5 Biathlon Predictions for 2023

The new point system for the Total Score and Discipline Scores brought new dynamics to the BMW IBU World Cup, and the 2022/2023 season is increasingly likely to have a dramatic finish in Oslo. With a lot at stake at the stand-alone IBU World Championships 2023 in Oberhof, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland returning in Pokljuka, and Anamarija Lampič transferring her world-class cross-country sprinting prowess to biathlon, everything is possible. We selected five outcomes that might happen in the next three months.

JT Boe and Laegreid are in for an epic Oslo showdown

JT Boe won five out of eight competitions in Trimester 1 in what was his best opening to the season. But he holds just 34 points lead over Sturla Holm Laegreid, who won once, finished second five times, and never lower than sixth. With no more dropped results and the IBU World Championships not included in the Total Score, every competition is of great significance for the two Norwegian stars. JT Boe is aiming for his fourth Total Score title, Laegreid for his first after he finished second for two years in a row. The contest will be decided in the Mass start at the season's finals in Oslo.

Simon will stay in yellow

After mastering her new shooting technique, Julia Simon sits firmly atop the women’s Total Score standings. She won the pursuits of Kontiolahti and Hochfilzen and missed just one shot in the prone in Trimester 1. And - perhaps the most importantly - bounced back from a first and only nervy day in the Sprint of Annecy with a second and third place finish in the Pursuit and Mass start. She also withheld late-stage challenge by Elvira Oeberg in the Mass start, increasing her lead over the Swede to 76 points. These are all signs of a Total Score champion in the making.

Pursuit triple for Jacquelin in Oberhof

Emilien Jacquelin spent a significant chunk of summer looking for a risk-reward balance that would suit his highly emotional personality. After a blunder in the Individual in Kontiolahti, Jacquelin performed with remarkable consistency in Finland and Hochfilzen. In front of a sold-out crowd in Annecy Le Grand Bornand, Jacquelin went all in and stumbled with his shooting accuracy for the week at a very humble 66%. But being an athlete who can turn his form on (or off) on any given day, Jacquelin is set to go for a third consecutive Pursuit title in Oberhof 2023 (after Antholz-Anterselva 2020 and Pokljuka 2021), a feat Ole Einar Bjoerndalen achieved between 2007 and 2009.

Herrmann-Wick will take a sprint gold in Oberhof

After winning a gold medal in Individual at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, Denise Herrmann Wick seems to be in form of her life in 2022/2023. Herrmann-Wick is a current leader in the Sprint Score as she finished sixth in Kontiolahti, won in Hochfilzen, and crossed the finish line third in Annecy Le Grand Bornand. With her skiing speed consistently strong and sprint shooting accuracy at 93.5%, Herrmann-Wick will enjoy the favourite role for the Sprint in Oberhof. And take gold.

Lampič will land her first podium in the World cup

A bundle of energy and speed that is Anamarija Lampič has turned many heads in Trimester 1 as a former triple sprint cross-country World championships medal winner debuted in biathlon. Despite missing three shots, Lampič finished fifth in the Sprint of Hochfilzen, out-skiing second-fastest Elvira Oeberg by 27 seconds. A quick analysis of Lampič’s three competition weeks in Idre Fjall, Ridnaun-Val Ridanna (both IBU Cup), and Hochfilzen (BMW IBU World Cup) showed that Lampič skied in a league of her own, stabilised her prone accuracy above 75% and expectedly shot with great volatility in the standing, with her accuracy hovering around 60%. On a stable shooting day, Lampič will land on the podium either in the Sprint or in Mass start, where her skiing dominance will put other athletes under more pressure.

Photo: IBU Photopool

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