Oslo Awards and Endings
|18.03.2011, Oslo / Jerry Kokesh|
|Two Competition Days Remaining|
|The 2010-11 E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon season is rapidly winding down as are the careers of some prominent athletes, while some other active athletes are receiving awards.
Titles on the Line
After yesterday’s sprint competitions, only sixty men and sixty women will toe the starting line in Saturday’s pursuit competitions. Sunday those fields dwindle to 30 in each of the mass starts in the season ending competitions. The sprint cup titles were decided yesterday with Magdalena Neuner of Germany taking the women’s title and Tarjei Boe of Norway winning the first seasonal title of his career. No one save Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen in the women’s pursuit category, with a 45 point lead over Germany’s Andrea Henkel has a big lead. All of the other categories, including the World Cup total Score will see heated battles for the crystal globes over the next two days.
While a small group of men and women are battling for titles this weekend, some athletes who hung up their rifles yesterday were saluted by their teammates during the sprint.
On Sunday in Khanty Mansiysk, Oksana Khvostenko of Ukraine anchored her team to a Silver medal in the women’s relay. That third World Championships Silver medal for the 33-year old Khvostenko marked the end of her career. Khvostenko who also won two Bronze medals in the 2008 IBU World Championships in Östersund was entered in the sprint here but did not start. Her Ukrainian teammates saluted her during the sprint with a special sticker on their rifles, declaring, “Oksana Khvostenko Goodbye.”
The Swiss team noted the final competition of their retiring teammate Matthias Simmen in a light-hearted manner, taping good-bye messages on their foreheads. Among the messages were, “adios,” and “good-bye old man.” The 39-year old Simmen finished 83rd in the men’s sprint, but holds an important place in the history of Swiss Biathlon. He was the first Swiss Biathlete to reach the podium when he finished third in the 2006 Hochfilzen Sprint.
Serviceman Martin Glagow
Yesterday’s sprint competitions also marked the finish line for the British Biathlon team’s long-time serviceman Martin Glagow. However, the father of the retired German star Martina Beck does not plan on spending his days in a rocking chair. Glagow plans to devote more time to “table tennis and helping with the local ski team.” Eurosport commentator and former British biathlete Michael Dixon commented, “Martin will be a tough guy to replace. He could always get an extra 2 or 3% out of the skis on days when some of the other teams were struggling with the conditions.”
Holmenkollen Medals to Björndalen, Henkel and Greis
After the conclusion of the flower ceremony for the men’s sprint on Thursday, three biathletes were awarded the prestigious Holmenkollen Medal. This was the first year that biathletes were eligible to receive this traditional award that has been given out since 1895. “The Holmenkollen Medal can be awarded to athletes who have achieved outstanding results over the course of several years in one or more skiing disciplines. Predominantly, results achieved at Holmenkollen are taken into consideration,” according to Ole Fr. Anker-Rasch, Chairman of the Board in Skiforeningen.
These first biathletes to receive Holmenkollen Medals were Ole Einar Björndalen of Norway, and Andrea Henkel and Michael Greis of Germany.