Okay fine, we’re just a couple of days away from starting the 3rd trimester of the season in Nové Město…I really need to let the World Championships go. But I can’t yet! So just one more look back!
Super Sprints – There are a handful of things I wanted to mention that I don’t think have gotten very much of a look. Not enough to go super deep but they should be noticed!
Marketa Davidova – Without looking…was this Davdiova’s best World Championships? Of course she won a gold in the 2021 Individual in Pokljuka and a Mixed Relay bronze in 2020 in Antholz. Besides the medal (which is big!) you could argue that Oberhof was actually her best all around Worlds
– Mixed Relay: 5th
– Sprint: 6th
– Pursuit: 16th
– Individual: 10th
– Relay: 7th
– Mass Start 5th
So yeah, she didn’t win a medal like the last two Worlds. Sometimes I think we put too much of an emphasis on medals. This was by far her most consistent performance at a Worlds. While she’s been around for a few years now she’s still only 26 and her best performances should be in the next few seasons. Should definitely be something to build on. Barvo Marketa!
Swiss Men: Okay you knew I was going to bring up somebody from Switzerland, right? They are sort of my adopted team this year. But…they did something really noteworthy in Oberhof! Prior to this year only 5 men had finished in the top 10 at Worlds. Not anymore! In the Individual Niklas Hartweg finished 6th and, in the Mass, Start Sebastian Stalder finished 7th. Cool side note is that Stalder wouldn’t have been in the Mass Start if Hartweg hadn’t pulled out. Stalder ends up 20/20! These guys are raising the level for Swiss biathlon!
Young Czech Men: The Czech men missed out on medals in Oberhof, but they were certainly had a very solid run! As a team, Michal Krcmar, Jakub Stvrtecky, Tomas Mikyska and Jonas Marecek finished 4th in the Men’s relay. After Stvrtecky’s outstanding 3rd leg the Czech men actually had the lead. Stvretecky was head-to-head against Emilien Jacquelin for the entire 3rd leg and came out 9 seconds to the better. He also never let Martin Ponsiluoma or Sturla Holm Laegreid make any inroads towards regaining positioning. Ultimately Marecek couldn’t hold medal position, but this was an awesome relay race. It was their best finish since the 2019 World Championships in Oestersund.
On top of that awesome relay though they each individually had some good races too!
- Michal Krcmar: Sprint 14th, Pursuit 19th, Individual 8th, Mass Start 27th
- Jakub Stvrtecky: Sprint 15th, Pursuit 15th, Individual 65th, Mass Start 22nd
- Tomas Mikyska: Sprint 60th, Pursuit 31st (biggest riser), Individual 14th, Mass Start 14th (both career bests!)
Italian Women: This is definitely worth a longer piece at some point (maybe at the end of the season?) but the Italian women are right in the mix with the Swedes and French as the next super deep team. Right now on the World Cup they have
- Dorothea Wierer – 32 years old: Don’t need to say anything else about her. One of the queens of the sport. Will she be around for Milan? Hard to say! Not a contender for the overall anymore but still has at least 1 win, 4 podiums, and 10 top 10’s in each of the last six seasons.
- Lisa Vittozzi – 28 years old: One of the stories of the season. It was hard watching her deteriorate after a near miss of an Overall Crystal globe 4 seasons ago. She’s back for sure now with 7 podiums this season including a bronze in the Individual at Worlds. She came away with 4 medals in total.
- Samuela Comola – 24 years old: Slowly improving in each of the last two seasons she made a massive leap in Oberhof. She had been becoming more consistent with finishes in the 20’s throughout the season. Then she broke through in a major way with 4th in the Individual. She backed that up with a 10th in the Mass Start.
- Hannah Auchentaller – 21 years old: In her first World Championships she had a more than respectable debut. Her “worst” race was the Sprint where she finished 33rd. She had a very strong 3rd leg in the relay to set up Vittozzi for the win. This really has been a breakthrough trimester for her.
- Rebecca Passer – 21 years old: In her first full time season on the World Cup Passler is showing flashes. She had a 17th in the Konthiolahti Sprint race followed by a 21st in the Pursuit. In Antholz she had a 28th in the Pursuit as well. At Worlds her best finish was 28th in the Individual but never finished lower than 45th.
Flower Ceremony: There were A LOT of personal bests or near bests at Worlds. This is just a collection…
- Italy: Gold medal for the Italian women! This was just the 3rd ever medal for the Italian women at World Champs or Olympics. It was also just their 3rd ever win in any relay. Theie other two wins were in interestingly both in Hochfilzen in 2015 & 2018.
- Czech Repulic: 4th in the Men’s relay was the best finish for the men since the 2019 World Championships in Oestersund.
- Austria: 5th in the Women’s Relay matches the best ever finish for Austria which was first set…in Antholz in 2023. Nice little streak for the Austrian women.
