The IBU tonight hosted the inaugural Hall of Fame Awards Dinner as biathlon legends Andrea Henkel, Kati Wilhelm, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Sven Fischer became the first inductees to be honoured.
The special awards ceremony was hosted on the side-lines of the Oberhof 2023 BMW IBU World Championships Biathlon. The four inductees were selected by the IBU Executive Board based on their exceptional performances and achievements over their careers.
The four stars collected a staggering 17 Olympic gold medals, 40 World Championships titles, 221 World Cup wins, and 10 Total Score victories between them.
IBU President Olle Dahlin said:
“We are very proud to announce the first four inductees into the IBU Hall of Fame. All four athletes are hugely deserving of this recognition for their incredible achievements and the extraordinary contributions they made to biathlon during their careers. They inspired us with their performances and set the benchmark for countless athletes to follow in their footsteps.”
Germany’s Andrea Henkel won four Olympic medals, including two golds, during her career and was the first biathlete to become a world champion in every individual event. She won eight World Championship gold medals, and 16 in total, and had 36 World Cup victories to her name before she retired at the end of the 2013/14 season.
German compatriot, Kati Wilhelm famously became the most decorated female biathlete at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Another gold in Turin in 2006 made her the most successful female biathlete ever at that time. During her career, she won 13 World Championships medals, including 5 golds, and claimed 29 World Cup victories.
Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, often referred to as the King of Biathlon, won 13 Olympic medals including eight gold across 5 Olympic Games. His 45 medals at Biathlon World Championships, including 20 golds, make him the most successful biathlete ever at the event and he is tied with Martin Fourcade for the most number of individual gold medals at 11. During his career, he claimed 108 World Cup victories and won 6 total score globes.
Sven Fischer won eight Olympic medals, including four golds, across four Olympic Games. He won 19 World Championship medals, 7 of which were gold, and stood on top of the World Cup podium 48 times. Twice he was awarded the total score globe.
The IBU will hold annual Hall of Fame Award dinners in the future to honour the greatest of their sport. More information on the inductees can be found here.
"The big victory is not to be in the first place, the big victory is to compete together in peace." "Biathlon has taught me and shown me a lot of things and when I travelled around the world, I am so happy that I got a lot of friends doing sports." (Sven FISCHER)
"Especially our generation, Sven, Ole and Andrea witnessed the rapid growth of biathlon, how the interest in the sport grew and grew and the IBU played a big part in this because you made a lot of good decisions, adding exciting competitions and ideas and always gave us as the athletes a voice." "My calling now is to work with the next generation and help them with my experience: I enjoy it so much - and the next time we have a World Championships in Oberhof, I hope to see some of that next generation here from Thuringia at the start line." (Kati WILHELM)
"I want to thank you that I can be with this family since 1992. It's a great future for biathlon. I think we can develop this sport even more and I think we are on the really right way - thank you for this award!" "In our family, both my brother Dag and I were biathletes. I got a little bit of physical talent from my parents but my brother got the shooting talents - I didn't get so much of that. But everything is possible in biathlon when you have good coaches and train hard." (Ole Einar BJOERNDALEN)
"It was surprising to me that I was in one of the first rounds to be inducted in the hall of fame. It's wonderful to meet everyone again and to feel like you are still a part of biathlon even if you are not an athlete anymore." "It was a really great time I had in biathlon, it really formed my life and I would not like to have a life without these biathlon races." (Andrea HENKEL)