Justine Braisaz is the latest in a long line French female biathlon stars. At just 21-years-old, she accomplished something this season that few athletes ever do: wear the Yellow Bib as World Cup Total Score leader. Braisaz has been the upcoming star for a couple of seasons. Her second place in the 2014 season-opening Beitostølen sprint propelled her to the World Cup team at age 18; from that point she has never looked back. The French World Cup team and a spot on the women’s relay squad has been her home ever since that day. The women’s relay provided the highlight of her rookie season when they captured the Silver medal at the IBU WCH in Kontiolahti.

The 2016-17 season saw Braisaz take a big step with her first career individual podium with second place in the Pokljuka sprint. The young French athlete’s ski speed was the key to her success that day, when she was faster on the tracks than the winner, the German star Laura Dahlmeier. That ski speed carried Braisaz to two more podiums that season and another WCH Silver relay medal. The 2017-18 season took her to new levels, especially on the shooting range. Two clean shooting days in Östersund meant two second place finishes and climbing o the plane to Hochfilzen with the Yellow Bib in her bag. Hochfilzen did not turn out as planned with results in the mid-thirties.

However, “home-cooking” and a partisan crowd at Le Grand Bornand was just what Braisaz needed. 8th in the sprint, 7th in the pursuit were the warm-up for the biggest day in her biathlon career to date, the December 17, 2017 mass start. She came to the first standing in the lead group, but picked up a penalty and let in 4th place. In the final standing stage, she cleaned and picked up her first career win on French soil, closing 2017 with a storybook ending.  She commented, “It is my father’s birthday today and it’s amazing to have a first victory at home. I am just so happy! ... I did not want to believe it. Then I saw my wax man with the French flag; I took a breath and yes, it is for me today. It was a very nice feeling to share it with the crowd and all of the French people. It was just like a dream, but the reality is actually better.”

More athletes from France

Top