e Biathlon

The winners and losers of the biathlon season. © Dolomites infographic

The winners and losers of the biathlon season

The 2023/24 biathlon season has been history since Sunday. Who were the winners and losers? We have put together the tops and flops.

Top:

Lisa Vittozzi:

Now the only thing missing is an Olympic victory: Lisa Vittozzi has won everything there is to win this season. The Italian won a total of three crystal balls. The overall World Cup victory and the individual World Cup title stand out. Vittozzi was the most consistent biathlete in the field throughout the season. At the shooting range, the 29-year-old is simply a bench and when running she can always go one better in the shooting round. Chapeau, how Vittozzi fought his way out of his form hole.

Young, ambitious and also successful: Tommaso Giacomel. © APA/afp / TOBIAS SCHWARZ


Tommaso Giacomel:
He is and remains Italy's great promise in men's biathlon: Tommaso Giacomel. The Trentino native is always good for a top placement - also because he is one of the few who can keep up with the Norwegians on the cross-country ski trails. With a good shooting performance, Giacomel is always a candidate for the podium. The 23-year-old just needs to work a little on his consistency. Giacomel is so ambitious that he argues with himself too much after a weaker race. But if his development continues like this, his first World Cup victory should follow next season.


Norway's men:
The top 5 in the overall World Cup all come from Norway. In total, 6 “elks” made it into the top 7. The dominance of the Norwegians is impressive. Particularly outstanding is of course Johannes Thingnes Bø, who is on his way to becoming the best biathlete of all time. In the end, the dominance of the Norwegian men is nothing new in the Biathlon World Cup.

Biathlon mother Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (left) is in a class of her own when it comes to running. Teammate Lou Jeanmonnot has continued to improve. © APA/afp / ISAAC HALE


France's ladies:
What the Norwegians are for men, the French are for women – if only almost. With Lou Jeanmonnot, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Julia Simon, three of them placed in the top 5 in the overall World Cup. They particularly won big at the World Cup in Nove Mesto. They completely ignored the turmoil in the team (Braisaz-Bouchet and Simon are in a legal dispute over a credit card affair) during the competitions. Recently, Jeanmonnot's rise in form has been particularly impressive.

Flops:

Material topic:
As of this season, waxing with fluorine is no longer permitted. This presented all nations with major challenges. Especially those with a smaller budget. The gap grew wider and wider. The Germans and Norwegians in particular benefited from this at the beginning of the season. Little by little, other nations have also adapted better to this - including the Azzurri. But the material has never been talked about as much as it was this winter. Actually, the focus should be on the performance of the athletes.

At the World Cup in Nove Mesto the atmosphere was great.


A World Cup without snow:
The World Cup in Nove Mesto was basically not a flop. The mood was too good for that. The Czechs love biathlon, the arena was often sold out with 30.000 people. The TV pictures were also okay despite the lack of snow because most of the footage was under floodlights. But do you have to give a World Cup in February to a place where there is generally little snow? The sport of biathlon is generally facing a turning point. There are not as many centers as, for example, in Alpine skiing. In addition, they are often at a manageable level above sea level.


Italy's dependence on Vittozzi:
Behind Vittozzi, no Azzurra finished in the top 35 in the overall World Cup. That cannot be the claim, especially since South Tyrol also has some talented biathletes. Dorothea Wierer was ill for a long time this year and ended the season early. Rebecca Passler and Hannah Auchentaller have not (yet) reached the next stage of development or had to struggle with strong fluctuations in form. After all, Italy won World Cup gold in the women's relay last year. In any case, the dependence on Vittozzi is not good in the long term.

There was no getting past the Norwegians this year either. © APA/afp / JOE KLAMAR


Norway's dominance: To be honest: many men's races were boring again this year. The Norwegians were too dominant. The normal viewer doesn't care whether one of the Bø brothers or Johannes Dale-Skjevdal will win this time. It remains to be hoped that other nations can catch up.

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