Sochi – Predictions turned Gold!

In his blog, Passionate about … Olympic Biathlon, Ian Woods, director of Onesimus and our in-house Team GB coach made some pin-point predictions about which athletes we should be watching closely during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Your predictions for the Biathlon Gold Medals were spot on. Are you surprised?

Well, I’m not surprised that Norway’s Svendsen and France’s Martin Fourcade both became Olympic champions in Sochi, though it wasn’t looking good for Svendsen in the first week. He really had to dig deep to take the Gold in the Mass Start race, just beating Fourcade in a stunning photo finish. I am surprised that they both won two Gold medals each and to be honest I was surprised that Bjoerndalen also won two Gold medals. 

What were your highlights?

Bjoerndalen competing in Sochi
Bjoerndalen competing in Sochi

Bjoerndalen winning the Sprint was incredible, then going on to win again as part of the mixed relay team propelled him into superstar status as the most successful winter Olympian of all time. To do this in an endurance sport is truly astonishing, but Bjoerndalen is the consummate professional; he pays attention to every tiny detail with meticulous planning in every training session and every race. It was nice to note that Tirill Eckhoff, part of the Norwegian Gold medal winning mixed relay team, was only 3 when Bjoerndalen competed in his first Olympics!

What else stood out for you?

I guess we all know about the British performances. Hats off to Team GB for returning with 4 medals especially Lizzy Yarnold our Olympic Champion.

Legkov after the 50 km
Legkov after the 50 km

The other highlight for me was Alexander Legkov winning the 50km cross-country race on the very last day in front of his home crowd. Unlike Bjorndalen, Legkov is the relentless Russian ‘machine’ who never stops – a product of the most brutal training system imaginable.

Most people cannot comprehend how hard this man trains and how demanding the Russian system is. To use Daniel Coyle’s illustration, take a bunch of eggs, throw them against a wall, and see which ones break. Legkov is the egg that cannot be broken. But in spite of this formidable persona he’s loved by the Russian people for all the right reasons; he’s a true gentleman, a very proud Russian and, occasionally, a bit of a clown who refuses to take himself too seriously.

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