Neuner Does It Again

As far as I can tell, Magdalena Neuner leads all currently active female biathletes in victories in major international races. Granted, she’s been racing longer than many of the current top women, but still. (Update: As pointed out to me in the comments, that isn’t exactly the case. All I meant to say was that I hadn’t adjusted the counts for number of races or number of seasons. My bad.) By my count, Neuner has 25 24 wins, Andrea Henkel has 20 and then you have to go to Helena Ekholm with only 13 wins. And check out her standing shooting in the following graph:

Yikes. She really doesn’t shoot well standing, although it’s dramatically improved over the last several years. Can you imagine what sort of crazy, Frankenstein-ish super biathlete you’d get if you could combine Neuner’s skiing with Helena Ekholm’s shooting?

In any case, this race seemed fairly close, all things considered, in that the field wasn’t too spread out. How about the top few men:

Birnbacher and Ferry gapped the field a bit, but not by a huge amount. Birnbacher’s typical race (blue line) has definitely improved over the past two seasons; Ferry’s has improved slightly this season, but is notable for how consistent he’s been for five seasons now. Alexander Wolf had a great race for a season that’s been another in a sequence of steadily slipping performances. It appears that his standing shooting has slipped as well. The other two folks in the top five are relative youngsters.

Related posts:

  1. Career Retrospective: Kati Wilhelm
  2. Progress In Women’s Biathlon Shooting
  3. Some Impressive Performances At WBC
  4. WBC Men’s Sprint Recap
  5. WBC Women’s Sprint Recap

About Joran


8 Responses to “Neuner Does It Again”
  1. Tony Rossini says:

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. This is Neuner’s 5th full season in Biathlon athlete. She’s only 24 yrs old and has already 24 WC victories, 10 World Championship Golds which is a record for a female biathlete (tied with Elena Golovina whose Golds were mainly from relays) and 2 Olympic Gold Medals from her one appearance. (Vancouver)

    She is has every chance of eclipsing Magdalena Forsberg (SWE) 42 World Cup wins, who retired at the age of 35 !!

    Neuner has already won 7 Discipline crystal globes and won the overall World Cup twice…..she could win it a 3rd time this weekend, which would make it 3 out of her first 5 full seasons.

    Her shooting, especially the Stand Shoot has been pretty average over the years and lost her a number of other victories, however she has greatly improved this year. Her main asset is her ski speed, no one can touch in terms of skiing as she’s able to make up large deficits from her missed shots. If she improves her shooting into the 80+ %, she’ll be virtually untouchable in the next few seasons.

    Her career shooting statistics – Prone position 88% and Standing position 67%……however this year she has improved her Standing to 75%. Like i said if she gets that into the 80’s % with the Standing Shoot…’s game over for the others. Her sking is phenomenal

    • Joran says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Not sure if you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me here. You’re right I miscounted slightly and she has 24 wins (I only bother with individual races) not 25. But other than that, you seem to be saying exactly what I was saying: Neuner is absurdly good and the only thing that’s been preventing her from dominating even more is her standing shooting, which as I noted has dramatically improved recently.

  2. Tony Rossini says:

    There are only 4 female biathletes that are near to Neuner’s skiing speed….they are Miriam Gössner & Anastasia Kuzmina who i’d place jointly 2nd fastest….on a good day either of these two can be faster than Neuner.
    Miriam Gössner (20 yrs old) already got a Silver medal in Cross Country relay team, in fact it was her leg that was decisive and enabled Germany to win the Silver medal behind Norway. If Miriam can learn to shoot better…she’ll be a real threat to Neuner. She has age on her side .only 20!

    Anastasia Kuzmina is 26 yrs old, super fast skier….but also inconsistent like Gossner on the shooting range. I don’t see her as a major force in future years, as she has switched from Russia to Slovakia…and their service team is just not as good as the “big 3”. Having the right waxed skis on any given day is very important.

