US Biathlon in Europe #16

Good Morning again-

Yesterday I said I would write again in a couple of days—I lied :). More news trickled in and two more races have come and gone..

Biathlon is a sport with a lot of fairly delicate, and very complicated equipment. The following email and pictures from Amanda Kautzer is indicative of the problems that can occur at any instant and which the athletes need to overcome without much help!

“Bill,
I had some issues yesterday. After my first shooting someone cut me off going into the penalty lap and I went down in a slush pile and broke a pole. I skied the penalties and the first climb, and half the big climb with only one pole. Then on my last lap my harness broke. The screw you unscrew when taking the harness off for travel came off, and I lost that and the oval-ish piece that slides on the rail. Do you have any extras? I qualified for Swedish nationals and hopefully will go so will need to get that fixed ASAP. I am using Cam’s harness today since he is not racing. I would have done a LOT better in the race, possibly top 30-35 had I not had that major equipment malfunction. I skied over a K with my rifle in my hands, and even out sprinted someone in the finishing stretch with one pole and holding my rifle.”

As you may recall from reading yesterday’s report, Amanda moved from starting 59th, 4:43 behind the Sprint winner, up to where she finished in 42nd only 6:16 behind the winner of the Pursuit after 7.5km and 4 shooting stages. Lot of struggling to get to the finish line!! Many would have dropped!!

Coaches can hand off another pole, of some length or another—as soon as the athlete reaches a coach on the course; the coach can pass ammo or parts to a range official who can then give them to an athlete—or the athlete can grab the team spare rifle on the range [which might or might not fit them] …but once they leave the range they need to ski with their broken rifle until they reach the range again or the finish line.

So in the Youth relays this am, in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 Vasek Cervenka, MN had a good scramble leg, using 2 extra rounds in prone and 1 in standing to tag off to Jake Pearson, WY +0:28 sec back. As you can see in the attached, things deteriorated for the US then and as we finished with Alex Kilby, AK, in 18th place [of 23 teams] 8:06 back of winner Norway who used a total of 6 extra rounds, no penalty loops and finished in 55:05. While there have been 30 some National teams in the races—some countries do not have enough athletes at the Worlds to form a full relay team.

In the Women’s 3 x 6km, Chloe Levins,VT scrambled, used 4 xtra rounds and tagged off to Amanda Kautzer, MN, in 14th place, 1:40 back. Amanda cleaned prone with no extra rounds, used 2 xtra in standing, and tagged off Grace Gilliland, AK, in 8th place 1:50 behind the leaders!! Grace struggled in the range, had a penalty loop after 3 extras in prone, used 2 xtras in standing and finished in 13th, 4:56 back of winner Russia who also had one penalty, 7 total extra rounds, and finished in 59:43.

Tomorrow the World Championships conclude with the Junior Relays, starting at 4:00 and 7:00 for Men and Women respectively.

Bill Meyer

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