2014 medal projections: Biathlon

Updated Jan. 14; minor updates Jan. 21 and Feb. 5

Will the USA finally break through? How many more targets will Ole Einar Bjoerndalen hit? Will Americans finally watch one of the most dramatic sports in the Games?

Here we go …

INDIVIDUAL (the least telegenic one, in which they race the clock and add 1 minutes for every missed shot)

Men (20k)

Gold: Martin Fourcade (France)
Silver: Dominik Landertinger (Austria)
Bronze: Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)

Also considered: Andreas Birnbacher (Germany), Tim Burke (USA), Bjorn Ferry (Sweden), Jakob Fak (Slovenia), Simon Fourcade (France), Fredrik Lindstrom (Sweden), Ondrej Moravec (Czech Republic),

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far, only two events): Svendsen, Simon Eder (Austria), Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia), Alexey Volkov (Russia), Christian de Lorenzi (Italy), S. Fourcade, M. Fourcade, Daniel Boehm (Germany)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: M. Fourcade, Birnbacher, Burke, Landertinger, Moravec, Ferry, Lindstrom, Lukas Hofer (Italy)

2013 World Championship top 8: M. Fourcade, Burke, Lindstrom, Moravec, Ferry, S. Fourcade, Hofer, Birnbacher

2010 Olympic medalists: Svendsen, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway), Sergey Novikov (Belarus) — the latter two tied for silver at 48 minutes, 32.0 seconds.

Women (15k)

Gold: Tora Berger (Norway)
Silver: Darya Domracheva (Belarus) 
Bronze: Andrea Henkel (Germany)

Also considered: Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia), Kaisa Makarainen (Finland), Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic), Olga Zaitseva (Russia)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Soukalova, Domracheva, Kuzmina, Nadezhka Skardino (Belarus), Franziska Hildebrand (Germany), Marie Laure Brunet (France), Dorothea Wierer (Italy), Valj Semerenko (Ukraine)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Berger, Henkel, Domracheva, Zaitseva, Kuzmina, Makarainen, Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic), Selina Gasparin (Switzerland)

2013 World Championship top 8: Berger, Henkel, Valj Semerenko, Kuzmina, Vita Semerenko (Ukraine), Zaitseva, Ekaterina Glazyrina (Russia), Makarainen

2010 Olympic medalists: Berger, Elena Khrustaleva (Kazakhstan), Domracheva

SPRINT (the quick one that also sets up the pursuit)

Men (10k)

Gold: Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)
Silver: Martin Fourcade (France)
Bronze: Jakov Fak (Slovenia)

Also considered: Andreas Birnbacher (Germany), Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway), Dominik Landertinger (Austria), Dmitry Malyshko (Russia), Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): M. Fourcade, Arnd Peiffer (Germany), Bjoerndalen, Simon Schempp (Germany), Landertinger, Anton Shipulin (Russia), Lukas Hofer (Italy), Svendsen (Fak missed the first two-thirds of the season so far)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: M. Fourcade, Svendsen, Ustyugov, Fak, Simon Eder (Austria), Birnbacher, Landertinger, Malyshko

2013 World Championship top 8: Svendsen, M. Fourcade, Fak, Bjoerndalen, Malyshko, Alexis Boeuf (France), Shipulin, Fredrik Lindstrom (Sweden)

2010 Olympic medalists: Vincent Jay (France; retired), Svendsen, Fak

Women (7.5k)

Gold: Tora Berger (Norway)
Silver: Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
Bronze: Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic)

Also considered: Miriam Goessner (Germany), Andrea Henkel (Germany), Kaisa Makarainen (Finland), Olena Pidhrushna (Ukraine)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Makarainen, Berger, Selina Gasparin (Switzerland), Irina Starykh (Russia, suspended), Domracheva, Veronika Vitkova (Czech Republic), Pidrushna, Anais Bescond (France)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Berger, Domracheva, Goessner, Marie Dorin Habert (France), Makarainen, Soukalova, Henkel, Pidhrushna

2013 World Championship top 8: Pidhrushna, Berger, Vita Semerenko (Ukraine), Olga Zaitseva (Russia), Olga Vilukhina (Russia), Goessner, Krystyna Palka (Poland), Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland (Norway)

