Bjørndalen elected Biathlon Athlete of the year
OSLO, May 18, 2009 – AIPS Nordic Ski and Biathlon Commission announce Best Press Facilities and Stars of 2009. 35-year-old Ole Einar Bjørndalen outclassed 20-year-old star of the future Gregor Schlierenzauer with 182 votes to become the 2009 Biathlon King.
In the biathlon section of the election Norwegian Bjørndalen, who won four World Championship gold medals and topped the Biathlon World Cup for the sixth time, received an impressive 587 votes from AIPS specialist ski journalists.
Austrian wonder boy Schierenszauer received 405 votes for his 12 victories and 2083 World Cup points in ski jumping and the overall World Cup victory far ahead of Swiss master Simon Amman on 1776. Youngster Gregor also brought his team to a Worlds gold medal, but had to make do with silver and a fourth place for individual championship results.
It is of course not right to compare the different votes in two different elections, but the incredible number of votes for “Mr Biathlon” firmly underlines another outstanding season for the veteran who reached a record-breaking 89 World Cup victories to beat the legendary Ingemar Stenmark’s historic 86 World Cup standings.
Bjørndalen who lives in Obertillach, Austria to be near his Italian wife Nathalie Santer of Toblach, still has an enourmous hunger for success and is busy preparing for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in nine month’s time. So far Bjørndalen has won five Olympic gold medals, three silver and one bronze medal, while his Worlds record is 14 gold, 10 silver and nine bronze.
All together Bjørndalen has entered the podium 42 times in Olympic and World Championships, plus 153 podium appearances in the World Cup.
The young Gregor now has lot of work to do in order to get closer to the “old man’s” record. It might be even harder, with a determined Bjørndalen still not denying he will stick it out and compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
But after all, previous results may not mean much ahead of the upcoming season, when the Vancouver competitions will be the main goal for every athlete, whether experienced and seasoned stars, or newcomers.