This is the new world champion and this is his new weapon

February 12, 2024

Perfect at the range, lightning fast in the tracks, World Champion on the finish line. “A mile stone in my career.”

By Inge Scheve.

He’s had a rough start to the season, but on Saturday February 10, Sturla Holm Lægreid did a 180: he opened the 2024 Biathlon World Championships with a gold medal in the sprint, the first individual race of the championships.

And he did it in a spectacular way. The 26-year-old Norwegian was cool as a cucumber. Where others missed, he was perfect at the range. Where others struggled in the challenging snow conditions on the course, he was lightning fast. At the finish line, Lægreid was the new world champion. 

“On the last hill, I was told by Patrick (Oberegger, coach) that ‘Sturla, you’re leading,’ and then I just had to give it my all,” Lægreid says to media after the race, admitting that he came into the championships with a heavy load on his shoulders. 

“I certainly felt the pressure to win when everyone else (on the team) has had success this season. A world championship gold medal means a lot. And it’s a new milestone for me to win a gold medal in the sprint. Now I can be sick for the rest of the championships and still feel content when I leave,” Lægreid says. 

The very next day, Lægreid secured the silver medal in the pursuit. He is now headed into the second week of the IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto (CZE) with two medals, and two individual races left on the schedule: The 20-kilometer individual on February 14, and the 15-kilometer mass start on February 18. 

But his rifle is not his only weapon: Lægreid just added two more to his quiver today: Redline Skate X boots and SKateX bindings from Rottefella.

Related coverage:
Introducing SkateX – The beginning of a ski revolution 

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Photo by: Nordic Focus

World Champions Galore
At the FIS U23 and Junior Nordic World Championships in Planica (SLO), Madshus turbo junior Alvar Myhlback earned the first World Championship gold medal of his career. And the 17-year-old Swede did it with a statement. 

Myhlback was cut from the Swedish lineup for the sprint, and was publicly disappointed about missing the race. On Friday, he took a salty revenge: Finally old enough for the Junior World Championships, the 17-year-old crushed his competitors, winning the 10-kilometer classic race by nearly a minute. And he did it in what he described as “his way.” double-poling the entire course. 

“That felt f***ing good,” the newly crowned World Champion says after the race. 

“And I was glad I could do it my way, without kick wax, and show everyone what I’ve been working on the last few years,” Myhlback adds. 

On Sunday, he capped his first World Championships with a second gold medal, helping Sweden to victory in the mixed relay. 

At the U23 level, Madshus racers also collected some hardware: Hilla Niemela (FIN) took silver in the sprint on Tuesday, while Maëlle Veyre (FRA) earned the bronze medal in the 20-kilometer skate race on Thursday. 

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Photo by: Graeme Williams

Also, at the FIS cross-country World Cup, Edvin Anger (SWE) was third in the sprint in Canmore (CAN) on Saturday, bagging his second individual World Cup podium for the season. The 21-year-old is now leading the overall U23 World Cup by nearly 150 points. 

Additionally, Harald Østberg Amundsen was second in the 15-kilometer mass start in Canmore on Friday, and is now leading the overall World Cup by more than 300 points. 

The FIS cross-country World Cup continues on Tuesday with classic sprint races in Canmore, before moving on to Minneapolis (USA) for two races on February 17 and 18. This will be the first time in more than 20 years that the FIS cross-country World Cup is organized in the United States. 

Related coverage: 
Bringing the World Cup back to the USA: “It will be a giant party”

Photo by: Nordic Focus