2010 Olympic medalists: Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia), Magdalena Neuner (Germany; retired), Marie Dorin (France; not yet Habert)

PURSUIT (the fun one in which they start in order of sprint times; first across the line wins)

Men (12.5k)

Gold: Martin Fourcade (France)
Silver: Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)
Bronze: Anton Shipulin (Russia)

Also considered: Dominik Landertinger (Austria), Fredrik Lindstrom (Sweden), Dmitry Malyshko (Russia), Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia), sprint contenders

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Svendsen, Simon Schempp (Germany), M. Fourcade, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway), Simon Eder (Austria), Shipulin, Landertinger, Johannes Boe (Norway)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: M. Fourcade, Svendsen, Shipulin, Lindstrom, Malyshko, Landertinger, Evgeniy Garanichev (Russia), Ustyugov

2013 World Championship top 8: Svendsen, M. Fourcade, Shipulin, Malyshko, Landertinger, Jakov Fak (Slovenia), Lindstrom, Alexis Boeuf (France)

2010 Olympic medalists: Bjorn Ferry (Sweden), Christoph Sumann (Austria), Vincent Jay (France; retired)

Women (10k)

Gold: Tora Berger (Norway)
Silver: Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic)
Bronze: Valj Semerenko (Ukraine)

Also considered: Darya Domracheva (Belarus), Andrea Henkel (Germany), Kaisa Makarainen (Finland), Olena Pidhrushna (Ukraine)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Makarainen, Berger, Tiril Eckhoff (Norway), Soukalova, Valj Semerenko, Irina Starykh (Russia, suspended), Domracheva, Olga Vilukhina (Russia)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Berger, Henkel, Marie Dorin Habert (France), Pidhrushna, Makarainen, Domracheva, Olga Vilukhina (Russia), Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic)

2013 World Championship top 8: Berger, Krystyna Palka (Poland), Pidhrushna, Olga Zaitseva (Russia), Ekaterina Glazyrina (Russia), Henkel, Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland (Norway), Veronika Vitkova (Czech Republic)

2010 Olympic medalists: Magdalena Neuner (Germany; retired), Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia), Marie-Laure Brunet (France)

MASS START (the crazy one in which all 30 skiers start at once)

Men (15k)

Gold: Martin Fourcade (France)
Silver: Tarjei Boe (Norway)
Bronze: Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)

Also considered: Andreas Birnbacher (Germany), Tim Burke (USA), Jakov Fak (Slovenia), Dominik Landertinger (Austria), Ondrej Moravec (Czech Republic), Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia),

Only one event in World Cup so far

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: M. Fourcade, Svendsen, Burke, Birnbacher, Moravec, Boe, Landertinger, Fak

2013 World Championship top 8: Boe, Shipulin, Svendsen, Moravec, Erik Lesser (Germany), Landertinger, Jean Guillaume Beatrix (France), Bjorn Ferry (Sweden)

2010 Olympic medalists: Ustyugov, M. Fourcade, Pavol Hurajt (Slovakia)

Women (12.5k)

Gold: Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
Silver: Tora Berger (Norway)
Bronze: Vita Semerenko (Ukraine)

Also considered: Kaisa Makarainen (Finland)

Only one event in World Cup so far

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Berger, Domracheva, Vita Semerenko, Dorin Habert, Makarainen, Teja Gregorin (Slovenia), Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic), Miriam Goessner (Germany)

2013 World Championship top 8: Domracheva, Berger, Monika Hojnisz (Poland), Vita Semerenko, Olga Zaitseva (Russia), Goessner, Krystyna Palka (Poland), Teja Gregorin (Slovenia)

2010 Olympic medalists: Magdalena Neuner (Germany; retired), Olga Zaitseva (Russia), Simone Hauswald (Germany; retired)

RELAY (the team one)

Men

Gold: Russia
Silver: Norway
Bronze: France

Also considered: Austria, Germany, Sweden

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Germany, Sweden, Austria, Russia, Norway, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Russia (barely ahead of …), Norway, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Ukraine

2013 World Championship top 8: Norway, France, Germany, Russia, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Canada

2010 Olympic medalists: Norway, Austria, Russia

Women

Gold: Norway
Silver: Germany
Bronze: Russia

Also considered: France, Italy, Ukraine

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (so far): Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Norway, France, Belarus, Canada, Italy

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Norway, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Poland, Belarus

2013 World Championship top 8: Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Russia, Germany, France, Belarus, Slovakia

2010 Olympic medalists: Russia, France, Germany

Mixed (NEW!)

