Conclusion of the biathlon season: What remains of the biathlon season

As of: 03/20/2023 4:05 p.m

There are hardly any superlatives that Johannes Thingnes Bö has not heard or read about himself this season – and rightly so. For this very reason, there are no puns á la “Boathlon” or comparisons with extraterrestrial beings, but simply a pragmatic, sober listing of the season’s performances.

In addition to the overall World Cup, the 28-year-old Bö won the sprint and pursuit discipline ratings. The Norwegian won 16 of 21 individual World Cup races. If you add the successes at the World Championships in Oberhof, the bottom line is 19 individual triumphs of the season. Unsurprisingly, that means a new record.

Kati Wilhelm speaks at the end of the season about farewells to top-class sport, big footsteps, young talent and concerns about young talent.

What makes Boe so good?

At the World Championships, Bö also became the most successful male biathlete of all time at world games with five gold, one silver and one bronze medal. The question that has been asked since the beginning of the season: What makes this man so good? “There are three components that make it so exceptional: runtime, shooting rate and shooting speed”arranges sports show expert Arnd Peiffer. “And then there’s probably his ability that he doesn’t need that much training to be at his best.” Also in the years to come “can he only become dangerous to himself”adds Peiffer.

“He will now also be measured in the future by this season, in which he ran half a minute or 45 seconds ahead. And if he was “only” as fast as the second, it was said it was going downhill. The height of fall is accordingly huge.” Reassuring for Bö: the few times that things didn’t go that well this season, or he was absent due to corona, a teammate was usually on hand. The first three places in the overall World Cup were all taken by Norwegians.

Time to say goodbye

The three biathletes are beaming – Denise-Herrmann-Wick is at the top of the podium, the gold medal is hanging around her neck. To her right is Anais Chevalier-Bouchet from France cheering, while Marte Olsbu-Roiseland from Norway has taken her place on the podium on the other side. This scenery is from February 2022. Location: Beijing. The occasion: the award ceremony for women’s singles at the Olympic Games.

At that time the photos of the evening went around the world, now they are just being dug out again. The reason is simple – all three medal winners are retiring. The Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff also breaks up. Those four goodbyes alone mark the end of an era in women’s biathlon. The four have won 21 Olympic medals and 38 World Cup medals together – they will leave a gap. “Of course, the level will drop a little first”arranges Arnd Peiffer. “But I don’t think it will be any easier to get on the podium next season. In addition, the boys in the field who move up have another year of training.”

So familiar faces leave the big stage on the track, and it’s no different in the German team at the shooting range. Mark Kirchner, three-time Olympic champion as an active player and successful national coach for more than a decade, is resigning from his position as men’s discipline coach. “I want to clear the way to be able to set new impulses and rejuvenate the team so that it can compete at the international top”, said the 52-year-old on the sports show microphone. Jens Filbrich will succeed the Thuringian. The 44-year-old is a former cross-country skier and was the running coach for the men’s and women’s teams in the second-rate IBU Cup last season.

The season of the German men: World Cup top, home World Cup disappointing

“Mixed” is Arnd Peiffer’s conclusion when he looks back on the season of the German biathletes. “The men’s World Cups were already successful”explains the 36-year-old. “Benedikt Doll, for example, achieved the best overall World Cup placement of his career.” In concrete terms, this means: The Black Forester ended up fourth in the season classification – at the penultimate World Cup stop in Östersund, Sweden, Doll even managed to win the individual event. “Really a great result”, sums up Peiffer. It’s good that the 32-year-old has one more season to go.

Overall, the DSV-Skijäger ended up on the podium five times in individual races. “I also liked the relays, there it was on the podium in every World Cup race of the season.” The bottom line is a good third place in the national ranking – behind the overwhelming Norwegians and the French. But that also means: in front of the very strong Swedes. “But there’s a complete downside”puts Peiffer into perspective. “The World Championships weren’t satisfactory. No medals in the relay, plus – with a few exceptions – the German men didn’t really have a chance of winning a medal in the individual races.”

The long-awaited home World Cup should go down in history as a German debacle. Since 1976 there had been no Biathlon World Games without a German men’s medal. “I’m still in good spirits for the future – although the average male squad is a bit older than the female squad.”

Not only Herrmann-Wick convinces with the women

“The women’s season is a little more balanced. With successes at the World Cups and the World Championships – of course, above all thanks to Denise Herrmann-Wick.”says Peiffer. “But the young athletes like Sophia Schneider and Hanna Kebinger have also achieved great results.” That is probably the most important finding of this season – in the German women’s biathlon, the youngsters have really arrived in the World Cup and can compete for the top places.

It couldn’t have ended better. Denise Herrmann-Wick wins the last sprint race of the season and thus also secures the small crystal globe.

Hanna Kebinger, for example, proved with an excellent fifth place in the mass start at the season finale in Oslo that the 25-year-old can also be counted on in the future. In total, the DSV women clinched five individual podium places this season – with Herrmann-Wick again having all of them. “With three medals, the home World Championships have become a successful one”Peiffer looks back on the two weeks in Oberhof in February. “If you were to take away two medals from Denise, it would of course look different.” Peiffer expects that without Herrmann-Wick in the coming season “a few fewer podiums” will give.

“There are a couple of construction sites that have come out very clearly,” reports Arnd Peiffer. “When shooting, it’s the standing position and the shooting speed plus hit rate. The Germans were far from the best there.” Peiffer sees a lever there that could be used to achieve better results.

The former biathlete Kati Wilhelm speaks in an interview with Sportschau about the end of Denise Herrmann-Wick’s career and to what extent the youngsters are prepared for it.

Denise Herrmann-Wick can’t hold back her tears after the mass start in Oslo. The Olympic and world champion says goodbye emotionally to active sport.

It is Denise Herrmann-Wick’s last biathlon race. The recap of the women’s mass start from Oslo.