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The Season is ON

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink

The Blink Summer Ski Festival features the strongest biathlon field ever in the history of the event, as well as a solid international field for the XC events.

Madshus biathletes Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen will face the toughest racers in the world at the annual Blink Summer Ski Festival in Sandnes, Norway, July 30-August 1, which is featuring the strongest field ever.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary for the Blink Summer Ski Festival, and last year, the uphill time trial that kicks off the event drew more than 700 racers. This year, World Cup racers from France, Japan, Great Britain, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Canada and Germany are registered for the races, in addition to Norway.

French Martin Fourcade (FRA) is bringing the entire French national team to the races, Arndt Pfeiffer and Daniel Böhm of Germany as well as North American racers Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Nathan Smith are also on the start list. The biathlon program includes shooting duels and mass starts for men and women on July 31, and super sprint races on August 1.

For the Norwegian biathletes, the Blink Ski Festival is a part of the national team season preparations, gearing up for the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo March 3-13, 2016.

Complete start list biathlon

In addition to the biathlon competitions, there are several cross-country races as well. The uphill time trial Lysebotn Opp features a grueling 7.5-kilometer course with a total of 640 meters elevation gain. Many of the biathletes also race in the uphill time trial, adding depth to the already impressive field of XC skiers.

Also, there are two other XC races at the Blink Festival: a mass start distance race for the cross-country skiers, featuring 10km skate for women and 15km skate for men on July 31, as well as sprint races in Sandnes city center on August 1. Madshus racers Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), Krista Parmakoski (FIN), Barbro Kvaale (NOR) and Oeystein Pettersen (NOR) are among the favorites on the start lists.

Complete start list XC

More about the 2015 Blink Summer Ski Festival 

Lysebotn Opp race course. Photo: NSF

Lysebotn Opp race course. Photo: NSF

Party Time at the Nationals

Magnus Moan won his 6th Kongepokal at the Norwegian Nordic Combined Nationals this weekend. Photo: NSF

Madshus racers cleaned up at the Norwegian national championships this weekend.

Magnus Moan hauled home two gold medals and KONGEPOKAL (“The King’s Cup”-awarded at only one national championships event in each sport each year) at the Nordic Combined National Championships. This was Moan’s 6th Kongepokal in his career.

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Magnus Moan won his 6th Kongepokal at the Norwegian Nordic Combined Nationals this weekend. Photo: NSF

Magnus Moan won his 6th Kongepokal at the Norwegian Nordic Combined Nationals this weekend. Photo: NSF

At the Norwegian national championships in biathlon, Marte Olsbu opened the championships with bronze medal the women’s 15km normal competition on Wednesday, behind fellow Madshus biathlete Sigrid Bilstad Neraasen who won the silver medal. Then Olsbu proceeded to collected a gold medal and KONGEPOKAL in the sprint on Friday, and won the pursuit on Saturday.

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Marte Olsbu won the sprint at the Norwegian Nationals on Friday, including Kongepokal. Photo: NSSF

Marte Olsbu won the sprint at the Norwegian Nationals on Friday, including Kongepokal. Photo: NSSF

Emil Hegle “Super-Svendsen” anchored his regional team Sør-Trøndelag SSK to GOLD at the Norwegian national biathlon championships on Sunday – his first relay gold at the national championships. Svendsen arrived at the championships in Sirdal a couple of days late due to snow problems causing cancellations at the Oslo airport. Also, Madshus racer Eirik Bratli won the gold in the men’s normal competition on Wednesday.

Complete results all events in Sirdal

At the Norwegian cross-country national championships this weekend, Heidi Weng capped her season with three medals – two gold and one silver.

On Thursday, she helped her club to gold in the sprint relay at the Norwegian National Championships. On Friday, she picked up a silver medal in the 5km classic at nationals, and on Saturday, she won the 30k classic by almost 5 minutes.

“It was a good day for me. I felt like I could just keep going,” Weng said to Norwegian TV reporters after her race, adding that she felt like she skied the interval-start event strategically well.

“I felt really strong today, especially for the first 15 kilometers. On the second lap, I was really tired, but I didn’t get super stiff,” Weng said.

