Final Spin on the Coaching Carousel Part 3: Norway, Italy, and Russia
As June 1 approaches, the coaching carousel is finally making its final spin for the year, with the recently released staff announcements from Norway, Italy, and Russia. With all of these new coaches now in place, there will be many familiar faces in the coaching box next season albeit wearing new national team colors.
Norwegian Women’s Team: Patrick Oberegger and Sverre Waaler Kaas
Although it has been rumored for weeks on end, Italy’s Patrick Oberegger has finally moved north to Norway to take the reins of the Norwegian Women’s Team, focusing on shooting while monitoring the team full-time. The physical training for Tiril Eckhoff and Co will be led by former cross-country skier, Sverre Waaler Kaas.
Team Builder Oberegger
Oberegger, the coach with the big smile and sunny attitude was a big part of the Italian success in recent years. He helped mold the talents of Dorothea Wierer, Lukas Hofer, Lisa Vittozzi and Dominik Windisch and a strong supporting cast into a cohesive team that brought the Italians Olympic Mixed Relay Bronze medals, a small Crystal Globe, and World Cup wins. The 40-year-old Oberegger now will start from scratch, living in Oslo and monitoring the talented but at times inconsistent Norwegian women’s team.
Norwegian Skiskytterforbund Sports Director Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset commented, “It has been a clear wish from the athletes to be closely monitored in everyday life, not just in training camps. We have listened to that. Therefore, Patrick will travel with the team at all competitions throughout the winter. This way we ensure more continuity in the shooting training throughout the season.”
Waaler Kaas, like Oberegger will also be based in Oslo. However the duo will make regular trips to Lillehammer to more closely monitor the team outside of camps. The 33-year-old Norwegian holds a university coaching degree as well as a master’s degree in sports science with specialization in coaching and physiology. The experienced cross-country skier has worked in several ski gymnasiums and was also the Norwegian junior national coach.
Eckhoff Excited about New Staff
Olympic medalists Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu were both excited about the new coaching staff, according to the Skiskytterforbund press release. Eckhoff commented, “We now get a training team that will follow us closely and be present for us all the time. It has been our most important wish.”
Olsbu added, “Patrick has an exciting coach philosophy, especially with focus on team building. We have seen other Norwegian national teams raise themselves when the collective gets really good at winning and losing as a team. We must strive for this.”
Italy Retools with Zingerle in Top Spot
The Italian team, after one of their best seasons ever had to retool when Oberegger went to Norway and shooting specialist Patrick Favre moved to the French team. Now, long-time World Cup coach and Olympic Relay Bronze medalist Andreas Zingerle is in the top spot as World Cup and Elite Team Coach. He will be assisted by Andrea Zattoni, Klaus Hoellrigl and Nicola Pozzi. The interesting take on this new staff involves the top athletes. Zingerle and Zattoni are specifically focused on the “A Team Elite” of Wierer, Vittozzi, Hofer and Windisch. At the same time, Hoellrigl and Pozzi will be responsible for the “A” team of Nicole Gontier, Federica Sanfilippo, Alexia Runggaldier, Thomas Bormolini, Giuseppe Montello, Thierry Chenal and Saverio Zini.
Shooting Specialist Niccolò Campriani
With Favre now behind the scope for Fourcade’s French team, the Italians now have a new shooting specialist Niccolò Campriani, who will work with all levels from the “A Elite” to the IBU Cup team. The 30-year-old Campriani is a three-time Olympic Gold medalist, twice winning the 50m 3-position (2012 and 2016). His other Gold medal as well as a Silver medal was in the 10-meter air rifle at Rio 2016 and London 2012, respectively. The US educated Campriani and native of Florence was the first Italian in Italian history to win a shooting World Championship in 2010.
Staffs Set in Russia
The announcement last week by new RBU president Vladimir Drachev that Anatoly Khovantsev would serve as Head Coach was followed up by the announcement of the staffs for both the men and women’s teams.
The veteran Khovantsev will also lead the men’s team, with Sergei Idinov as his assistant. Vitaly Noritsyn is the new Women’s Head Coach will lead the women’s team. Noritsyn previously served as women’s coach for the reserve (IBU Cup) Team. He will be assisted by Sergei Bashkirov with Leonid Guryev as advisor. Drachev commented to R-sport, “We have a brand new crew. We consulted with many specialists about how we could do better.”