Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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So Döll to do a Miki Greis at the Olympics? I know that he hasn't been exactly great in the last years but with the level that he showed today against an in shape JTB its possible. Norway clearly looking the strongest team right now with Boe and Lægreid coming into shape and Bakken making up for a declining Christiansen. Fillon Maillet was super strong on the skis again but needsto improve his shooting again while the rest of the team apart from Guigonnat doesn't look great.
 
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So Döll to do a Miki Greis at the Olympics? I know that he hasn't been exactly great in the last years but with the level that he showed today against an in shape JTB its possible. Norway clearly looking the strongest team right now with Boe and Lægreid coming into shape and Bakken making up for a declining Christiansen. Fillon Maillet was super strong on the skis again but needsto improve his shooting again while the rest of the team apart from Guigonnat doesn't look great.
France are the only one of the big teams that hasn't rested any of their big guns at all, which might come back to bite them. Jacquelin DNSing today is the first of it. Norway kept their whole A-team out of Ruhpolding, Russia have rotated a few (plus of course Latypov was forced to skip Oberhof and Ruhpolding in Covid protocol), Sweden's A-team isn't here in Antholz, and Germany sat Kühn and Lesser out of a few races.
 
With massively understrength German and Swedish teams, plus key names resting for Norway (Røiseland) and France (Simon, Chevalier-Bouchet), plus the occasional usual starter missing elsewhere (Dzhima for Ukraine, Mironova for Russia, Hauser for Austria) this was probably the best opportunity a team like them is going to get in their current state (obviously a few years ago they used to target relays, with Vitková and Soukalová at their peaks, and they'd frequently hold the others out of races to be fresh for relays, and they were a really good unit, but obviously those days are long gone), too.
 
Nice to see Vittozzi bounce back after her shooting brain fart yesterday (she still had the 2nd fastest skiing time). She hasnt been the same since Norway poached the Italian shooting coach Oberegger, under him the rise of the Norwegian Women started.
It was reported that Wierer was really unhappy about him leaving, but it looks like in the long run Lisa suffered more from it.
 
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With massively understrength German and Swedish teams, plus key names resting for Norway (Røiseland) and France (Simon, Chevalier-Bouchet), plus the occasional usual starter missing elsewhere (Dzhima for Ukraine, Mironova for Russia, Hauser for Austria) this was probably the best opportunity a team like them is going to get in their current state
even Belarus, with the worse of the Kruchynkina sisters.

For Germany, a lot will depend on Preuß' return, I guess. Hildebrand didn't qualify for the Olympics, so if Preuß doesn't get back in shape in time, they are stuck with Weidel, who is horribly slow at the moment. And it's not like Voigt or Hinz are particularly quick either...
 
Babikov another solid race today. His ski form isn’t great, but it’s good enough to get him a win (with his shooting clean, of course) the other day and today he’s 10th. The Russians knew how important getting a 6th guy for the Olympics was going to be, and they just missed out to the Germans. Now with Latypov not quite there, due to COVID protocol and not really training (Lesser helped him a bit). Will they take Babikov as well and replace him if he doesn’t recover in time?
 
even Belarus, with the worse of the Kruchynkina sisters.

For Germany, a lot will depend on Preuß' return, I guess. Hildebrand didn't qualify for the Olympics, so if Preuß doesn't get back in shape in time, they are stuck with Weidel, who is horribly slow at the moment. And it's not like Voigt or Hinz are particularly quick either...
Hildebrand is in the mass start on the 'best 5 this weekend not otherwise qualified' rule so if she top 15s that then she would surely still qualify? Weidel hasn't managed to make the qualification either (although she was crazy close) but they might squint on form and say both Hildebrand and Weidel are at half qualification so judgement call in favour of the veteran for experience and form (even though Weidel had a 9th and a 16th to Hildebrand's solitary 15th, these are all the way back in Östersund and she hasn't looked close to that in the few healthy races she's had since).
 
Hildebrand is in the mass start on the 'best 5 this weekend not otherwise qualified' rule so if she top 15s that then she would surely still qualify?
The qualification window closed last week, and can only be extended for those who already finished in Top 15 once. So normally not.

There's an additional ruling which allows the DSV to nominate not-qualified athletes to secure the start of the relay, but it's down to the German Olympic Sports Confederation to decide - and apparently they went for Weidel.
 
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Babikov another solid race today. His ski form isn’t great, but it’s good enough to get him a win (with his shooting clean, of course) the other day and today he’s 10th. The Russians knew how important getting a 6th guy for the Olympics was going to be, and they just missed out to the Germans. Now with Latypov not quite there, due to COVID protocol and not really training (Lesser helped him a bit). Will they take Babikov as well and replace him if he doesn’t recover in time?
Head coach Yuri Kaminsky has made it clear that Babikov is out of the team, so I doubt they will bring him.