    Kaisa Mäkäräinen (28 yrs old) will be one of Neuner’s chief rivals over the next 2-3 years….she’s also a great skier, just a tad slower than the 3 mentioned above. E.g in 7.5km Sprint race I would estimate her to be 10-15 secs slower than Neuner on skis. Her shooting is very good….which makes her a good candiate to win major medals and WC races.

    Last, but not least is Tora Berger (30 yrs old)…also a fast skier, but a bit inconsistent in the shooting range. She’s probably the slowest out of the 5 mentioned. e.g in a 7.5km Sprint race, she’d probably be 20-25 secs slower than Neuner on the skis.

    The main players for the next 2-3 years for the overall World Cup are Magdalena Neuner, Tora Berger & Kaisa Mäkäräinen. Kuzmina is ageing and only a few years left in terms of her ski speeds….and Gossner really needs to learn to shoot much better.

    Dark horses for 2011/2 World Cup are Helena Ekholm (great shooter but not so fast skier), Andrea Henkel who s beginning to age but still very consistent…… and Darya Damrachova (Belarus)….she’s up and coming and pretty fast skier and not bad at shooting.

  3. Tony Rossini says:

    My quote “You don’t know what you’re talking about. “….refers to your opening paragraph which contained this sentence “Granted, she’s been racing longer than many of the current top women, but stil.” ….which gave a false impression,

    Neuner relatively speaking is not that experienced in terms of years as Biathlete….this is her only her 5th full season. You have to bear in mind she’s only 24……it’s generally regarded that 27-28 are the peak performance years in Biathlon.

    Take a look at her main rivals :

    Andrea Henkel (33) – 13th season
    Tore Berger (30) – 8th season
    Kaisa Mäkäräinen (28) -7th season
    Anastasia Kuzmina (26) – also 5th season
    Helena Ekholm (26) – 6th season

    in my opinion Magdalena Neuner is a once in a generation dominant type Biathlete….much like Ole Bjorndalen is and was in the Mens category

    • Joran says:

      Aha! The perils blogging. That was lazy of me. I intended to simply qualify those counts by pointing out that I hadn’t adjusted for the number of races or seasons, so I should have said something more like “she MAY have been racing longer than SOME of the current top women”, since I didn’t know for sure and obviously didn’t check. But as I said, I wrote it in a hurry and was lazy. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Tony Rossini says:

        Well, as you can see from the info provided, shes’ indeed the youngest out of all the main contenders with the least number of WC full seasons under her belts……that’s what make her accomplishments all the more astounding.

        You can add Anna Carin Zidek (Olofsson) 37yr old, Olga Zaitseva (32 yrs- about to retire) and Svetlana Sleptsova (34 yrs) as other current successful Biathletes at WC, World Championships & Olympic Games.

        Neuner trumps them all….even at this early stage.

        • xcskier22 says:

          LOL. Sleptsova is 24, not 34! That may be a typo. She isn’t on Neuner’s level by any stretch, but she is a steady shooter that has won wc races. Her problem is mental stability and not over doing it. She had a miserable season this year, and that mixed relay in Khanty-Mansisk was a total disaster. It was the right move by the coaches to not give her more starts, because the chances of her recovering was about zero, imo, and if she continued with that horrible streak, it could have really impacted her psychologically. I think she will be a darkhorse, probably right after the top 5 you mentioned, as she is easily a top ten skier and equally good on the range. She is kind of like the Legkov of woman’s biathlon. She gives it 200% every race, but she can also blow up. In terms of other young talents, well, Russia and Germany always have the talent and especially the number, so they will have somebody breaking through next year, I am sure of that. The one disappointment is NA biathletes. There aren’t too many up and comers from our continent, but hopefully that will change, sooner rather later!

  4. Tony Rossini says:

    There’s also no one coming up in the IBU Cup (2nd Tier where Biathletes graduate from into the World Cup) to effect the World Cup for next 2 or 3 years.
    I thought maybe Juliane Döll (GER) or Gabriela Soukalova (CZE) would be the new young breed of fast skiers……but there are positively pedestrian compared to the 5 i mentioned earlier. They took part in yesterday’s WC Sprint race

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