US Biathlon in Europe

Good Morning All,

Since my last report, there have been 6 more races at YJrWCh’s. Junior Men and Junior Women Sprint, and the four classes in the Pursuit for those who were in the top 60 of the Sprint races.

The level of racing at the top of the fields is incredible. Only a small notch below the World Cups and about the same as the Senior IBU Cup level. For example—in the Junior Men’s Sprint race, the winner, Igor Malinovskii shot clean while skiing the 10 km race at a 2:20 per km pace..and of course carrying his rifle as all the athletes both Youth and Juniors do in Worlds. Today in the Pursuit—he again won, with 4 penalties, and again skied the whole 12.5km plus 4 x 150 meters at the same 2:20 per km pace. And that includes slowing down in his range approach 4 times, where they need to slow down before shooting, and accelerating back up to speed after shooting. Today he was only the 10th fastest on the course, the 2nd place Norwegian, Pettersen was faster by about a minute or about 5 sec per km faster on skis, so around a 2:15 per km. And ski conditions have not been real fast. In the shooting range [separate times pulled out from the overall] Malinovskii shot in 45 sec the first prone 56th fastest; 25 sec 2nd prone 1st in time, 26 sec 1st standing 7th fastest, and 28 sec in 2nd standing 21st fastest. He shot 0,1,2,1. That is from laying down his poles to picking them back up at the end of the 5 shots.

Basically the US athletes have to support themselves, including the cost of travel to camps, regional events, Trials races and all training costs. They also need to buy their own equipment. A very few get some help from USBA for specific race series, but that only covers part of their expense. And there is again basically in this country no recognition for success . On the other hand, European athletes and even the Canadians often receive support from the governments of the countries they represent, get free equipment through their clubs, and if they make the international events, their expenses are covered along with a really high level of support. For the cost of one F35 fighter, [$300M] the US could support the all of the US biathlon teams for years.

At the Open European Championships the Czech team had a trailer with a stone grinder to adjust the grind on the athletes skis for the conditions. The US had a $25 hand structure tool..However, at the YJrW’s the athletes have reported having fast skis with the help of a couple of German wax techs that USBA hires [and most of the athletes pay for]. By that is meant they weren’t dragging…and were probably better than the average.

So while the US athletes struggle to raise funds, find coaches, find good competitions etc, the European teams are striving to advance to the next level where the support and life style is even better. In the US, our athletes ponder whether it is worth the effort to make the next race series and pay out more…A top senior German Woman is likely making 6 or 7 figures from various sources. She has her own waxing crew…and I’m sure she doesn’t pay for her skis….

ok..done venting.

In the Junior Mens’ 10 km Sprint yesterday:
Winner Malinovskii Russia, 0,0 24:32
46th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1 +3:02
49th Travis Cooper, AK 0,3 + 3:10
80th Cam Christiansen, MN 3,4 + 5:32
82nd, Peter Carroll, CA 2,1 + 5:51

In the Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint yesterday
Winner Carrara Italy, 0,0 20:58
in 18th Siena Ellingson, MN, 0,1 + 1:39 back
in 65th Nina Armstrongm NY 2,3 + 6:11

In the Pursuit races this morning—only the top 60 from the Sprint races will advance. And they will start with the time back from the Sprint, which is not credited back to them.
Youth Men’s 10km Pursuit
Winner Claude , France, 1,1,0,2 29:22
30th Vasek Cervenka, MN, 1,1,1,2 started in 49th 3:37 back and finished + 3:52

Junior Men’s 12.5km
Winner Malinovskii – Russia, 0,1,2,1 32:39
55th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1,2,4 started in 46th 3:03 back +7:19
59th Travis Cooper, AK 5,0,1,2 started in 49th 3:11 back +8:46

In the Junior Womens 10 k
Winner Vasnetcova, Russia, 0,0,0,0 31:49
in 41st Siena Ellingson, MN 1,2,1,3 started in 18th 1:38 back + 5:24

In the Youth Women’s 7.5km
Winner Lardschneider, Italy, 0,0,2,2 26:57
in 4th Chloe Levins, USA , VT, 2,0,0,0 started in 11th 1:40 back + 1:55
in 42nd Amanda Kautzer, MN, 1,0,2,1 started in 59th 4:43 back + 6:16
in 53rd Grace Gilliland, AK, 2,3,1,0 started in 55th 4:35 back + 8:32

Next up at the YJrWCh will be the relays with the Youth tomorrow in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 km at 4:00 am CST, the Women’s 3 x 6 km at 6:45. On Tues the Juniors race with the Men’s 4 x 7.5 at 4:00 am and the Women’s 3 x 6 at 7:00. That will conclude the World Championships. These final events will not be televised on Eurovision, but might show up on UTube eventually.

More in a couple of days..
Bill Meyer

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