– Directly destructive – VG

– Directly destructive – VG
– Directly destructive – VG

BEST IN THE WORLD: Tiril Eckhoff (left) and Johannes Thingnes Bø won the World Cup together and took home the big glass ball during the end of the season in Östersund. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT

Tiril Eckhoff, Johannes Thingnes Bø and the Norwegian biathletes have left behind the best Norwegian biathlon season ever. – The Norwegian dominance is directly destructive to the sport, says Jacob Lund.

Published:Less than 40 minutes ago

The Norwegian biathletes had a fantastic season. When the last shot fell at the joint start in Östersund on March 21 this year, the best season in history was a fact.

Jacob Lund is a former sponsor manager at DNB. He has for decades been close to the sport of biathlon and has been involved during negotiations on TV rights. Now he’s worried.

– I have long been critical of cross-country skiing and Norwegian dominance. Now the same thing is happening in biathlon. The economic inequality will “kill” not only cross-country skiing, but also biathlon in the long run, Lund believes and aims for the resources Norway can use on lubrication trailers, lubrication teams and support apparatus.

He believes the market value of biathlon will decline significantly and also the willingness to pay when it comes to negotiating TV rights again. And it does not get better when the largest nations such as Russia and Germany do not perform.

– If the sport does not become more exciting, I think you will have to struggle to keep biathlon on the big channels. There have been good TV numbers in Germany this winter, but as they deliver, it is only a matter of time before the interest disappears. The interest in Austria and Switzerland is zero, so there is some interest in the Czech Republic due to the World Cup races in Nove Mesto, says Jacob Lund.

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He is very impressed by what the Norwegian biathletes have delivered.

– There is an impressive level on the Norwegian biathlon teams, but there will be “too much” Norway on the results lists. I fear the same can happen in jumps where Japan and Poland keep the viewership up.

National team manager in the Norwegian Biathlon Association, Per-Arne Botnan, does not agree that the Norwegians have become too sovereign and relies on statistics for the last 20 years.

– If it happens like that over time, it can happen. This goes a bit in waves so I do not think there is any danger of it now. We have put behind us our best season ever, but it has not always been like that, Botnan says to VG.

– The results have varied both in terms of number of victories, podium places and top 6 places. Although it has been very good the last two seasons, you have to see the results over several years to say that it is a trend. We have to give it a few more years before we start to worry about dominance, says the boss of the good times.

The statistics this season show that Norwegian biathletes won 32 of 52 World Cup races, over 61 percent. In 2nd and 3rd place were Norwegians in 36.5 and 34.7 percent of all races.

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Norwegian biathletes were on the podium 69 times in the season’s total of 52 World Cup races for women and men.

And six of 18 relays were won by Norway. Tiril Eckhoff and Johannes Thingnes Bø won the World Cup together. The two best runners on the women’s side were Norwegian, four of the top five in the World Cup on the men’s side as well.

The only ones who have caused some trouble for the Norwegians are France on the men’s side and Germany and Sweden on the women’s side.

Germany’s boss, Arnd Peiffer, finished in 12th place in the World Cup overall – and has put up. The other Germans were only once on the podium individually this season.

– It is important that the Central European nations, especially Germany, are at the top. If you look at sponsors and advertising in biathlon, there are many German players represented, says Botnan, who hopes the Germans will rise and that Russia will be more visible again.

No one should doubt Norway’s ambitions when entering an Olympic season this winter.

– We will get better. We always have those ambitions. All runners have things they can improve on, and we must develop further. Everyone can shoot better and faster, dispose of barrels better. It would be completely wrong if we do not have the goal of getting better, says Per-Arne Botnan.

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