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Biathlon Season Recap: North American Women

I wrote this a while back, intending to pen similar posts for the men, but never got around to it, mainly because I’ve been working on other stuff (Statistical Skier related, but different…). But since I made the graphs, I thought I’d share them even if I never get around to the men’s post…

Let’s take a quick look at some graphical summaries of how the North American women fared this season on the WC scene:

Percent behind the median skier I’m sure it still kind of a weird way to think about things, particularly for biathlon which doesn’t use percent back based point systems as heavily as cross-country. All you have to know is that lower is better, and zero is roughly pegged at the level of the “median” WC level racer.

Obviously, the Canadian and US women’s biathlon teams are not powerhouses, so most of their results tend to fall behind the median skier, between 0 and 2. The Canadian women saw a burst of stronger results between 2004 and 2007, but with the exception of Zina Kocher’s 2009-2010 campaign they haven’t been able to quite sustain that. The last time the US women had as may “above average” results as they did this season was thanks to Rachel Steer’s results back in 2004-2005.

The main stories last season, I think, were the US seeing an increased number of good performances (in the 0 to -1 range) and the Canadians seeing quite a bit fewer.

On the Canadian side, this is basically the result of a single skier, Zina Kocher, having a rough year:

I don’t know much about her (still trying to educate myself on the biathlon front), but clearly her shooting didn’t go so well this season.

For the Americans, of course, we had some strong results from the relative youngsters Laura Spector and Sara Studebaker:

Spector had some strong races, but appears to have been somewhat less consistent than Studebaker, who also shot considerably better. In fact, I could only find around 19 women with at least 100 shots who shot more accurately than Studebaker last season. Of course, there’s also the question of how fast you shoot, and I haven’t been able to collect data on that, so this picture is incomplete.


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