- First of all, I’d like to note that for the first time in the history of biathlon as many as 11 countries, 11 teams has won medals at the World Championships.
It started with a mixed relay with 26 strongest teams participating. The mixed race results prove that our decision to include this discipline in the Olympic program 2014 was absolutely right. Personally, I’m very optimistic because the Sochi representatives have also supported our initiative. The decision whether it will be included in the Olympic program or not will be taken by IOC executive board at their meeting in April, London.
I regret that we didn’t have a higher number of spectators at the stadium at the beginning of the Championship. Also I’d like to see more people at the town square where the award ceremony took place in the evening. I think these fantastic athletes deserved to have a bigger crowd at the ceremony.
I’d like to inform you that some of the root changes were made at the Congress in St-Petersburg last September. We’re now able to reduce the start field in World Cups from 130-140 athletes down to approximately 90 athletes which means we’re having a higher quality at the World Cups and offer our athletes fair and equal conditions.
And I’m also very pleased to see that we haven’t had so called post-Olympic drop in the interest for the biathlon sport no matter if we’re speaking about spectators at stadiums around the world or TV ratings.
Throughout the season, athletes have been competing under extremely varying conditions from extreme cold to rainy weather. But the very best were able to win. And I must say I’m very happy to see that so many young athletes are now challenging the so-called established athletes, some of the youngest athletes are now leading the World Cups and have also been picking most of the medals at this Championship.
The athletes themselves elected the Athletes committee and the new members of this committee are Daria Domracheva from Belarus, Olga Zaitseva from Russia, Christoph Sumann from Austria and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen from Norway.
The next season we’ll visit two new places with our World Cup, the first one is Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France, and the second is Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.