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heywoodu

Biathlon 2015 - 2016 Discussion Thread

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Klaus Siebert Dead at Age 60

 

Beloved Coach and Athlete, Multi World Champion, World Cup Total Score Champion and well-known coach Klaus Siebert died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer, just four days before his 61st birthday.

 

The former German biathlete was a fixture in biathlon since his glory days as an athlete in the mid-to-late seventies. During that time, he won three WCH Gold medals, the 1979 World Cup Total Score, eight World Cup competitions, and an Olympic Relay Silver medal at Lake Placid in 1980. After retiring from competition, he went on to a successful coaching career with the German, Chinese and Belarusian teams. Among his biggest success stories with the German Team was the now Russian Men's Coach Ricco Gross.

 

Siebert's biggest success came during his final coaching stop from 2008-2014 with the Belarusian Women's team that included Darya Domracheva and Nadezhda Skardino, where he developed a strong bond with the whole team and federation. After an initial bout with cancer in late 2011, Siebert returned to the team the next summer while still under treatment, leading Domracheva at the time to call him, "my hero." He continued with the team through the 2014 Olympic Winter Games when his protégé Domracheva won three Olympic Gold medals and Skardino a Bronze medal. After those Games, Siebert stepped down from coaching due to focus on his health.

 

"Our Superman"

 

Upon hearing of his passing, Skardino commented, "He was our Superman... our coach, psychologist, teacher and friend at the same time...for me; he was like a king of biathlon... I'm very grateful for everything he has taught me. Above all, he taught me to love life and biathlon at the same time. He will always remain in my heart and that of the other girls. I can only say. 'Thank you, Klaus. Thank you for all the time you have been with us."

 

Domracheva as part of a group video greeting to Siebert in late January said, "We love you with all our heart and are always with you."

 

The IBU and the biathlon family extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Klaus Siebert.

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Succesful German cross-country skier Denise Herrmann will change from XC to biathlon, starting the training for biathlon next week :mumble:

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/news/sport/biathlon-langlaeuferin-denise-herrmann-wechselt-zum-biathlon-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-160426-99-733998

 

I really wonder how smart of a move that is, so short before the Olympics. In XC there's basically no doubt she'd be in the German Olympic team, but in biathlon she'll have incredibly much more competition to beat. On the other hand, of course she should choose what she prefers...if she's "done" with XC, there's no use in "forcing" her to keep doing that. 

Edited by heywoodu

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Even for professional skiers it takes years to learn how to shoot decently (for the World Cup). Considering high level of the German team, imho she will become the IBU Cup star in the best scenario.

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2 hours ago, Xander said:

Even for professional skiers it takes years to learn how to shoot decently (for the World Cup). Considering high level of the German team, imho she will become the IBU Cup star in the best scenario.

The good thing is Celia Aymonier made quite a good impression in her first season of biathlon. I'm not expecting Herrmann to reach 90% shooting of course, but if she can for starters get it up to a consistent 75-80% in her first season, good things might be possible for her. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, heywoodu said:

Celia Aymonier.

She was the 1st name I thought of for a good comparison.

However she flopped Hochfilzen & Pokljuka. Individual race in Ruhpolding was a success imo (just 3 misses) and quite good relay. Floppy Antholz (not being adjusted to the height probably). She was gr8 in America but almost everyone was preparing for the WCH thus they had to be in the functional "pit". Her lack of experience came to logical conclusion at the WCH & the last leg in Khanty.

 

Denise can shine in a few races like Aymonier but she has yet to learn how to "survive" through the whole season. It will take 2 years minimum imo, it's a huge risk if she wants to start in Pyeongchang. Beijing would be more possible.

She can become like Bondar & learn how to shoot 0's (while sacrificing speed) or struggle in all races with 4 shooting bouts.

Wondering if she had ever practiced biathlon basics before. In Bundeswehr maybe? :)

 

Edited by Xander

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6 hours ago, Xander said:

She was the 1st name I thought of for a good comparison.

