A biathlon family. Siblings with a rifle and a pair of skis

Three natives from the Vosges Mountains in France started into the Thursday’s men’s sprint of the 9th round of the 2020/21 World Cup:  the Claude brothers. The oldest of them, Florent (62nd in the sprint) has been representing Belgium for several years, the middle Fabien (22nd) is a regular member of the French national team, and the youngest Emilien (46th) became a three-time junior world champion a week ago in Obertilliach!

Claude brothers (photo: archive of Florent Claude)

Three brothers, three sisters

“We are not too much of rivals. We have competed with one another ever since we were little, but the rivalry has always been reasonable. Now that we are adult and we race against each other, we wish each other good luck and success,” the oldest – Florent – said. The brothers come from a family where sport was done a lot. “Mom would compete in cross-country skiing, and in biathlon too, for a while, our father did many sports.” They all got to biathlon through various other sports. The only thing that they regret is that they do not race together in relays race in the World Cup. “It is a pity, but we made it up for ourselves at the French championships that we have won two times already.”

Florent Claude in Vysočina Arena (photo: Michal Jilka)

The Claude brothers thus went in the tracks of the three Gasparin sisters, who are regular racers at the World Cup :-). The oldest Selina is a silver Olympic medallist and the winner of two World Cup races. The middle sister, Elisa, and the youngest of them, Aita, also have a stable place in the Swiss national team.

Gasparin sisters (photo: Facebook, Selina Gasparin)

Family Masterclass

Pairs of siblings are not uncommon in biathlon. Currently, a Norway has two brothers: the Boes. The older of them, Tarjei, has won 11 gold medals in the Wold Championships, Johannes, who is younger, has 12. In addition to that they both have won the Olympics, and won the general classification of the World Cup.

Oeberg sisters have shown their class as well. The older – Hanna – is an Olympic winner and a world champion, the younger Elvira has only started in the elite category and this season, she is trying hard to win the light blue bib for the best biathlete under 25 years of age.

Paulína and Ivona Fialková should not be left out either, as Paulína has got eight podiums in the World Cup (four time second and third), whilst Ivona was in the top ten at the 2020 World Championships in Anterselva. Moreover, they were members of a relays team that finished fifth at the Olympics in Korea in 2018, where Paulína took fifth place in individual race.

Olympic winners Vita and Valj Semerenka of the Ukraine, Nadine and Caroline Horchler of Germany, the world champion and Olympic winner Anastázie Kuzmina representing Slovakia, and her brother, Anton Shipulin racing for Russia, or the legends – Martin and Simon Fourcade, and medal collectors from Norway, named Live Grete and Ann Elen Skjelbreid are some other sibling duos both from the presence and history of the sport …

Fourcade borthers at the WC in NMNM 2012 (photo: BiathlonNMNM archive)

Czech traces

Czech Republic is not scarce with biathlon siblings. Take the Kristejn brothers: the oldest, David, was in the junior national team (8th in the individual race at 2000 WCHoJ in Hochfilzen, his younger brother Zdeněk, participated in European championships of junors, and the youngest of them, Lukáš, finished second in sprint race at summer biathlon World Champs in 2016. His best result in World Cup is 42nd place in Kontiolahti (2013/14), and 8th place with relays team in Le Grand Bornard (2013/14). Lukáš also started in Nové Město (76th in sprint in 2016/17).           

Tomáš Krupčík is a member of Czech national team and now takes part in IBU Cup in Obertiliach. His younger brother Matěj, today a coach of juniors, is a silver medallist from relays race at the 2012 World Championships.

Jessica Jislová has two fourth places from the World Championships in relays race, and her sister Erika would represent the Czech Republic at the Junior World Championships in 2016. She is currently fully occupied with raising her son, minting coins and studying design at the Technical University Liberec. Eva Puskarčíková’s sister Anna also ran biathlon: she competed at the junior and junior national team level.

Jessica and Erika Jislová back in 2011 (photo: Jablonecký deník)

Jiří and Milan Faltus are quite well-known, too. Jiří finished fourth in the sprint and eighth in the pursuit races at the junior WCH in 2000, Milan has two junior silver medals from the relays (WCHoJ 2002 and 2004). Jiří trains pupils in Letohrad, where he is honing the talents of juniors Mikuláš Karlík (34th in Thursday’s sprint at NMNM) or Tomáš Mikyska, for example. Milan is the leading serviceman of the Czech national team.

Ondřej Moravec, a nine-time medallist from the Olympic Games and the World Championships, is ending his career in the 9th round of the World Cup. Simply said, he is the most successful Czech male biathlete in history. It is a less known fact that his younger sister Petra also a member of Czech national team and finished 10th in the sprint at the Juniors World Championships in Koscielsko, Poland, in 2003! By the way, Ondřej won three bronze medals there at the time.

Jiri and Milan Faltus (photo: archive of Jiří Faltus)

Is there future for siblings in biathlon?

It is possible that Czech team will have racing siblings in Tomáš Mikyska and his sister Svatava. Tomáš, who is a junior, has raced in World Cup already (Kontiolahti 2020/21), is a bronze medallist from the relays race at the 2021 World Championships of juniors in Obertiliach, and regularly collects points in IBU Cup. His younger sister is a category below him and participated in YOG 2020 in Lausanne. 

Ondřej Moravec and Tomáš Mikyska in relay race in Kontiolahti (photo: Petr Slavík)

Long live the biathlon family!

Authors: Tomáš Hermann & Michal Jilka

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