Working together, as one family, we have been able to overcome our challenges and emerge stronger and more united.
We had the excitement of the Olympic Games Beijing 2022 which showcased the best of our sport on the global stage.
We were able to enjoy some astonishing biathlon with two weeks of high-paced, high-stake drama at high-altitude. New records were made and many athletes won their first ever Olympic gold medals or first ever Olympic medals. But all athletes, whether they made the podiums or not, contributed to excellent competitions.
Of course, just as in our 2021/22 season, there were significant restrictions in place at the Games to protect everyone from COVID-19. But this did not impact the quality of our competitions.
As we moved into the 2022/23 season, we were delighted to see the return of spectators as we hosted our first events without COVID-19 restrictions in two years.
We are just a few events into the new season, but we have already seen huge crowds and been firmly reminded of just how much our fans add to our competitions and the fantastic atmospheres they generate.
The new season has seen the implementation of a number of significant changes to IBU’s Events and Competitions rules which we are confident will further enhance our season.
We are greatly looking forward to the continuation of the season in January. There are so many excellent World Cup stops in iconic biathlon locations during the season, none more so than our World Championships in Oberhof in February which we are sure will build on the huge success of our last World Championships in Pokljuka.
Away from our competitions, 2022 also saw the culmination of the 2018-2022 Olympic cycle and was a chance to reflect on all that we have achieved over these four transformational years.
It has been my honour to serve as the IBU President in this time and work with the National Federations and IBU family to take our sport into a new era.
Together, we have entered that new era, but this is just the beginning for us. I am grateful for the trust the National Federations have shown in me to continue to lead our sport as President for the next four years. And as we move into 2023 we need to inject even more energy and momentum into our work.
As we all know well, and I do not need to repeat, we have made countless reforms and improvements in recent years, as the recent AIOWF report into the Governance of Winter Sports recognised with a significant improvement in our overall score.
We have reached the halfway stage of the implementation of Target 26, and working with our National Federations, Organising Committees and partners have delivered on 15 projects and 46 goals for 2022 from the creation of the IBU Academy, to the launch of our new IBU digital ecosystem through to the approval of sustainability and gender equality strategies.
We have laid the foundation. But critically this is just the halfway stage. We have so much more to do together.
Working alongside the new IBU Executive Board, which has more female representation than ever before, and with the support of the IBU headquarters led by our new Secretary General Max Cobb, we will continue to oversee the implementation of Target 26.
Embracing and welcoming the views of the National Federations, we will host regional based workshops next year so we can gather their feedback. And integrate their feedback into a re-focused Target 26 plan for 2022-2026. This refocused plan will be submitted for approval next year which of course is also our 30th anniversary.
As we celebrate 30 years since our founding, never has our sport been a stronger position. But what is most exciting is we have so much more potential.
I look forward to achieving to working towards achieving that potential with you next year and I wish you all success in the remainder of the 2022/23 season.
In the meantime, season’s greetings and best wishes for the holiday season.
Olle Dahlin, IBU President