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“First place feels really special”

Benedikt Doll (GER) won the 10km sprint at the IBU world championships in Hochfilzen (AUT) - hist 1st individual World Championship medal. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll earns his first World Championship gold medal, while Ole Einar Bjørndalen collects his 45th medal.

Benedikt Doll (GER) won the 10km sprint at the IBU world championships in Hochfilzen (AUT) - hist 1st individual World Championship medal. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) won the 10km sprint at the IBU world championships in Hochfilzen (AUT) – hist 1st individual World Championship medal. Photo: Nordic Focus

Germany opened the 2017 IBU Biathlon World Championships in Hochflizen (AUT) on the top of the podium as Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to gold in the mixed relay, the first event at the championships.

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Vanessa Hinz (GER) helped Germany to gold in the mixed relay the opening event at the 2017 IBU world championships in Hochfilzen (AUT). Here from the pursuit on Sunday Photo: Nordic Focus

Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to gold in the mixed relay the opening event at the 2017 IBU world championships in Hochfilzen (AUT). Here from the pursuit on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

First individual gold medal
On Saturday, Benedikt Doll (GER) went all the way to the top of the podium. He didn’t miss a single target in the men’s 10km sprint. He raced faster than he ever has, and won his first individual World Championships gold medal with a 0.7 second margin.

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal. First place feels really special,” Doll said to reporters after his race.

It was only the third time in his entire career that Doll shot clean.

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Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The king delivers
On Sunday, Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won his 45th World Championship medal, hauling into third place in the pursuit. He started in eighth place, almost 40 seconds behind Doll.

“I have many medals, but this is a brand new one and this was a victory for me,” Bjørndalen said after his race.

“That means a lot for the rest of the championships, and I’m excited. If you have the perfect day, it doesn’t matter what the event is. But everything has to fall into place. I hope to do it again this week.”

The IBU World Championships in Hochfilzen (AUT) continues with the women’s 15km individual competition on Wednesday, the men’s 20km individual competition on Thursday, the women’s relay on Friday, men’s relay on Saturday and concludes with mass start events for both men and women on Sunday.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) earned his 45th World Championship medal in the pursuit on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) earned his 45th World Championship medal in the pursuit on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon on Top

Studio broadcast with Emil Hegle Svendsen (center), Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and host Dag Erik Pedersen. Photo: NSSF
Studio broadcast with Emil Hegle Svendsen (center), Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and host Dag Erik Pedersen. Photo: NSSF

Studio broadcast with Emil Hegle Svendsen (center), Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and host Dag Erik Pedersen. Photo: NSSF

Biathlon is the most popular TV sport in Norway, beating both cross-country skiing (second place) and alpine skiing (third place).

“This is great news for us who work with biathlon, and also great timing, considering we are headed into a season where Norway is hosting the IBU World Championships. This might just be the most important season for biathlon in Norway,” says Gunnar Glavin Nybø, director of communication and marketing with the Norwegian Biathlon Association (NSSF).

Winter sports have always been important to Norwegians, but biathlon and cross-country skiing have a special status.

“Winter sports have a strong position among Norwegian viewers, which was clear looking at the ratings for the national broadcasting channel NRK in January and February as well as the ratings for the independent channel TV2 during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi last year. Biathlon has produced top ratings for year, and along with cross-country skiing, the two are in a league of their own among Norwegian viewers, even compared to the huge international sports,” says Jens-Petter Gjelseth, director or information at the major distributor RiksTV.

Norwegians TV viewers were asked to rate sports from 1 to 15, where 1 was the top grade/most exciting and 15 was the bottom.

Here is how the survey shook out:
1. Biathlon (5,52 points)
2. Cross-country skiing (5,55 points)
3. Alpine Skiing (7,00 points)
4.Team handball (7,21 points)
5. Ski Jumping (7,54 points)
6. Track and Field (7,98 points)
7. Cycling (8,27 points)
8. Norwegian Soccer/football (8,39 points)
9. International Soccer/football (8,47 points)
10. Snowboarding/freestyle (9,16 points)
11. Speed skating (9,42 points)
12. Swimming (9,93 points)
13. Figure skating (10,15 points)
14. Basketball (10,94 points)
15. Boxing (10,98 points)
(Sources: NSSF, Riks-TV, Ipsos MMI)

The 2016 IBU World Championships will take place in Holmenkollen, Norway, from March 3-13 2016. Tickets go on sale on August 29, 2015.

To see highlights and past coverage, check out the IBU web streaming and TV channel 

 

Berger Named Head Coach for Disabled National Team

Lars Berger at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT) December 2013. Photo: Madshus
Lars Berger at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT) December 2013. Photo: Madshus

Lars Berger at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT) December 2013. Photo: Madshus

Madshus skier Lars Berger (NOR), 35, was announced head coach for cross-country and biathlon to the Norwegian national disabled ski team.

Berger, who lives just north of Lillehammer, officially steps into the position on May 1, which is traditionally the kick-off date for the new racing season. But Berger is already settled into the National Ski Association/National Biathlon Association offices in Oslo and ready to launch.

“When I decided to retire from full-time skiing after this season, this position presented itself as a perfect opportunity to stay involved. The top disabled skiers put down every bit as much training effort as those on the regular World Cup circuit, and I’m really excited to get started,” Berger said in a press release Monday.

As a joint effort with the Norwegian Olympic Development Center (Olympiatoppen) and the National Biathlon Team, the Norwegian Ski Association has established a combined national team for the biathletes and cross-country skiers, which will embark on its first season this year.

