Darya Domracheva is one of the most recognized and decorated biathletes in the sport today. She was born in Minsk, but lived much of her early life, beginning her sports career in Nyagan, Russia where her she moved with her parents. Her talent was recognized early when she would beat boys her own age in races. Domracheva returned to Minsk in 2004 and was invited to join the Belarusian National team. From that point, her career went one direction: straight up. She won the sprint and pursuit at the 2005 IBU YJWCH in Kontiolahti, making her World Cup debut in Östersund in December 2006, after several IBU Cup wins the previous season. Under the tutelage of Coach Klaus Siebert, Domracheva continued to grow as a biathlete, improving her shooting and gaining numerous podiums. Siebert remained her mentor and “my hero” until his untimely death from cancer in 2016. Despite a few bumps in the road like cross-firing and prone/standing mix-ups in Oberhof on two occasions, she moved into the biathlon elite in 2010, with Siebert behind the scope.
The then 24-year-old won a Bronze medal in the 15K individual at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. She followed that up with her first-ever World Cup wins in the sprint and pursuit at Kontiolahti, just weeks later, ending the season sixth in the World Cup Total Score. That season started a run that brought her podium after podium; her current total is 73.
Domracheva became one of the dominant women, with her graceful, but fast powerful ski technique and a “never give up” attitude; winning numerous competitions after seemingly falling out of contention. Two second places in the World Cup Total Score preceded her record-setting run at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. She won three Gold medals in the 15K individual, pursuit and mass start, the first woman ever to win three individual competitions at an OWG. After Sochi, she was the first-ever woman named “Hero of Belarus.”
She followed the tumultuous Olympic year with the World Cup Total Score title and the accompanying big Crystal Globe. A bout with mononucleosis, recovery, marriage and the birth of daughter Xenia in 2016 kept her off the World Cup circuit until January 2017. In a short season, juggling motherhood and training, the now wife of Ole Einar Björndalen won an IBU WCH Silver medal in the pursuit at the IBU WCH in Hochfilzen, the same day her husband won a pursuit Bronze.
Domracheva’s comeback came full circle in December 2017 when she shot clean to win the Hochfilzen sprint, her first victory since March 2015.
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