5 things we learned in Otepaeae

Quentin Fillon Maillet secured his career-first Total Score title with a second place in the mass start, the fourth Frenchman to do so. Otepaeae aced its premiere as the BMW IBU World Cup venue, Vanessa Voigt proved her big potential. Ukraine returned to the world cup with women’s juniors. Lou Jeanmonnot and Erlend Bjoentegaard won IBU Cup Total Score titles in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna. 

Total Score winner Fillon Maillet has more plans for the season

After finishing second in the mass start, Quentin Fillon Maillet secured his first-ever BMW IBU Total Score win. After Patrice Bailly-Salins (1993/1994), Raphael Poiree (1999/2000 - 2001/2002; 2003/2004), and Martin Fourcade (2011/2012 - 2017/2018), Fillon Maillet is the fourth Frenchman with this grand achievement. After also winning five medals at the Olympic Winter Games 2022, Fillon Maillet has no intention of slowing down before the finals in Oslo-Holmenkollen, where he can also secure sprint and mass start Cup score titles. After winning 5 of 6 pursuits this winter (plus the one in Beijing 2022), he has already secured his pursuit Cup score title.

Otepaeae aced the BMW IBU World Cup premiere

After successfully hosting the IBU YJ IBU World Championships in 2017/2018 and numerous IBU Cup weeks, Otepaeae premiered the BMW IBU World Cup. And it aced it! With the stands full, and thousands of people cheering for the athletes on the tracks, biathlon got back the additional magic of great atmosphere that was amiss on most weeks for the past two seasons. Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen thought he was competing in Norway, and Elvira Oeberg thought she was competing in Sweden, as they got loud support in a dramatic final lap in both mass starts on Saturday. Christiansen summed it up fittingly as he said that biathlon is not about just winning. It is also about the feeling. That is perhaps the best compliment a venue can get.

Ukraine was back in the world cup

While most member of the Ukrainian world cup team went from competing in biathlon at the Olympic Winter Games to defending the country after Russia's mindless and unprovoked attack, the team in blue and gold brought Olena and Yuliia Horodna, both still juniors, to the BMW IBU World Cup in Otepaeae. It was a symbolic gesture, but it sent out a strong message: Biathlon Family stands by Ukraine and will continue to do so. 

Vanessa Voigt is here to stay

Competing in her first full-time season in the BMW IBU World Cup, Vanessa Voigt of Germany won her career-first podium with second place in the sprint of Otepaeae. She joined the German world cup team in the summer, determined to embrace the challenge, and managed to keep her shooting accuracy at a very high 90% (she cleared all the targets on eight occasions this season) while improving her ski speed a great deal. Voigt's progress throughout the season has been impressive and earned her a spot in the Olympic team, a childhood dream fulfilled with the bronze medal in the women's relay in Beijing 2022. 

Jeanmonnot won the IBU Cup Total Score and a ticket to the world cup team

In the most successful week of her career, Lou Jeanmonnot of France won in the sprint and finished third in the pursuit at the IBU Cup in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna to triumph in the Total Score standings. Jeanmonnot also secured her spot in the French world cup team at the start of next season. Erlend Bjoentegaard won in the men's Total Score standings after his win in the sprint. He also collected sprint and pursuit Cup score titles. France won the women’s and Norway the men’s Nation Cup score

Photo: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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