What is The Penalty Loop?

Welcome! Thanks for finding me here!

Ah yes now I have to talk about myself…truly one of my least favorite things in the world. But since you are here let me try to give you some background on myself and what this whole project is.

If you knew my history you wouldn’t think that I would have become such a big fan of biathlon, and winter sports in general. However, one of my very clear early memories is watching the Lillehammer Olympic Games. I remember during the day sliding around the house in my socks pretending to be Bjorn Dæhli and Bonnie Blair and at night coloring pictures of the flags so I could hold my own medal ceremonies. (Yes I was a weird kid!). As I grew my interests grew as happens with all kids. But then in 2010 I got sick with a vicious bout of the flu that happened to coincide with the Vancouver Winter Olympics. I spent over a week in bed watching nothing but the Olympics and reigniting the excitement I had when I was little. Thanks to the incomparable Chad Salmela biathlon and cross country skiing were quickly my favorite. Shortly after that I met my wife who (patiently) taught me to ski, and it’s been a passion ever since then.

So what is the “Penalty Loop” all about then? Well I’m actually still figuring that out. I may do this for 20 years and still not know what the heck I’m doing with this thing. My one goal that will never ever change though is to share my love of biathlon with others who love biathlon.

For anybody who just wants to read me freak out during races, don’t worry! The live tweeting of every IBU World Cup race isn’t going anywhere. I love doing that and I’ve had a great time getting to meet people that way!

If you all have read the Penalty Loop twitter account you’ll know that I can be long winded to put it mildly. This website is an effort to clean up that twitter account a bit. Some of my things like the weekend wrap up and power rankings you’ll find here in all of their lengthy glory. Oh don’t you worry I’m still going to write all about them on the twitter account this just lets me put even more thoughts down.

I’m also going to start a bit of commentary feature. I want you all to be very aware beforehand that this won’t be incredibly data driven. Oh sure I’ll definitely do some deep dives and get analytical at times but primarily it will be about observations, trends, and just fun things we’re seeing in biathlon. If you want to get into the data @rjweise and @realbiathlon are a good place to start. I’m not associated with them professionally but definitely good folks who get crazy deep into the data. I love what they do and they’ve been very friendly to me so give them a follow!

This website and the original corresponding twitter account are truly a labor of love. I would do it if only my mother read it. And I know for a fact she won’t ever read it because of two very important facts: 1) as a former English teacher she detests poor grammar (sorry Mom!) and 2) She really doesn’t care for biathlon all the much. I hope you all enjoy it.

If you have comments, suggestions, critiques, want to debate the topic I’ve written about etc please reach out to me! I’ll check the messages here but the best way to get to me quickly is twitter. I’m addicted to my phone and I check it approximately every 27 seconds (that might be off but only slightly).

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