Weng finished the 30 kilometers in 1 hour 29 minutes and 54.9 seconds. The next competitor finished in 1:34:43.6.

The 23-year-old has had yet another major international breakthrough season, establishing herself firmly on the podium both in regular World Cup distance events as well as in the Tour de Ski and the World Cup mini-tours. Weng also beat the queen of cross-country skiing, Marit Bjoergen, both in sprint and distance events this season, which marks another first for the talented Norwegian.

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Heidi Weng is greeted by her teammate after securing the gold medal in the team sprint at the Norwegian nationals on Thursday. Photo: NM 2015 Harstad

Heidi Weng is greeted by her teammate after securing the gold medal in the team sprint at the Norwegian nationals on Thursday. Photo: NM 2015 Harstad

Following the 30km classic event on Saturday, Weng was named the queen of the Norwegian national championships – an award given to the racer with the lowest combined rank after completing all five individual events for 2015 (3 events at Roeros in January and 2 events in Harstad in March). Weng had a combined score of 11 after 2 times 1st place, 2 times 2nd place, and one 4th place. The next racer had a combined score of 31.

Also at the national championships this weekend, Didrik Toenseth helped himself to two silver medals.

First, Toenseth was second at the men’s 10km individual start classic on Friday, and then he earned another silver medal at the 50km classic on Saturday. Fellow Madshus racer Hans Christer Holund was third in the 50km.

Complete results all events at the 2015 National Championships Harstad

My Best Race Ever

Magnus Moan (NOR) at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Oslo last week. Photo: Nordic Focus

Magnus Moan (NOR) at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Oslo last week. Photo: Nordic Focus

Magnus Moan bagged his 24th World Cup victory in front of a huge home crowd in Granaasen, after a race where everything worked from start to finish.


“My biggest advantage was that there were thousands of spectators cheering my name along the course. That gave me a lot of energy. The conditions were good for me and my skis were simply magic,” the Nordic Combined veteran Moan said to Norwegian TV reporters after his race.


At the biathlon World Championships, Emil Hegle “Super-Svendsen” (NOR) brought home a pair of medals to the collection. After a rocky start in Finland, Svendsen earned the silver medal in the men’s 20km individual competition on Thursday. Then he anchored Norway to silver in the relay on Saturday.


But Svendsen is not entirely content. He is already thinking about the 2016 World Championships, which will take place on home turf in Oslo. And he promises to be back for more.


“I was already thinking about Oslo 2016 as soon as I crossed the line. I will be back then, as a stronger biathlete. A little bit of struggle motivates me,” Svendsen said to reporters in Finland.


On Saturday night, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen earned his 40th World Championship medal when he helped Norway to silver in the men’s 4×7.5km relay at the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti (FIN). Bjoerndalen raced the first leg in the relay and exchanged in first place, while Svendsen secured the silver medal with a solid anchor leg, as mentioned above. In the men’s 15km mass start, Bjoerndalen ended up in fourth place, despite shooting entirely clean.


Furthermore, Madshus biathlete Anaïs Bescond (FRA) also bagged a pair of silver medals at the World Championships in Finland this week. She helped France to second place in both the mixed relay and the women’s 4x6km relay.


Complete results from the IBU World Championships


And finally, on Wednesday, cross-country skier Heidi Weng (NOR) capped her season with yet another World Cup podium posting a second place in the sprint in Drammen (NOR), and finally beating Marit Bjoergen in a true sprint race.


Weng, who is fully established as one of the best skiers in the world, has been on the World Cup podium no less than 15 times this season, including Tour de Ski and mini-tour stages.


More Medals – and It’s Not Over Yet!


Heidi Weng with her relay gold medal. Photo: Nordic Focus


Gold and bronze in the women’s 4x5km relay on Thursday – after a bronze medal in the 10km skate on Tuesday, and still three days to go!


The first week of the 2015 FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE) resulted in gold and silver medals in the cross-country team sprint and the Nordic Combined.