However she flopped Hochfilzen & Pokljuka. Individual race in Ruhpolding was a success imo (just 3 misses) and quite good relay. Floppy Antholz (not being adjusted to the height probably). She was gr8 in America but almost everyone was preparing for the WCH thus they had to be in the functional "pit". Her lack of experience came to logical conclusion at the WCH & the last leg in Khanty.

 

Denise can shine in a few races like Aymonier but she has yet to learn how to "survive" through the whole season. It will take 2 years minimum imo, it's a huge risk if she wants to start in Pyeongchang. Beijing would be more possible.

She can become like Bondar & learn how to shoot 0's (while sacrificing speed) or struggle in all races with 4 shooting bouts.

Wondering if she had ever practiced biathlon basics before. In Bundeswehr maybe? :)

 

 

The article says a lot of German XC skiers had a shooting training in 2012, when it wasn't looking good for German biathlon after Neuner's retirement. Herrmann says "it didn't go that bad actually". She also says she knows it's a surprising time to make the change, but she has been thinking about it for a while now.

 

Indeed, Aymonier wasn't exactly consistent, but she did show that she has the talent to fight for top-20 in the World Cup standings if she manages to get consistent. I think Herrmann can do the same if she manages to get her shooting under control. In any way, I'll be paying very close attention to the first IBU Cups to see how she's doing in shooting...her skiing speed is beyond major doubt I think. 

 

Apart from that it seems that the main issue for the change is motivation. If she just isn't motivated anymore to do only XC, it would be useless to keep trying it. Sure, her Olympic chances would be way better of course, but don't underestimate how hard it is to be focused almost every day of the year on training and being fit...then imagine you're doing that for a sport you're just not so motivated for anymore (XC). If biathlon feels like a new and fun challenge for her, she should do it :) 

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Bruna Moura and Gabi Neres will represent Brazil for the first time ever at this year's Summer Biathlon World Championships in Otepää, Estonia :cheer::clap:

 

Also, if qualifying for the biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen doesn't happen, they'll go to the Nordic World Championships in Lahti if they reached the qualifying standards for those championships :) 

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There are at least 3 ways to look at the decision of Denise Herrmann:

 

1) German cross-country skiing: Its a pretty big loss, because she was one of our best athletes. She was our 4th best athlete in distance world cup and our 2nd best athlete in sprint world cup. The question is: Does this hurt our medal chances in any event? In my opinion the answer is: Not really.

Ringwald and Kolb are already on the same level in sprint and both are at least 2 years younger, so she probably wouldnt have been part of our womens team sprint team in 2018 and she also wouldnt have had a realistic chance to win an individual medal in any discipline. In my opinion its a bigger hit for our womens relay, they might have (had) a small chance for bronze in 2018 and Böhler/Fessel are both pretty old, so this might really hurt us in the future. On the other hand we have tons of talented women who could (easily) replace her in the next couple of years, for example Carl, Belger, Gimmler, Fräbel or Hennig. The only reason why i am a bit sad about this decision is that she was the "face" of german cross-country skiing, so cross-country skiing might become even less popular in the future in Germany.

 

2) German biathlon: We dont really need her, we have a very young team and Dahlmeier/Preuß/Hinz/Hammerschmidt/Hildebrand are all clearly better than she (in my opinion) will ever be, i doubt that she has a realistic chance to qualify for 2018 olympic games. Even someone like Gössner has a better chance in my opinion. On the other hand german biathlon cant really lose anything. At worst she wont help us and at best she could become an important part of our relay. I think she will be among the fastest athletes right away, so she "only" needs to learn shooting. Its hard to tell how likely it is that she will learn shooting, but in my opinion its not very likely considering her age. Gössner didnt learn shooting until now and she started with the shooting training much earlier than Herrmann. On the other hand Hinz also switched to biathlon pretty recently and she has become at least decent in shooting, but she isnt among the fastest athletes in biathlon anymore, so she might have lost a bit of "speed".

