Last October, I looked at what kind of shooting and skiing results it usually takes to get on the podium in biathlon World Cup races, both overall and for each of the four disciplines (see podium ingredients for men and women). Now I was curious if those trends had changed at all during the last 12 years. Below, I split the results into four 3-season periods (2001–04. 2004–07, 2007–10, 2010–13, between 73-80 races each) to examine that a bit more closely.
Note: The tables and charts show percentages for World Cup podium finishers for the respective time periods, i.e. how often first, second and third place had a certain number of shooting penalties or a specific course time rank.
The first thing you notice is how stable the charts are, unsurprisingly I suppose (the rules haven’t changed, the World Cup programme is almost the same). For the men, the skiing numbers hardly changed at all, 54.3 % of all podium finishers set a top 5 course time during 2010–13, a decade earlier it was 54.8 %; the top 10 course time rate is virtually identical as well (76.5 % vs. 76.7 %).
What has changed however are the shooting results. For 2001–04, 58.9 % of all podium athletes had 0 or 1 shooting errors. That percentage increased considerably until 2010–13: 65.8 % → 65.8 % → 71.8 %. It seems good shooting is more important than ever in men’s biathlon.
Shooting penalties / Ski ranks for all Podium finishers (non-team races) in % | Men
|Shooting ||penalties||Ski ||rank|
|Men||0||1||2||3||4||> 4||1||2||3||Top3 ||Top5 ||Top10 ||> 10|
|2001–04 ||29.7||29.2 ||21.5 ||10.0||4.1 ||5.5 ||14.6 ||10.0 ||11.9 ||36.5||54.8||76.7||23.3|
In general, the percentages for the women are quite similar, maybe more similar than you would expect (considering men and women compete on different courses). Unlike for the men, the percentage of great shooting for female podium finishers did not increase: during 2001–04 we had 61.2 % with 0 or 1 penalties, 60.3 % for 2010–13.
However, fast skiing is getting more important for the women. The percentage of female athletes with top 5 (50.2 % → 52.9 % → 53.2 % → 62.4 %) or top 10 course times (76.7 % → 78.3 % → 81.8 % → 88.0 %) among all podium athletes increased a lot in the last 12 years.
Shooting penalties / Ski ranks for all Podium finishers (non-team races) in % | Women
|Men||0||1||2||3||4||> 4||1||2||3|| Top3 || Top5 || Top10 || > 10|
|2001–04 ||29.7||29.2 || 21.5 || 10.0|| 4.1 ||5.5 ||14.6 || 10.0 ||11.9 ||36.5||54.8||76.7||23.3|
It seems as if the men’s and women’s competition has developed in slightly different directions. For the men, the importance of good shooting is more significant today than it was 10-12 years ago, while top ski speed has become even more important today on the women’s side.
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