Aage Skinstad, the National Team Director with the Norwegian Ski Association, is excited to have Berger as the head coach.

“We feel extremely fortunate to have a head coach in place who is a World Champion in both biathlon and cross-country skiing. With experience at the top level from both biathlon and cross-country skiing, we believe Lars is the right man to lead this team to both the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Paralympics, and develop the best IPC national team in the world,” Skinstad said.

“This new combined effort with Olympiatoppen and the National Biathlon Association is really exciting, and we are really looking forward to contribute with our resources,” he added.

Lars Berger is one of only a handful skiers who have won World Championship gold medals at both the FIS Nordic World Championships as well as the IBU World Championships.

Berger helped Norway to a gold medal in the biathlon relay at the 2009 IBU World Championships in South Korea, and in 2007, he won the individual gold medal in 15km skate event at the FIS World Championships in Sapporo, and also helped Norway to gold in the men’s 4x10km relay at the same World Championships.

He was also a part of the Norwegian cross-country team that won gold in the 2005 FIS World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Additionally, Berger has a silver medal from the biathlon relay at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and four silver medals from IBU World Championships (2004, 2007 and 2009), and seven Norwegian National Championship titles.

Great Start to the 2013 Biathlon World Championships

Synnoeve Solemdal (Madshus) helped Norway to gold in the mixed relay at the 2013 IBU World Championships in Nove Meste (CZE). Photo: Manzoni/Nordic Focus

Madshus biathletes Synnoeve Solemdal and Emil Hegle Svendsen were instrumental in helping Norway’s mixed relay team to an impressive gold medal in the opening competition at the IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto Thursday night.

Norway won by impressive 20 seconds to France in second place.

The IBU World Championships continue with competitions until February 17.

Saturday 9: sprint competitions for men and women
Sunday Feb 10: pursuit races for men and women
Wednesday Feb 13: 15K individual Women
Thursday Feb 14: 20K individual Men
Friday Feb 15: 4x6K relay women
Saturday Feb 16: 4×7.5K relay men
Sunday Feb 17: 12.5K women mass start, 15K men mass start

All about the IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto (CZE) HERE

A Flying Start to 2013

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) at Tour de Ski. Photo: Madshus

What a start to the 2013 racing season! Team Madshus athletes are posting World Cup victories and podium finishes across the board – Nordic combines, biathlon and cross-country skiing – and have delivered more than 30 World Cup podiums just this season.

 

Based on the first part of the season, there is a lot to be happy about: Just this past weekend, Madshus had three girls among the top six overall in the FIS Tour de Ski 2013. Kristin Størmer Steira (NOR) was third overall and posted her first Tour de Ski overall podium finish. Krista Laehteenmaeki (FIN) was fourth and Heidi Weng (NOR) was sixth. Weng was also second overall in the World Cup minitour in Kuusamo (Finland) early in the season.

 

Young talent Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) has also posted a number of strong performances this season, most notably in the Tour de Ski sprint when she put on the brakes right before crossing the finish line, just to let Kristin S. Steira to advance to the final. Østberg, however, was the lucky loser of the heat and moved on to the final herself, where she was second overall – and Steira was third.

 

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) and Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) are back in business on the biathlon scene, and pushing the limits and their competitors.

In Nordic Combined, Magnus Moan (NOR) has also had an amazing comeback this season after struggling with injuries and illness. Moan has no less than four World Cup victories this season.

 

Next weekend, the Swix Ski Classics long-distance series gets underway with the 50-kilometer Jizerska Padesatka (CZE). Madshus Marathon Team is eager to get on track, literally speaking. The 2012 FIS Marathon Cup champion, Madshus skier Stanislav Rezac (CZE) is reported to be in great shape and ready to rock. As are Madshus racers Jerry Ahrlin (SWE), Thomas Alsgaard (NOR), Susanne Nyström (SWE) and Laila Kveli (NOR), among others. And 3-time Vasaloppet champion Jörgen Brink (SWE) is aiming for his fourth Vasaloppet title in a row.
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Joergen Brink (SWE) is aiming for his fourth consecutive victory at Vasaloppet. Photo: Madshus

And finally, Madshus racers make up half of the Norwegian National Team to the FIS Junior World Champioships in Liberec (CZE) Jan. 20-27: Hilde Landheim, Hege Langmo, Marit Robertsen, Ingeranne Nakstad, Trude Nonstad Fornes, Håvard Taugbøl, Morten Teksnes and Vebjørn Turtveit. Additionally, Madshus racers account of four of 12 racers to U23 Worlds: Emilie Kristoffersen, Barbro Kvåle, Hallvard Løfald and Mathias Rundgreen. At the Biathlon Junior Worlds, Madshus racers seven of the team’s racers and one alternate: Marie Nørstebø, Kristin Sandeggen, Lotte Lie and Aslak Nenseter in the youth bracket, as well as Erling Aalvik, Frida Strand Kristoffersen and Rikke Hald Andersen in the junior bracket. Nina Støvern is named the alternate to the junior women’s team.
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Hilde Landheim already has fond memories of the courses in Liberec. She won gold there at the 2011 Youth Olympics. Photo: Submitted

 

Of course, there have been several more strong performances both by veteran Madshus racers and young coming stars. At Madshus, we are excited about the rest of the season and the upcoming 2013 FIS Nordic World Championships and the 2013 IBU World Championships. Let it snow.

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