The Search Continues: Who Will be the ‚Comeback King/Queen‘? Semifinals
Four spots, but just three athletes remain in the tournament. Kaisa Makarainen secured herself a spot in both semi-finals, while Laura Dahlmeier defeated wild card holder Tarjei Boe. Which legends can proceed to the big final?
Round 1 Winners:
In the left side of the draw, the Round 1 winners were Darya Domracheva HOL12 Mass Start, Martin Fourcade RUH18 Mass Start, Kaisa Makarainen TMN18 Mass Start and Johannes Thingnes Boe HOC19 Relay.
Round 2 Winners:
On the right side of the draw, the Round 2 winners were Darya Domracheva HOC 17 Pursuit, Kaisa Makarainen KON15 Individual, Franziska Preuss OBE19 Pursuit and Laura Dahlmeier NMNM16 Mass Start.
Quarter Final Winners:
The Quarterfinal winners were Martin Fourcade RUH18 Mass Start and Kaisa Makarainen TMN18 Mass Start, Kaisa Makarainen KON15 Individual and Laura Dahlmeier NMNM16 Mass Start, the winner of the face off between her (least votes in the QF) and the wild card comeback of Tarjei Boe.
The Quarter Final Pairings
The big Final is only one step away. On the home stretch of the competition, four high-class comebacks will now battle each other in two duels. Kaisa Makarainen has high hopes for victory. But two other legends have objections and want to prevent the Kaisa coup: Is it Martin Fourcade who can prevent her from entering the final or Laura Dahlmeier, who earned her semi-final entry through two hard-fought quarter-final victories over team-mate Franzi Preuss and wildcard participant Tarjei Boe? Many open questions, which only you, fans, can answer with your votes.
How To Vote
It is time to decide who take another step towards the title of Comeback King or Queen. Read our short recaps, and cast your vote on our Instagram Story @ibu_biathlonworld. Voting in each round is open for 24 hours. After that we will post the results of the Championship Round on May 16.
Martin Fourcade 2018 Ruhpolding Mass Start vs. Kaisa Makarainen 2018 Tyumen Mass Start
A semi-final with final character: A total of ten overall World Cup victories are represented in this duel. The fact that there are ten is also due to one of these comebacks. Kaisa secured her third crystal globe with her comeback in Tyumen.
🇫🇷 Fourcade picked up two penalties in the first standing stage, exiting the penalty loop well outside the top 10. Yet, he roared back to finish second!— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) May 4, 2020
Fourcade picked up two penalties in the first standing stage, but roared back to finish second, 4.5 seconds behind Johannes Thingnes Boe in the Ruhpolding mass start. The French star led after the second prone, then missed two shots, falling 42.5 seconds behind his Norwegian foe. In the last standing stage, Fourcade cleaned quickly after Johannes missed a shot. The French star left in 4th position, 17.6 seconds back but by the 13.6 km split was up to second, after catching teammates Antonin Guigonnat and Quentin Fillon Maillet. Fourcade commented on his comeback, “I knew with two mistakes that it would be hard to come back on Johannes…I gave all I had to catch the podium.”
Despite the yellow bib, Kaisa Makarainen had to finish well ahead of her rival Anastasiya Kuzmina in the Tyumen 2018 mass start. Leaving the final range together, the 🇫🇮 fled in the forest to claim a 6th place worth her 3rd overall 🏆!— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) May 4, 2020
Makarainen sealed her third World Cup Total Score Crystal Globe with a comeback 6th place in the 2018 Tyumen mass start. The Finn started with a first-prone penalty, dropping her to 18th; clean second prone jumped her to 12th, 11 seconds back. Two first standing penalties spelled disaster: 20th position, 51 seconds back. In typical Kaisa style, she cleaned the last stage, but was still 9th, 32 seconds back. She flew around the last loop, passing three rivals including Anastasiya Kuzmina who she was battling for the Crystal Globe to cross just 17.4 seconds behind the winner Domracheva. Makarainen won the Globe by a mere 3 points.
Kaisa Makarainen 2015 IBU WCH Kontiolahti 15 km Individual vs. Laura Dahlmeier 2016 Nove Mesto Na Morave Mass Start
Kaisa vs. Laura. Enough said. Let the show begin!
🇫🇮 @kmakarainen had one goal at home WCH in @KlahtiBiathlon: winning one medal. But with 2 misses and 3km to go, she did something exception in the Individual closing the gap stride-by-stride until collapsing in the snow at the finish winning 🥉#biathlonBestComeback pic.twitter.com/cOmqPNy6sw— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) May 6, 2020
Makarainen overcame two one-minute penalties to win the 15 km individual Bronze medal in her Kontiolahti home stadium at the 2015 IBU World Championships. The Finn’s one goal for these Championships had been to win at least one medal. She started well with a fast first loop and a clean prone stage. The first standing netted a penalty and a drop to 6th, 56 seconds back. The second prone added another penalty minute, but she was flying around the familiar tracks; the deficit was “just” 1:47. A perfect last standing dropped the time to 1:10 setting up the dramatic finish. With three kilometers to go, Makarainen was inspired, closing the gap stride-by-stride until collapsing in the snow at the finish, 24.4 seconds behind Gold medalist Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht. Kaisa had her precious medal! “I did my job today and was happy to have a good day in the World Championships!”
🇩🇪Dahlmeier, usually reliable in prone, missed twice in the opening range of NMNM16 mass start, dropping to 23rd, 51 seconds back. From that point, the yellow bib shot perfectly to make a roaring assault to the podium, finishing in 2nd place#biathlonBestComeback pic.twitter.com/jqgoBhRmGg— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) May 6, 2020
Dahlmeier finished second in the 2016 NMNM women’s mass start, closing fast after two first-stage prone penalties almost derailed her day. Snow conditions shorted the course to 12 km, changing the loops to a 4 km double first loop and 2 km thereafter. The long first loop left Dahlmeier out of sorts; usually reliable in prone, she missed twice, dropping to 23rd, 51 seconds back. From that point, the German star shot perfectly moving steadily to 19th, 12th, and then 5th, 21 seconds back after cleaning the last standing stage. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Dorothea Wierer and Vanessa Hinz and Gabriela Koukalová were all ahead of the Yellow Bib. with the Czech star in control; Dahlmeier began flying in an attempt to get to the podium. With 500 meters to go, Koukalová’s lead was seven seconds; Dahlmeier eventually got to within 3.1 seconds. “After the last shooting I thought the podium was still possible and I started catching one after the other. My skis were perfect; that was the key to this second place.”
Photo: IBU/Rene Miko