Ten IBU Youth/Junior World Champions Who Became Biathlon Stars
Just a day away from the first competitions at the IBU YJWCH in Otepää, Estonia is a good time to look back at ten biathletes that went from winning medals at the IBU YJWCH to major wins and Olympic Winter Games success. These biathletes have really made it big.
Ole Einar Björndalen, Norway
This man needs no introduction; it is no surprise that in 1993, he won three Gold medals at the YJWCH in Ruhpolding, as a student at Norway's top-level Gymnasium in Geilo. Those three medals started unique and magical career. Winning those medals was a start of a unique and magical carrier.
Now known as “The King of Biathlon,” he is the second most medaled Winter Olympian, with 13 medals. At the same time, Björndalen is also owns a record 45 IBU World Championships medals and the most World Cup wins with 95 victories. the most successful biathlete of all time at the World Championships, with 45 medals; it all started back in 1993.
It is also worth mentioning that Emil Hegle Svendsen, Tarjei Boe, and Johannes Thingnes Boe all have IBU YJWCH medals in different individual competitions.
Lukas Hofer, Italy
Lukas Hofer competed in three IBU YJWCH, but his career took off in his final appearance in 2009 at Canmore, where he won sprint/pursuit Gold medals. Just weeks later, he made his World Cup debut at the Vancouver pre-Olympic World Cup where he competed in the Olympic Winter Games the next year. Hofer just won his second Olympic Bronze medal in the mixed relay in Pyeongchang to go along with his Sochi medal.
Anton Shipulin, Russia
Shipulin has been in recent years and remains the top man on the Russian team. He owns four IBU YJWCH Gold medals (two individual and two relay) from Presque Isle in 2006 and Ruhpolding in 2008.
Shipulin has over 60 World Cup podiums, six IBU WCH medals and two Olympic medals on his resume. He has ranked in the top 4 in the World Cup total Score in each of the last three years.
Simon Fourcade, France
Simon Fourcade has something that younger brother Martin Fourcade does not have, a YJWCH Gold medal! Simon won his first youth title at Kościelisko, Poland in 2003, one year after winning a Silver medal at the YJWCH in Ridnaun. In 2004, at home in Haute Maurienne, he claimed the sprint/pursuit Gold medals and Silver in the individual. The following year he followed up with another two gold medals, finishing that season with his World Cup debut at Oslo. The older Fourcade brother is an instantly recognizable and well-known on the World Cup circuit.
Michal Slesingr, Czech Republic
The Czech biathlete won the pursuit Gold medal at the IBU YJWCH at Ridnaun in 2003, getting two World Cup starts the next season. The Czech star won an IBU WCH Gold medal as a member of the mixed relay in 2015 at Kontiolahti
Hanna Oeberg, Sweden
Double IBU YJECH gold medalist from Cheile Gradistei, Romania 2016. The Swedish 22 years old wonder kid has made huge progressions in short time. In her first year as a senior athlete she won the IBU Rookie of the year award for her performance in the World Cup. This season Oeberg became Olympic gold medalist. She is the perfect example of Junior athletes who really became biathlon stars.
Laura Dahlmeier, Germany
Dahlmeier won two individual IBU YJWCH Gold medals and a relay Gold at Obertilliach in 2013. After her success in Obertilliach, just weeks later, she finished 7th in the Oslo sprint. The next week, she was a member of Germany’s first place relay team at the Sochi pre-Olympic World Cup. Dahlmeier won five Gold medals and one Silver medal at the 2017 IBU World Championships, a prelude to her record-setting double Gold medals in the sprint and pursuit at Pyeongchang.
Will the next "Laura Dahlmeier" be at the IBU YJWCHs 2018 in Otepää?
Dorothea Wierer, Italy
Dorothea Wierer was one of the best juniors competitors of her day, with five IBU YJWCH Gold medals in her career one from 2008 in Ruhpolding, another from Canmore in 2009, and three more from Nove Mesto na Moravě in 2011. since that time, she has become one of the top women in the BMW IBU World Cup circuit. She won and Olympic Mixed Relay Bronze medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and a second Bronze medal in the same event this week in Pyeongchang.
Veronika Vitkova, Czech Republic
Veronika Vitkova, the IBU YJWCH Gold medalist in the individual at Presque Isle in 2006 has been a World Cup competitor for ten years. She competed for the Czech Republic at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. She combined with Ondřej Moravec, Jaroslav Soukup and Gabriela Koukalová at the 2014 Sochi OWG for a Mixed Relay Silver medal and won a Sprint Bronze medal last week in Pyeongchang.
Darya Domracheva, Belarus
Darya Domracheva won the sprint/ pursuit Gold medals at the 2005 IBU YJWCH in Kontiolahti, adding three more in the next two years at Presque Isle and Martell. Her breakthrough came in her second senior season, 2008-09, when she finished third twice and second once at Antholz. Domracheva won her first Olympic medal, a 15K individual Bronze at the 2010 OWG in Vancouver, was the star of the 2014 Sochi OWG, winning three individual Gold medals and this week won another gold medal in the women's relay plus a Silver medal in the mass start at Pyeongchang. She also won the IBU World Cup Total Score in the 2014-15 season.
Here is what this year's Youth/Juniors had to say before their first competition in #OTE18.