Read more: Gold and hardware in Falun


The second week of the Championships opened with Caitlin Gregg (USA) polishing off the 10-kilometer skate course in 25:55.7 and earning a bronze medal for the United States in the tough conditions Tuesday.


Gregg was barely seven seconds behind her teammate Jessie Diggins in second place, and with their medals, Gregg and Diggins wrote history for the US Ski Team: They are the first U.S. women to earn individual World Championship medals in a distance (non-sprint) event.


Asked by reporters whether she had believed she would be on the podium today, Gregg said: “We knew we had it in us. We have been working for this for quite some time. You just never know when it’s going to happen. Now we have done it once, we will do it again.”

(Charlotte Kalla of Sweden won the 10km skate race on home turf in front of a ballistic home crowd.)

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Caitlin Gregg (USA) after her bronze medal 10k skate race. Photo: Peter Blom


On Thursday, Heidi Weng raced the first leg for Norway in the women’s relay, leaving her teammates in an excellent position to win the event.


Weng struggled in the 10km skate on Tuesday, which is typically one of her top events, and accordingly, the relay victory on Thursday provided a sweet revenge.


“This victory is huge for us as a team. I was so nervous I was shaking all morning and even through my race,” Weng said after the race.


“Now I’m just so happy. We really deserved this,” she added.


Her teammate and veteran champion Marit Bjoergen, who skied the anchor leg for Norway, said Weng was overripe to perform.


“Heidi was bursting at the seams. We had to calm her down a bit before the start. She had so much power to put out there,” Bjoergen said with a laugh.

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Heidi Weng at the relay on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus


On tap for the final days of the World Championships are three cross-country events: the men’s 4×7.5km relay on Friday, the women’s 30km classic mass start on Saturday and the men’s 50km classic mass start on Sunday, as well as the large hill team sprint for Nordic Combined on Saturday.


For the women’s 30km classic on Saturday, Madshus racer Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR) will be joining her teammates for her first event at the Falun World Championships.


Program Cross-country (all times are Central European Time)
Feb 27: Relay men (4×7.5km), at 1:30pm
Feb 28: 30km Classic mass start women, at 1pm
March 1: 50km Classic mass start men, at 1:30pm

Program Nordic Combined (Central European Time)
Feb 28: Team Sprint Large Hill/2×7.5km, jumping at 10am, XC at 4pm

More about the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships


Six Podiums and WC Lead


Biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) pulled into third place in the WC pursuit in Östersund (SWE) on Sunday, and remains in the yellow WC leader bib. Photo: Nordic Focus


The biathlon World Cup season opener left Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) with one victory and a third place in Östersund (SWE), while the cross-country skiers were on the podium every day during the World Cup mini-tour in Lillehammer (NOR).


Emil Hegle Svendsen shows that he’s back on track this season, opening his World Cup season with winning the 20km individual competition in Östersund (SWE) on December 3. Svendsen was the only racer to nail every single shot at the range, and creamed his competitors. On Sunday, he was back on the podium finishing third in the pursuit.


“This venue has pretty challenging courses, with long uphills, and only a little bit of recovery on the descents. The entry to the range is fairly easy, but the conditions at the range are often challenging,” Svendsen said to Norwegian TV station NRK.


“These courses have proven to suit me well,” said Svendsen who now leads the overall biathlon World Cup.
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Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium three days in a row during the World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus


In the FIS cross-country mini-tour in Lillehammer, Madshus racers Pål Golberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng (NOR) opened the show with two podiums: Golberg won the men’s classic sprint and Weng was third in the women’s sprint.


On Saturday, Weng continued with another strong third place in the women’s 5km skate race, before capping her weekend with yet another third place in the women’s 10km classic pursuit.


Furthermore, Didrik Tønseth (NOR) had the fastest time in the men’s 15km pursuit on Sunday. Heidi Weng had the second fastest time in the women’s 10km pursuit. After this weekend, both Golberg and Weng is now third in the overall World Cup.


This week, the biathletes move on to the second World Cup round, which takes place in Hochpfilzen (AUT), while the cross-country skiers travel to Davos (SUI) for their next World Cup races.



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