Short Stories

Biathlon - when endurance and sharpshooting come together

The WWMG 2020 continued yesterday in Seefeld. In the biathlon competitions, more than 200 athletes met for a fair fight against each other and against themselves. The weather was brilliant and the trails were perfectly prepared. Many fans gathered around the shooting range.

A colorful field of biathletes from all around the world started at 10 AM. The Australian Friedl Bartsch, born in 1957, started number 23. His mother came from Scotland; his father immigrated from Germany but died when Friedl was still very young. He fondly recalls how his father told him about skiing: “As a little boy, I wanted to come here to ski. I've been doing biathlon since I was 56. Before I did some cross-country skiing and I also did shooting, but I never combined both. At the age of 56, my wife Gloria said to me: "Friedl, motorcycling is too dangerous for you.  I'll buy you a biathlon rifle". Five years ago I was at the WWMG in Quebec and had so much fun that I definitely had to be in Innsbruck / Seefeld to start again. I am retired, previously worked in nuclear research, my current job is to look after my wife. We live 80 km south of Sydney. If I want to ski, I have to go to the Snowy Mountains which takes me six hours. I usually train on roller skis on the bike lanes along the coast. I am very happy with my performance here, but now we have to fly back to Australia quickly because we will become soon grandparents.”

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Friedl Bartsch (Australia)

One of the youngest participants is the South Tyrolean Stephan Zippl, born in 1988. After already winning in the long distance, he also got the gold medal in the 6 km race yesterday. He is a father of two children and works as a chef in a hotel in South Tyrol. He trains four to five times a week, but has to drive around 1.5 hours to Antholz to practice shooting. He has only had his own rifle for a year. Stephan Zippl also plays ice hockey and goes cycling in summer. As a junior, he was with the U23 elite team and wanted to become a professional cyclist. "I chose to stay clean – and not to make to a professional level", said Zippl.

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The shining weather as well as highly-motivated volunteers contribute to the success of the WWMG 2020.

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Photos © Volunteer Team Tirol

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