Forsberg, Soukalova and Poiree inducted into the IBU Hall of Fame

Biathlon stars Magdalena Forsberg (SWE), Raphael Poiree (FRA) and Gabriela Soukalova (CZE) were inducted into the IBU Hall of Fame at a special awards ceremony hosted ahead of the final competition weekend at the BMW IBU World Championships Biathlon Nove Mesto 2024.

The three athletes were chosen by the IBU Executive Board in recognition of their outstanding biathlon careers and significant contributions to the sport. Between them, the three inductees have 11 Total Score wins, 103 World Cup individual victories, 35 medals at the World Championships and 8 Olympic medals. They all played a vital role in popularising biathlon in their countries and worldwide.

Sweden’s Magdalena Forsberg won six consecutive Total Score titles between the seasons 1996/1997 and 2001/2002, a women’s record that stands to this day. She achieved 36 individual World Cup wins and collected six gold medals at the World Championships and two 2 Olympic bronze medals before retiring in 2002.

France’s Raphael Poiree has 38 individual wins in the World Cup to his name and won a silver medal in the Pursuit and two bronze medals in the Relay at the Olympic Winter Games. Poiree won six gold medals at the World Championships, three of those in the Mass start, where his famous rapid-firing technique gave him an advantage over the competition, at times over fellow Hall of Fame member, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, his greatest rival whom he shared a podium with 23 times. Poiree retired at the end of the 2006/2007.

Czechia’s Gabriela Soukalova won 19 competitions in the World Cup, three medals - including silver in the Mass Start - at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, and six total medals at the IBU World Championships, including a Sprint gold in Hochfilzen 2017. Winner of the IBU World Cup Total Score title for the 2015/2016 season she also helped win the Czech Mixed relay a landmark bronze medal at the BMW IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave 2013. She officially retired in the spring of 2019.

Header iconHall of Fame 2024

"It's a great honour to be inducted into the IBU Hall of Fame. That was nothing I could have predicted in the first days of 1994. I remember the first race wasn't close to the Hall of Fame cause I remember when I approached the shooting range for the last standing shooting and the coaches shouted: "Shoot fast cause you won't hit." I didn't listen to those guys standing by the tracks - but one I listened to every day for seven years, and I still listen to is Wolfgang Pichler." (Magdalena FORSBERG)

"I lived in a small place, 300 people - I didn't even know biathlon, so I said, OK I will try. It was so great, especially the shooting, as it mirrors yourself. I had one trainer who was with me all the time - one day, he stopped me, looked me in the eyes, and said: "One day, you'll be a World Champion!" He gave me a dream. I learned a lot from my great friend and rival, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen: he was the first biathlete who professionally approached biathlon. Since he was faster on the skis, I sped up my shooting with the help of Jean-Pierre Amat. We did a small revolution." (Raphael POIREE)

I'm honoured to stand here next to the other biathlon legends - I have to admit I didn't expect something like this so early after the end of my career. I'm very glad for this because I couldn't end my career as I always wanted because of health issues, so today is such a great closing of my sport chapter I'm happy for all the nice moments from my athlete life. That was such a perfect feeling to stay many times at the podium after the races. On the other hand, I appreciate maybe much more all the mistakes I did and all the moments when I wasn't able to stay at the podium. Because it was these moments, that made me better and stronger. (Gabriela SOUKALOVA)

Photo: C. Manzoni / IBU

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