Who is in top shape going into the Winter Olympics which start in less than two weeks? A lot of favorites skipped some races recently, still the January results probably give a better indication of current form than the races in December.
Note: The scores are standard scores (or z-scores), indicating how many standard deviations (SD) an athlete is back from the World Cup mean (negative values indicate performances better than the mean). The Total Performance Score is calculated by approximating the importance of skiing, hit rate and shooting pace using the method of least squares (for more details, see here and here), and then weighting each z-score value accordingly.
2021–22 z-Scores in January | Non-Team events
2021–22 z-Scores in January | Non-Team events
Men’s individual/non-team wins in World Cup level races by age. Biathlon World Cup, World Championships, Olympics – Women (1958 – 2021).
Women’s individual/non-team wins in World Cup level races by age (in y – years and d – days).
Biathlon World Cup, World Championships, Olympics – Women (1984- 2021).
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 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