Just run and shoot – sport

Just run and shoot – sport

The ski and biathlon associations face major challenges if they don’t want to disappear from the scene. In Oberhof, nature is exceptionally kind to the biathletes. At the same time, they have to deal with being critically questioned.

There were plenty of occasions this winter to discuss the difficult circumstances and environmental pollution during the sporting competitions. With the Alpines, the ski jumpers and in the biathlon the topic of artificial snow sometimes came to the fore to such an extent that the sport almost disappeared behind it. In Oberhof, where a biathlon world championship begins on Wednesday, there is now a legitimate reason to put a fair amount of Thuringian natural snow into the picture.

Meteorological luck overtook the organizers there. They even had to clear the snow from the stadium, too much of it had fallen from the sky. On the day before the first competition, Oberhof, the location of the World Championships, shone snow-white in the sun. According to the forecast, tens of thousands will experience real winter romance, at least in the first few days of these two weeks in Oberhof, which has been remarkably rarely seen this year. And the protagonists of this winter duel will think: Yes, finally. No questions about the compatibility of her job with nature and the energy crisis. Just run and shoot.

In spite of the lack of snow, keen cross-country skiers set out a route down into the valley in Ruhpolding

It was often different in this advanced season, and sometimes the athletes didn’t even get to justify themselves for their industry. For example, when the Kandahar ski races in Garmisch recently had to be canceled – due to a lack of snow. Or when the ski jumpers landed on green plastic mats for the first time in a Winter World Cup in Wisla, Poland, at the start of the season. And finally the pictures from Ruhpolding, where it felt like spring at times – and diligent trail builders conjured up an artificial snow trail in the Ruhpolding valley despite the absolute lack of snow.

So this winter sports season shows – possibly more impressively than ever – that the world ski and biathlon associations Fis and IBU are facing major tasks. They will naturally have their self-preservation in mind – and yet they will have to deal with being critically questioned. Just like footballers will have to put up with questions when they play in countries like Qatar or advertise it on their jersey.

Can Thuringia’s Vanessa Voigt withstand the pressure at her home World Cup? Against this backdrop, will the German men possibly succeed in beating the seemingly invincible Norwegians? Will the fans break the 2012 Ruhpolding World Cup attendance record? Such questions should be the top priority in sport. But it can’t always. It is possible that athletes working in Germany are generally more closely scrutinized than elsewhere when it comes to such issues. And yet the moments will remain when it is simply a matter of who hits how many targets with a small-caliber rifle – or with a ball in the goal. In Oberhof, at the biathlon, it looks like there could be a lot of such moments in the next two weeks.

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