Finally we have arrived at the start of another season. After much anxiety if there would be a season at all, or if the worldwide pandemic would stop it in its tracks, we are back where it all ended some eight months ago in Kontiolahti, Finland, and the biathletes are raring to go.
We have put the period after the end of the 2019-20 season to good use and built a biathlon model, which we hope to employ to provide us with an overview of the various athlete’s chances of ending in the different positions, for every single race of the 2020-21 season.
|Bib||Name||Country||Chances of various positions||Winning chance||Chance for a medal||Projected seconds behind|
|BOE Johannes Thingnes||
|FILLON MAILLET Quentin||
|CHRISTIANSEN Vetle Sjaastad||
|LAEGREID Sturla Holm||
This model we have also used to simulate the entire season and project who are the most likely contenders for the large crystal globe as well as the small ones, for both genders.
As usual the very first races of the season is packed with uncertainty as it is near impossible to know how the athletes have progressed in training since the end of the previous season. The input of our model is purely results from previous seasons. It does not have access to any of the results from the warm up races or training reports for any of the athletes. Partly because of this we expect the accuracy of the predictions to pick up when the first few races have been completed and the model has fresh data to work with.
No matter how you look at it, it is beyond a shadow of doubt that Johannes Thingnes Boe, last year’s winner of the overall world cup must be a huge favourite for the 20 km individual race. One of the two best male biathletes of all time, Martin Fourcade, retired at the end of last season and with him gone, nobody are likely to be able to properly challenge the younger Boe brother if he competes at the top of his abilities.
The two likeliest challengers are his older brother Tarjei Boe and Quetin Fillet Maillet. Even so, as every missed shot comes with a penalty of a full minute, it does not take so much for a rank outsider to make a breakthrough.