Excitement Ahead in Ruhpolding
|28.02.2012, Ruhpolding / IBU Info JK|
|2012 “Super Bowl of Biathlon” …and More|
|The countdown clock in the center of Ruhpolding is down to single digits; the number of days before the start of the 2012 IBU World Championships is now down to one. That is before the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday. The competitions open with the mixed relay on Thursday at 15:30 CET.
Thunderous Roar of the Crowd
Ruhpolding, Oberhof and Antholz all have a special atmosphere and aura about them making them special. However Ruhpolding has fans so close to the finish line and shooting range and that they can almost touch the athletes. The thunderous roar of the crowd bounces off the mountainside behind the shooting range and joyous atmosphere at the Chiemgau arena as well as in the village is unmatched. All of this has added up to the tag of “Super Bowl of Biathlon” in recent years.
Now this Bavarian village is stepping up a huge notch in 2012. The title really fits this year; in some ways this year it will match or exceed that ubiquitous Super Bowl of American football.
Over 210,000 Fans
Ruhpolding will literally be overrun by fans this week at a previously unseen level for any biathlon competition. With advance ticket sales at over 210,000 and some walk-up tickets available for several days, the US event is dwarfed. The 6,500 inhabitants will disappear in the ocean of fans that will pass through each day. Few towns of this size, if any have ever hosted an event of this magnitude. The US Super Bowl is always in cities with populations in the millions Just like any major event, many people will make their way to Ruhpolding without a ticket to just be a part of the ongoing party. Over 300, 000 people are expected to pass through this one-main street town by the time the Championships end. Ruhpolding will be packed every day until the competitions end on March 11.
It will be a party filled with everything from local Bavarian groups to rock and DJs; both in the stadium and in town! The tribunes at Chiemgau Arena are bigger than ever before as are the VIP and fans tents. Champions Park has a new stage and will be crowded beyond belief. In addition to that, there is a Cultural Stage area just to the north of the village center. Both of these locations will have huge video walls showing both the competitions and the Awards Ceremonies live. Anyone afraid of tightly packed crowds should avoid all of the above!
Wall-to-Wall Television Coverage
The television coverage will be unprecedented, with thirty-nine cameras covering every angle in the stadium and on the tracks. The images that they capture will go out on a world-wide network under the cooperative banner of the Germany’s two main networks, ARD and ZDF. The Super Bowl had a rating of 40.5 the biggest in its history. It will be no surprise to see that eclipsed at some point before March 11.
Of course, there is the most important part of the next week and a half; the competitions. This is the part of the E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon season that every athlete has been pointing for. A record forty-five nations will be represented in the mixed relay, relay, sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start competitions. Other than the Olympic Winter Games, the IBU World Championships are the most prestigious competitions in the sport.
The only thing on every athlete’s mind between now and March 11 is winning medals. A World Championships medal can be the defining moment for some athletes. For others, a medal here might be another honor added to their resume. At the same time, any favorites who fail to medal, regardless of how successful their season has been to this point, will find their 2011-12 season defined that lack of precious metal. The whole season comes down to this.
The battles for those medals will probably be some of the most heated competitions of the season. The last two and a half months have just been a warm-up for this. It will be no surprise to see a series of photo finishes for the victory or a medal in the pursuit, mass start or even in the relays. Everyone wants a medal and will give every ounce of energy every day.
Just a few of the competition questions on the menu for the coming Championships are:
How many medals will Magdalena Neuner win in her final World Championships?
Who will challenge her, Mäkäräinen, Domracheva, Zaitseva or someone else?
Who is the top man this season, Fourcade, Svendsen or will it be Birnbacher?
Can Björndalen add more medals and victories to his career total?
Which team is tops; France, Russia, Germany or Norway?
These are among the questions that will be tackled in a later preview.
Clock is Ticking
It makes no difference who wins the medals here in Ruhpolding, February 29-March 11 will be one of the most exciting, spectacular sporting events ever held. Get ready for the real “Super Bowl of Biathlon;” the clock is ticking!