Nice to see Vittozzi bounce back after her shooting brain fart yesterday (she still had the 2nd fastest skiing time). She hasnt been the same since Norway poached the Italian shooting coach Oberegger, under him the rise of the Norwegian Women started.
It was reported that Wierer was really unhappy about him leaving, but it looks like in the long run Lisa suffered more from it.
I read that Vittozzi did the fastest standing shooting ever recorded in a women's relay yesterday.

The qualification window closed last week, and can only be extended for those who already finished in Top 15 once. So normally not.

There's an additional ruling which allows the DSV to nominate not-qualified athletes to secure the start of the relay, but it's down to the German Olympic Sports Confederation to decide - and apparently they went for Weidel.
I think it's fine that the window has closed, because the Antholz results are both affected by many athletes not being present and those who are using different training methods ahead of the Olympics. The same goes for the distribution of wild cards. Of course it's sad that Amanda Lightfoot for instance won't be able to do the Olympics for a third and probably final time, but she obviously wouldn't have been able to finish 20th in a normal individual. She's still a better biathlete than some of those who qualified, but she just didn't find the form soon enough.

Moldova getting both two men and two woman qualfied is an amazing feat for them meaning they'll be able to take part in the relay for the first time.

As a Dane I'm obviously also very happy that Ukaleq Slettemark qualified, though hopefully she will be allowed to compete for Greenland in the Olympics one day.
 
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I think it's fine that the window has closed, because the Antholz results are both affected by many athletes not being present and those who are using different training methods ahead of the Olympics. The same goes for the distribution of wild cards.
yeah, well, Weidel didn't fully qualify either, so they still could have chosen the one in better shape, I guess - but generally I agree. The rules were announced ages ago, so I'm alright with them sticking to it.

Same applies for the (a bit off topic, but anyway) quota places in Alpine. The Austrians are fuming as they'll only get 9 spots now for the men (and calling for Bach to make a last minute change), and also Nyman was upset about only 6 for the US - but they should just have focused a bit more on it then, instead of having a first look at the new regulations two weeks before the start. But of course, in cycling we'll see the same discussion in 2024, when gender equality leads to a 1/3 reduction of the men's field.
 
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It's pretty clear she's one of the best shooters around from a technical point of view, but she's mentally broken.
I assume the battle with Covid didn't exactly boost her confidence either, though her results was already in a downward spiral before.
Hopefully she is getting closer to finding her way again.

Speaking of Covid, it was kind of the same case for Fialkova, who had also dropped form before her infection, but unlike Vittozzi she hasn't been able to find any concistency yet.
 
yeah, well, Weidel didn't fully qualify either, so they still could have chosen the one in better shape, I guess - but generally I agree. The rules were announced ages ago, so I'm alright with them sticking to it.

Same applies for the (a bit off topic, but anyway) quota places in Alpine. The Austrians are fuming as they'll only get 9 spots now for the men (and calling for Bach to make a last minute change), and also Nyman was upset about only 6 for the US - but they should just have focused a bit more on it then, instead of having a first look at the new regulations two weeks before the start. But of course, in cycling we'll see the same discussion in 2024, when gender equality leads to a 1/3 reduction of the men's field.
Weidel was super close though, which is probably a factor in her favour. They wanted top 8 or 2x top 15, she had a 9th and a 16th in Östersund and if you look at the margins, she missed out by less than two seconds both times. However, she then missed most of the rest of December sick so her results in Annecy will probably be a wash, then she had that crash out of Oberhof, missed Ruhpolding and only the two races here in Antholz where she was slow, so there might be a bit of the feeling that she's a bit more of a wildcard in terms of what her 'true' level is as against Hildebrand who is a safer choice but with perhaps a lower ceiling. However, standing against Weidel is that essentially she's the same skillset as Voigt and Hinz but not as good as either of them, and Hildebrand has plenty of experience to help the team through, I suspect we have a 2014 situation brewing here though with Preuß playing the part of Henkel, and none of the younger athletes having the promise of Dahlmeier or Preuß from eight years ago.
 
And Doro winning just to rub salt further into her wounds about the way their careers have differed since that 2018-19 season as they bookend the results.

It's so strange as Lisa used to be so metronomic, didn't really have many weapons to instil fear and drive her to victory, but she was just so consistently up in the flowers or the bottom end of the top 10, yet the only thing she's consistent in right now is miserable first shoots. I always wanted her to take the globe in 2019 as I have always liked her more than Wierer among the Italian team, but it really feels like that's going to have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance for her that she missed out on.
 
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