Gold: Norway
Silver: Russia
Bronze: Czech Republic

Also considered: France, Italy

Only one World Cup race so far

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Norway, Russia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Slovakia

2013 World Championship top 8: Norway, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Russia, Slovakia, USA

2010 Olympic medalists: None

BIOS

Men

Top five, 2012-13 World Cup overall: Martin Fourcade (France, by more than 400 points), Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway), Dominik Landertinger (Austria), Jakov Fak (Slovenia), Andreas Birnbacher (Germany)

Lowell Bailey (USA): Best season was 2011-12 — 14th overall, two fifth-place finishes for total of four top 10s.

Carl Johan Bergman (Sweden): Great year in 2011-12 — second (pursuit), third (sprint) and sixth (mass start) at World Championships, two of his three career wins (all in sprints), sixth in overall World Cup. Three-time Olympian. Mysterious dropoff last year.

Tarjei Boe (Norway): Massive breakthrough in 2010-11 — World CUp overall champion, world individual champion, one place away (fourth in mass start) from medaling in all four World Championship events. Eight World Cup/World Championship wins, plus a ton of relay medals including Olympic gold in 2010. Slipped a bit in next two years and only raced half of last season but won mass start world title in 2013.

Andreas Birnbacher (Germany): Found form in 11th and 12th World Cup years — third overall in 2011-12, fifth in 2012-13. Six World Cup wins, World Championship silver (mass start) in 2007, two fourth-place finishes in 2012 worlds.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway): Five Olympics — six gold medals (including two relay), four silver medals (one relay), one bronze. Won all four golds in 2002. Eighteen World Championships (seven relays). Six World Cup overall titles, finished in the top three 12 straight years. All told, 93 World Cup/World Championships wins. So what if he’ll be 40 in Sochi and hasn’t won a non-relay World Championship medal since 2009?

Tim Burke (USA): Led the World Cup during the 2009-10 season, the first American to do so. Slid to 14th place finish and had a disappointing time in the Olympics. Not as strong the next two years but rebounded in 2012-13 to 10th place overall and a silver medal in the World Championship individual. Five World Cup/World Championship podiums, no wins yet.

Jakov Fak (Slovenia): Fourth in 2012-13 World Cup. Only three wins, but one was the World Championship individual in 2012. Also has Olympic bronze (2010 sprint) and 2013 World Championship bronze (also sprint).

Bjorn Ferry (Sweden): 2010 Olympic pursuit champion and five-time winner didn’t have great results the last two seasons but is always hanging around.

Martin Fourcade (France): Two-time defending World Cup overall champion. Also five World Championships — one in each discipline with two in pursuit — all since last Olympics. Silver in 2010 Olympic mass start. Only five years on World Cup — already has 24 wins.

Simon Fourcade (France): Martin’s older brother. Fifth overall in 2011-12. Silver in 2012 World Champion individual. Also has some relay medals with his brother and several top 10s in World Championships. Seven second-place finishes; no wins yet.

Dominik Landertinger (Austria): Third overall in 2012-13. Only two wins, but one was 2009 World Championship mass start.

Fredrik Lindstrom (Sweden): Career-best seventh overall in 2012-13. One World Cup win. Two World Championship bronze medals — 2012 mass start, 2013 individual.

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec (Canada): He won one! His World Cup sprint win in December 2012 made him the first Canadian man to reach the top five in a World Cup biathlon, let alone the top spot. Two more top 10s through the season en route to 35th overall.

Arnd Peiffer (Germany): Two very good years in 2010-11 and 2011-12, finishing fourth overall each year and winning World Championship sprint in 2011. Six career wins.

