Status: 02/25/2022 09:22 AM
Where Ole Einar Björndalen became a legend in 2002 with four Olympic gold medals, the superstars of tomorrow’s biathlon are competing these days. The Junior World Championships can be a stepping stone, but not every athlete who excels among the youth makes it to the “big”. Preview of the title fights, which will also be broadcast live on sportschau.de.
Laura Dallmeier was an exception, as was Magdalena Neuner. They both won gold medals at the Junior World Championships and rose to the top of the world in their early twenties. But such athletes are rare. Most of them need more time to prove themselves in the party of the best. Some fail completely.
However, a good performance at the Junior World Championships can be a first step towards a successful career in biathlon. Especially this year. It runs until March 3rd in Soldier Hollow, USA for the 2002 Olympic Games.
This becomes difficult for a number of reasons. “The special challenges are the altitude at 1,700 metres, the cold temperatures and the time difference,” DSV junior chief Zippy Zlovczyk said before the title race began. In addition, there are challenging Olympic courses with steep climbs and a wind-prone shooting range.
Objective: to achieve medal positions instantly
The German Ski Federation went to the World Cup with high expectations. “We want to knock on the door of world leaders and fight for medals,” Szlufcik said shortly before highlighting the year.
The goal was achieved, one might think after the first race for the juniors, because Lisa Marie Spark so impressively showed her class at the start in the singles. The 21-year-old from Ruhpolding rewarded herself with a gold medal for a strong sprint.
Spark, who has competed in the International Federation Cup several times this season and finished eighth in the sprint in Osrblie, missed just one of the 20 goals, excelled in cross-country skiing and was the fastest at 12.5 kilometers in 39:53.4 minutes. .
Switch Spark: Biathlon instead of Alpine
She entered biathlon at the age of only twelve, before that she was an alpine ski racer. When the efforts became too great, she changed saddles and supported the seemingly correct horse. She revealed in an interview with Sportschau that Olympia 2026 is her big long-term goal.
Mareike Braun (DAV Ulm / 1 mistake / +1: 36.8 min) is also convinced to finish fourth. Joanna Bove and Louise Muller, who are second and third in IBU Junior Score, did not finish in the top 20 after three and five penalty kicks, respectively.
Youngsters with problems at the shooting range
Things did not go well for the four junior candidates. The best DSV quartet was “Peiffer fan”, Hans Köllner (WSV Clausthal-Zellerfeld) as 20. Christoph Nowak (SG Klotzsche/38.), Darius Lodl (SV Hermsdorf/39.) and Frederik Madersbacher (Nesselwang/42.) She was way off the top after poorly performing on the shooting range.
Laudel is certainly a candidate for a good result in the major World Cup stage, even if you don’t succeed in the first competition. He took five podiums in the IBU Junior Cup and was crowned champion in the mixed singles relay with Joanna Pugh at this year’s European Youth Championships.
First the Olympic Games, then the World Junior Championships
However, the competition in the most important title fights is much greater. In the United States, there are 139 women and 169 men from initially 33 National Societies. Few of them are likely to be running for Olympic medals at some point.
But some have already managed to get a taste of the Olympic experience. There were four male athletes and three female athletes from the current starting field in Beijing. Campbell Wright of New Zealand, who finished 15th in the World Cup this season, made the strongest impression and managed to qualify for the collective start at Anthols. In the individual he finished sixth. Czech Jonas Maresek took the victory over 15 kilometers.
World Junior Champion 2021 without participating in the World Cup
An interesting statistic shows how difficult the path to the top can be. From 2007 to 2017, 24 talented Germans who won a total of 36 medals in major events could not make it to the World Cup team in the end.
Junior World Champion 2021: Philip Lebowitz
Photo: Picture Allinece
A gold medal at the Junior World Championships is a success, but it’s not a guarantee of a golden future as much. Last year, Philip Leibowitz of DAV Ulm ran to gold in the individual race. He hoped in vain that the World Cup team would start. The 22-year-old has at least participated in the IUCN Cup, but only took the 20th place once.
The competition is much further
While athletes in Norway and Sweden regularly have young talent knocking on the doors of the global elite, there is a shortage of young talent in Germany. Since Laura Dallmeier, no young athlete has reached the top. Other countries are much further away. This is also due to other philosophies. In Norway, for example, no athlete over the age of 25 is allowed to run in the ITF Cup. This is how young athletes gain experience.
It is different in Germany. It is calculated based on results and performance. Although Francesca Hildebrand spent 34 years at the World Cup, she was favored over younger talents because she was currently the most powerful. There is no minimum age for the ITF Cup. This does not make it easy for young athletes, especially since the internal competition in Germany is much more than in other countries.
|History||Events||Live broadcast||World Champion|
|02/24/2022||Young bachelors, 15 km||–||Jonas Mariske (Czech Republic)|
|02/24/2022||Women’s junior singles, 12.5 km||–||Lisa Marie Spark (Ruhpolding)|
|02/26/2022||Junior Sprint, 10 km||Live sports show from 6:55 pm|
|02/26/2022||Little Ladies Sprint 7.5 km||Live sports show from 9:55 pm|
|02/27/2022||Junior Pursuit, 12.5 km||Live sports show from 10:10 pm|
|02/27/2022||Little Women Chase – 10 km||Live sports show from 11:20 pm|
|02.03.2022||Junior Relay 4 x 7.5 km||Live sports show from 6.55 pm|
|02.03.2022||Women’s Junior Relay 3 x 6 km||Live sports show from 9:55 pm|
|Marek Brown (DAV Ulm)||Hans Kollner (WSV Clausthal-Zellerfeld)|
|Louise Muller (SV Green-White Pirna)||Christoph Nowak (SG Kloche)|
|Lisa Marie Spark (SC Traunstein)||Darius Laudel (SV Hermsdorf)|
|Johanna Pugh (SC Bayrischzell)||Friedrich Madersbacher (Neselwang)|
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