6 k relay at IBU World Championships, and teammate Laura Dahlmeier ran away with it to win by more than a minute. Canada achieved its top-10 team goal, and the U.S. matched its season best in 12th.
The podium-surprise streak at IBU World Championships ended on Thursday, with regulars Martin Fourcade, Emil Hegle Svendsen and Ondrej Moravec taking gold, silver and bronze in the men’s 20 k individual, respectively. Canada’s Brendan Green placed 21st to lead the North Americans, and three U.S. men placed in the top 33.
Leave it to dads to predict medal potential. Ekaterina Yurlova’s father did just that, one month before the Russian won gold at IBU World Championships in the women’s 15 k on Wednesday. Susan Dunklee placed 12th with her best shooting in an individual race in the last week, and Megan Heinicke tallied her third-straight top 30 in Kontiolahti.
France’s Marie Dorin Habert was essentially speechless in a post-race press conference after winning her second gold in as many days at IBU World Championships, and her third medal of the week. American Susan Dunklee skied the third-fastest course time, shooting excluded, and Canada’s Rosanna Crawford and Megan Heinicke finished in the top 30.
Nathan Smith had the confidence he needed for Saturday’s sprint on the first day of individual racing at 2015 IBU World Championships, even if the soft-spoken Canadian didn’t show it. “I knew if I had an average day … that it could be really good,” Smith said. What he didn’t expect was silver, Canada’s first-ever medal for a male at World Championships.
Habert Beats Blizzard to Win IBU World Champs Sprint; Conditions Get the Best of North American Women
The world’s best biathletes battled blowing snow and variable conditions in the women’s 7.5 k sprint at the 2015 IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. In the end it was France’s Marie Dorin Habert who walked away with the victory while Canada’s Megan Heinicke was the first North American in 23rd.
“Slushfest” was the word that best described the opening race of the 2015 IBU World Championships. Despite the challenging conditions, both the U.S. and Canadian mixed relays skied and shot their way to match their best World Championships results, with eighth- and 12th-place finishes, respectively.
In a busy day outside of Minsk, Belarus, Sean Doherty finished 11th for the U.S. in the junior men’s pursuit, followed by Canada’s Aidan Millar in 14th; Millar’s teammate Pearce Hanna placed 13th in the youth men’s race. We caught up with nine different North American competitors, plus have a gallery of photos by Jake Ellingson and Jane Robertson to share.