BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN RUHPOLDING – A giant leap forward
The Ruhpolding Biathlon World Championships in 1996 were full of athletic and media highlights. The women’s competitions had already conquered the viewing public’s hearts and were out of the early shadows. That the stands and the track achieved record visits and were filled to the last spot was certainly attributable to Petra Behle and Uschi Disl’s successes. The Biathlon stadium with its modern exterior, its demanding race course and the perfect shooting range also contributed to the popularity of the sport. Masses of media representatives with media coverage that broke all previous records created an extraordinary World Championship event. The Junior World Championships have also been regularly carried out in the Chiemgau Arena: 1979, 1993, when Ole Einar Björndalen became three-fold Junior World Champion, and 2008, when Eurosport first broadcasted all the races live and Magdalena Neuner won the last of her total of seven Junior World Championship titles.
The success story was continued in the fourth Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding in 2012. True to its motto “We are one family” this event was marked by exceptionally fair races, excellent stadium conditions and great sportsmanship amongst the spectators from all over the world all in wonderful weather. The record-breaking World Champion Magdalena Neuner said good-bye to her fans with full honors winning four medals and emotionally gripping moments. On the other hand, some new stars rose during the 2012 Ruhpolding World Championships: Martin Fourcade began his unparalleled winning streak. Truly the spectators were amongst the winners who arrived in unprecedented numbers. For the total of eight races days, there were 240,000 spectators.
MAGDALENA NEUNER (* 1987)
No German athlete has ever dominated her sport so completely at such a young age as Magdalena Neuner who was born in 1987 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the age of 20 in 2007 she won three gold medals in Antholz. In a veritable rush, the young athlete from Wallgau captured the spectator’s hearts, but even before winning her three gold medals, her later successes could be anticipated from her early years. By 2008 she had participated in four Junior-World Championships and won seven titles, where she was far faster than others in her age-group. After winning the overall World Cup in the winter of 2007/08 she received the “female athlete of the year” award, she was undeniably the face of German winter sports After her double win at the Olympic games in Vancouver, her market value rose to record heights and even after her retirement in 2012, she remained a popular figure within and beyond Germany.