Samuela Comola: 4th Place in the Individual. Previously career best 20th.
Andrejs Rastorgujevs: 5th Place in Mass Start. This is his best ever finish at the World Champs. He actually had three top 10’s in Oberhof. Before this season only had one career top 10 at World Champs.
Dmytro Pidruchnyi: 5th place in Sprint. For a man with a gold medal this shouldn’t be a huge deal. Except that he had knee surgery just in December! What a comeback!
Sophia Schneider: 5th place in the Pursuit. She actually set her career best twice in Oberhof. Her 7th in the Sprint was her career best beating out an 8th place from earlier this season. Then she improved on that by two place in the Pursuit!
Tuuli Tomingas: 6th place in the Individual. Previous career best was 7th. Qualified for the Mass Start!
Tereza Vobornikova: 7th place in the Pursuit. What a Championships for Tereza Vobornikova! She had the three best races of her career with this 7th place finish and 18th in the Sprint and her first World Cup Mass Start! Also she was right in the mix with the leaders on leg 1 of the Women’s Relay!
Sebastian Stalder: 7th place in the Mass Start. As noted above just the 7th man from Switzerland to finish in the top 10 at a World Championships. This 7th place was just 1 spot better than his 8th place in the Pursuit in Antholz.
Emma Lunder: 7th place in the Mass Start. This was her best ever finish at a World Championships! She already has four top 10’s this season including her two best finishes of her career. Before this season the most top 10’s she’d ever had in a season was three. Still three weekends left!
Hannah Kebinger: 8th in the Pursuit. Kebinger came a little bit out of nowhere in Antholz. She’s really performed well since then though! This was her career best beating out her 10th in the Antholz Pursuit race. She also had a 17th in the Sprint, 30th in Individual, and 12th in the Mass Start.
Polona Klemencic: 8th in the Sprint. This is Klemencic’s 5th full season on the World Cup and it is absolutely a breakthrough year. All of her best six races, including previous career best of 17th, have been this season with three of those happening in Oberhof. Including this 8th she also was 19th in the Mass Start and 22nd in the Pursuit.
Suvi Minkinnen: 8th in the Individual. Not quite as dramatic as Klemencic, but Minkinnen is also having a solid season. Her 8th is a new career best over a 15th place Pursuit from earlier this season. Her next two best finishes are 18th from two seasons ago and 19th from a Pursuit in Hochfilzen this year.
Juni Arnekleiv: 12th in the Sprint. First race on the World Cup this year and only the 2nd of her career? No problem! How about a 12th place. She backed that up with a 13th in the Pursuit. Not bad!
David Komatz: 13th in the Sprint. Would you believe it if I told you that two of the best five races of Komatz’s career have been this season? Probably not but its true! This 13th place was the best race at a Worlds in his career. His best ever finish period is a 12th. Put that with a 14th place Individual in Ruhpolding and it is just the 2nd season of his career with two top 15’s.
Tomas Mikyska: 14th in the Individual and Mass Start. One of the trio of young Czech men who along with Krcmar achieved the 4th place relay finish, Mikyska also shown with two career best races on his own! 14th in the Individual and then again in the Mass Start. Along with a couple of tough as nails performances in relays lately and Miksyka is coming into his own right now.
Alex Cisar: 17th in the Mass Start. Cisar really likes setting new career bests. He’s done it three times in his last seven races. Starting with a 24th in Ruhpolding in the Individual. Then 19th in the Individual at these World Championships. Then 17th in the Mass Start. Apparently the stage wasn’t too big for him. Great performances from the young Slovenian!
Hannah Auchentaller: 22nd in the Individual. Speaking of people who look ready for the World Cup, Hanna Auchentaller looks ready to be a regular. Since rejoining the World Cup team in Antholz she’s gone: 42, 33, 33, 32, 22, and 29th.
George Buta: 23rd in the Individual. Weird stat about George Buta: 7 of his 10 best finishes ever are either at Worlds or the Olympics. And this is now his best ever!
Anna Gandler: 24th in the Individual. This was her 4 best finish of what has been a beautiful debut season with now 4 top 25 finishes.
Dmitrii Shamaev: 25th in the Individual. Shamaev matched his career best finish. With both Buta and Shamaev finishing in the top 25 that has to be one of the best races in Romanian biathlon history.
Eliska Vaclavikova: 37th in the Invidivual. Just 11 career races for the 24 year old but she nearly broke her career best in the World Championships. Instead she finished just 1 place behind her career best from last season. Hopefully she can break it this trimester!
Tereza Vinklarkova: 38th in the Individual. Another Czech 24 year old who came close to setting a new career best! I’m sure she’s happy with her 2nd best career finish though!
And with that its time for the final bell on Oberhof 2023!