Sunday, March 26, 2023

Norway’s biathlon dominators laugh at competition

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Norwegian cheers this biathlon winter? It has long since become a familiar sight. In 20 World Cup races so far, victory has gone to Norway in 18 (!) cases. While the international balance of power is somewhat more balanced among women, the Scandinavian country is clearly dominant among men. The top-class team around overall World Cup leader Johannes Bö hardly lets anything burn.

The Norwegians also triumphed in the most recent relay race in Antholz. However, with just a minute left, prompting the second-placed French to announce they were “getting closer and closer”.

The Norwegian counterattack? It oozes confidence, even if it was made with a wink. Sturla Lägreid said dryly to “NRK”: “If they take 15 seconds from us every season, we might see them in a few years.” Meanwhile, team-mate Vetle Christiansen was almost happy that a race once again lived off the excitement.

There is no end in sight to Norway’s dominance. Anything but a majority victory for Bö and Co. at the upcoming World Championships in Oberhof (from February 6th) would be a surprise. Or as the Norwegian biathlon expert Andreas Stabrun Smith puts it: “You look completely unbeatable. They will be the biggest favorites ever at a World Cup.”

Which does not mean that exploits by the pursuers can be ruled out. The Swiss also travel to the World Championships in Germany with confidence: Niklas Hartweg, second from Kontiolahti (Fin), has already shown how to annoy the competition.

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