 

3) Denise Herrmann: I can absolutely understand her decision, although she lowered her chances to qualify for 2018 olympic games with this move. There are various good reasons for this decision:

a) She can train/compete with her best friend Maren Hammerschmidt.

b) She never wouldve won an individual medal in cross-country skiing, considering the norwegian dominance and she already won an olympic medal in relay, so why not try something new?

c) Biathlon is far more popular than cross-country skiing in Germany. I think every team member in german biathlon (top 6) gets more attention than any cross-country athlete in Germany, unless someone wins the overall world cup in cross-country skiing. I think a top 10 finish in biathlon gets far more attention than a top 3 finish in cross-country skiing.

d) In an interview she said that she had this idea in her mind for a pretty long time already. Before the start of the last season german womens team in cross-country skiing got a new coach, i think she talked with him about this idea back then and he said something like "At least try my training for one season and if you dont have fun/become better, then you can switch to biathlon". I think she wasnt really motivated for cross-country skiing anymore, considering the norwegian dominance, so in my opinion it was a decision between biathlon and retirement and not between biathlon and cross-country skiing. German skiing federation of course wanted her to continue her career, so they "allowed" this move. In the past Gössner competed in both biathlon and cross-country skiing and i think Herrmann might do the same.

For me her situation is a bit like that of Roleder (athletics) who decided to train for heptathlon and then won a silver medal in womens 100 m hurdles at the last world championships. The main reason for that was that she wanted to have more fun in training and Herrmann might have the same reason for switching to biathlon. After all biathlon training and cross-country skiing training are not that different, so she might even become faster by training biathlon.

Edited by OlympicsFan

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41 minutes ago, OlympicsFan said:

 

3) Denise Herrmann: I can absolutely understand her decision, although she lowered her chances to qualify for 2018 olympic games with this move. There are various good reasons for this decision:

a) She can train/compete with her best friend Maren Hammerschmidt.

b) She never wouldve won an individual medal in cross-country skiing, considering the norwegian dominance and she already won an olympic medal in relay, so why not try something new?

c) Biathlon is far more popular than cross-country skiing in Germany. I think every team member in german biathlon (top 6) gets more attention than any cross-country athlete in Germany, unless someone wins the overall world cup in cross-country skiing. I think a top 10 finish in biathlon gets far more attention than a top 3 finish in cross-country skiing.

d) In an interview she said that she had this idea in her mind for a pretty long time already. Before the start of the last season german womens team in cross-country skiing got a new coach, i think she talked with him about this idea back then and he said something like "At least try my training for one season and if you dont have fun/become better, then you can switch to biathlon". I think she wasnt really motivated for cross-country skiing anymore, considering the norwegian dominance, so in my opinion it was a decision between biathlon and retirement and not between biathlon and cross-country skiing. German skiing federation of course wanted her to continue her career, so they "allowed" this move. In the past Gössner competed in both biathlon and cross-country skiing and i think Herrmann might do the same.

 

And in the end, this is the most important point of view. If she doesn't feel the motivation for XC anymore and apparently already has that in mind for a long time, staying in XC would only make her less motivated to train hard, making her results less, making her motivation even worse and so on. 

 

If biathlon gives her back her motivation to give everything for her sports career, it's the right choice :) 

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Thats true and its nice that german federation supports her, they also couldve said no, considering that she doesnt finance herself.

In the end she will probably be less successful, but she will have more fun and will probably get more attention, in addition to that she can still compete in cross-country skiing if she wont make our biathlon team for 2016 olympic games.

 

Edit:

I forgot the 2 most obvious cases:

1) Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle switched to biathlon at the age of 31. In her last season in cross-country world cup she finished 60th in overall world cup. Her best individual result was a 4th place in the mass start at 2014 olympic games.

2) Celia Aymonier switched to biathlon at the age of 24. In her last season in cross-country world cup she finished 37th in overall world cup.

Her best result (so far) were two 11th places in Presque Isle this season in sprint/pursuit.

 

Denise Herrmann is now 27 years old and in her last season in cross-country world cup she finished 23th in overall world cup.

 

Edited by OlympicsFan

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