The website already offered data for single races of below World Cup level events (IBU Cups, European Championships, IBU Junior Cups, Youth/Junior World Championships). Now you can also search for aggregated shooting and skiing data of IBU Cup seasons or junior level seasons, as well as updated athlete data, which includes all lower level IBU events.
The athletes, teams, races and seasons pages have been updated with a “Level” selection (sidebar) that allows you to switch between categories (competition levels: World Cup level, IBU Cup level, Junior level). For example: junior level races of last season.
The real biathlon database now includes the same seasonal data for IBU Cup seasons and junior seasons as it’s already available for all World Cup seasons. Below I listed the men’s performance scores for the 2020–21 IBU Cup. Interestingly, the scores for top IBU Cup athletes seem to be much closer to the mean (roughly one standard deviation better) than your average World Cup winner (-1.2 to -1.4) at the top international level.
Top overall performance scores | 2020–21 IBU Cup Men
The new data also allows you to compare athletes at different competition levels. Below you can see a comparison of junior level race results for Dzinara Alimbekava and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. Even though Tandrevold was by far the better junior (winning 5 individual youth/junior world championship medals), Alimbekava took last season’s first ever Under-25 score (blue bib), beating Tandrevold by 27 points.
Other useful additions include tables for Youth/Junior World Championships medals for all athletes, the possibility to compare season data for athletes at different levels (who is shooting better/worse at World Cup level?) and complete results lists (particularly useful for athletes that often change between World Cup and lower levels),
I have been experimenting with bar chart races lately. I think it’s an interesting visualization that gives a unique historical perspective that you don’t get by simply looking up records.
Here is one of my first attempts, non-team victories in men’s World Cup level races (Biathlon World Cup, World Championships, Olympics) from 1958- 2021. I hope you like it.
I have been working on a new feature that allows to search the real biathlon database for all-time records, seasonal data/records or specific data subsets. You can search three separate categories: among all single races, aggregated seasonal data, and career statistics. I implemented a new web interface available in the Patreon section for more complex database searches that allows combined queries for multiple values/ranges.
Below are a few examples of possible queries:
Since 2001–02, there have been only 3 races in which an athlete topped all major stats (rank, ski rank, hit rate, shooting time): all these “perfect” races where done by Ole Einar Bjørndalen between 2001 and 2005. There hasn’t been a single race like this on the women’s side.
“Perfect” races, all time
|2||Bjoerndalen||Ole Einar||NOR||2004-12-11||WC||Oslo Holmenkollen||SP||1||1||100||1|
Who was the fastest skier ever? That’s difficult to answer, because results will always differ depending on your criteria. But the list of the top female skiers (per season) in terms of percent back from top 10 median isn’t a bad benchmark.
Kaisa Mäkäräinen, Magdalena Neuner and Darya Domracheva had 3 seasons each skiing at least 1.6% faster than the top 10 median. Interestingly, all seasons are from at least 6 years ago. Either the depth of the women’s field has increased a lot in just a couple of years, or there aren’t as many all-time great skiers in today’s field.
Fastest skiers (top 10 median back) | Women’s seasons
Below are the fastest female shooters – average of all career shooting times (at least 10 races). Unsurprisingly, that list is dominated by current athletes, as shooting speed have increased considerably over the last decade. Julia Simon tops this ranking with a average 25.5s shooting time in her 80 career races to date.
Fastest shooters (below 27 sec) | Women’s career data
The off-season has been the perfect opportunity to update the real biathlon database with race data of IBU Cup and Youth/Junior level events of the last two decades. You can now look up all second/third tier race results and statistics that are available in the IBU Datacenter on this website’s race pages – use the “Level” selection to change from “World” to “IBU” and “Y/J” level.
Almost all races since 2001–02 have detailed Loop Times (Course Times, Shooting Times, Range Times, etc.) which are available thanks to the IBU “Competition Analysis” PDF documents. Races since 2016–17 also include split times and target images/shot intervals. Patrons can access all race data through their MongoDB Atlas database access.
The chart shows how the number of World Cup level races evolved over time. From 1958 to 1977 the highest level consisted of mainly World Championship and Olympic races (1-3 per season). The first World Cup season in 1977–78 had a total of 15 events. That number rose to 43 in 1989–90 and 64 per season in 1999–00. Last winter set a new record with a total of 70 events.
Unfortunately, the data for IBU Cups and Junior World Championships is still incomplete. A second-tier competition, then called European Cup, has been held since 1982–83, however, the IBU data only goes back as far as 1998–99; detailed race results before that might be lost.
Junior World Championships exist since 1967, however, the earliest edition with IBU data is the 1997 event in Forni Avoltri (ITA). A detailed list of junior medals winners is available on the German Wikipedia (that page doesn’t cite any sources though).
In total, the real biathlon database currently holds information of 3904 races:
|Level 1 (World Cup)||2187||1276||245|
|Level 2 (IBU Cup)||1235||1063||206|
|Level 3 (Youth/Junior)||482||391||117|
The next step will be to integrate this new data into all tables and data available on this website, starting with the Athletes data. Right now, you will find nothing if you click on a name of an athlete who has never appeared in a World Cup race. This will probably still take some time, because the overall data size doubled with these new race files and there is no point doing this hastily – it has to be implemented somewhat efficiently in order to quickly update all data after each new race during the season.
With the season behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to summarize the updates and new features I added to the website over the last 2-3 months. Most of them are a little hidden and not everyone will immediately see them or even be aware they are available. It’s probably useful to give a quick overview.
I added histograms for all athlete and team pages (which previously only had line chart or box plot visualizations). I think it’s an interesting addition, particularly for shooting percentages, or to give a better overview of shooting pace and skiing speed distributions. Just like line charts, you can directly compare two athletes.
A histogram is an approximate representation of the distribution of numerical data. In a histogram, each bar groups numbers into ranges. Taller bars show that more data falls in that range. A histogram displays the shape and spread of continuous sample data.
Ski Speed per Loop
Some athletes seem to get faster over the course of a race, while others appear to tire more quickly than the field. To quantify this a little better and find out who has particularly strong final laps, I calculated the ski speed (back from top 30 median) for each of the 3/5 ski loops. You can visualize them either as box plots or line charts (for overall career, per season, per discipline, etc).
For all races, you can now compare two athletes directly. All time data (course times, shooting times, range times, etc.) is visualized through a diverging bar chart, while some other data (shooting intervals, hits/misses) are shown side by side in a table.
All race pages (since 2010–11) now have direct links to the Eurovision Sports website which hosts the official IBU videos. If available, the links usual include race replay, press conference, highlights and zeroing. For Olympic races, I linked videos from Olympic.org.
Bonus content for patrons
- New data set of World Cup prize money: For all seasons since 2003–04, as well as cumulative all-time biathlon prize money data (since 2004).
- Improved Comparison page: You can now compare stats not only season-to-season, but also by World Cup trimesters within a season. For example: This season’s ski speed changes January to March
- Stats for each World Cup venue: You can look up all podium finishers, shooting results, shooting times and skiing stats for each World Cup location. I also added weather info for each race. Most data can be visualized.