Ondrej Moravec (Czech Republic): Little to show for first seven years of World Cup competition, then moved up to 28th overall in 2011-12 and a stunning 12th in 2012-13, where he posted seven of his eight career top 10s, his first three podium finishes, his first win, and fourth-place runs in the World Championship individual and mass start.

Dmitry Malyshko (Russia): Breakout year in 2012-13, his second year on the World Cup circuit, with two wins and two second-place finishes. Eighth overall.

Anton Shipulin (Russia): Ninth in 2012-13 World Cup, down from eighth the year before. Four career wins, all in sprint and pursuit. Two medals in 2013 World Championships: Second in mass start, third in pursuit.

Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway): Top three in World Cup six years running — first in 2009-10, second the next three years. Thirty-one wins, including five World Championships (all four disciplines, two mass starts, sprint and pursuit double in 2013) and 2010 individual gold. Also took sprint silver and relay gold in 2010 Games.

Evgeny Ustyugov (Russia): Career year in 2009-10 — fourth overall, and he got his only three career wins, including Olympic mass start gold. Also fourth in 2010 individual and second in 2011 World Championship mass start.

Women

Top five, 2012-13 World Cup overall: Tora Berger (Norway), Darya Domracheva (Belarus), Andrea Henkel (Germany), Marie Dorin Habert (France), Kaisa Makarainen (Finland)

Tora Berger (Norway): Turned the corner from good to great in the past Olympic cycle. Perhaps a surprise winner of the 2010 Olympic individual, but now dominant — runaway 2012-13 World Cup champion, four-time world champion (back-to-back individual, 2013 pursuit, 2012 mass start), no finish lower than second at the 2013 World Championships.

Darya Domracheva (Belarus): 2010 bronze individual medal, followed by two world titles (2012 pursuit, 2013 mass start) and two overall World Cup runner-up finishes.

Marie Dorin Habert (France): Had only one World Cup podium before taking bronze in the 2010 Olympic pursuit. Remained more of a top-10 finisher for a couple of years but finished fourth in overall 2012-13 World Cup with a few podium finishes. Still seeking first win. Injured and will miss the Games.

Miriam Goessner (Germany): The next wave of German biathletes, winning three times and finishing ninth overall in 2012-13, her third World Cup season.

Andrea Henkel (Germany): Won 2002 individual gold and spent the next 12 years picking up more hardware: 2005 individual world championship, 2006-07 World Cup championship and mass start world title, 2008 sprint and pursuit world title. Top eight in the overall World Cup for eight straight years, third in 2012-13. World Championship individual runner-up 2013.

Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia): Broke out in 2010 Olympics: sprint gold, pursuit silver. Also reached World Championship podium in 2009 (mass start silver) and 2011 (sprint bronze). Not a consistent World Cup performer — seventh overall (five podiums) in 2012-13 is career best.

Kaisa Makarainen (Finland): Big year in 2010-11: World Cup champion, pursuit world champion, runner-up in World Championship sprint. Fourth and fifth overall in last two World Cups.

Olena Pidhrushna (Ukraine): Sole win is 2013 World Championship sprint. Held on for third in World Championship pursuit and had two other podium finishes through the season, taking eighth overall. Only one top-5 finish through 2011-12, then nine through the 2012-13 season.

Valj Semerenko (Ukraine): Three podiums, one of the 2013 World Championship individual. Career-best World Cup year was 2010-11, placing 11th overall. Vita’s twin.

Vita Semerenko (Ukraine): Oddly, no World Cup wins yet. Three World Championship bronze medals — 2011 individual, 2012 sprint, 2013 sprint. Up to 10th overall in 2012-13 season. Valj’s twin.

Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic): First big year in 2012-13 — four wins among six podiums.

Olga Zaitseva (Russia): Best overall World Cup finish is fourth in 2004-05, but she has more than 45 World Cup/World Championship podiums and some big accomplishments. 2005 World Championships: sprint silver, pursuit bronze. 2009 World Championships: mass start gold, sprint and pursuit bronze. 2010 Olympics: mass start silver.

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