Markéta Davidová voted Biathlete of the Year for fifth time in row

Markéta Davidová

Markéta Davidová has been voted Biathlete of the Year, the fifth year in a row that she has received the award. The young Czech sportswoman, who was the 2021 world champion in the endurance race, beat other top male and female biathletes to win the poll.

Members of the Czech Biathlon Union voted for who they thought the best Czech biathlete of the 2022/23 season was, and the twenty-six-year-old Davidová blew away the competition with 261 points. She beat even the best of the men, Michal Krčmář, relegating him to second place, 34 points behind her at 227.

Krčmář wasn’t in the least bit a sore loser though, saying that Davidová undoubtedly deserved to win.

Michal Krčmář | Photo: Igor Stančík,  Český biatlon

"She is the clear number one. If you look at the results from the winter, she is simply the best and she clearly deserves it. Every year she brings something new or improves in some way, be it in speed, form, or accuracy. I think also in the sprint she is among the world’s best."

Davidová ranked in the top ten in World Cup events nine times in the past season, and was the only one of her Czech compatriots to be twice awarded a medal – once when she came in second place in the World Cup sprint in Hochfilzen, and third in the subsequent pursuit race. She also came close to winning a medal at the World Championships in Oberhof, where she came fifth in the mass start and sixth in the sprint.

She received her award at a ceremony at Prague's Karlín Forum on Wednesday evening. Speaking to Czech Radio after receiving the award, Davidová said that although she was happy to have won, the main draw of the awards event for her is not the prizes themselves, but the social aspect – the ceremony is the largest biathlon event of the year.

"It’s nice to dress up once in a while and feel human again. I meet people that I don’t see otherwise or that I haven't seen for a long time and it's really nice."

Markéta Davidová | Photo: Vít Šimánek,  ČTK

Davidová also wanted to highlight the achievements of the next generation of Czech biathletes, to whom she wants to give more media attention.

"Of course, I appreciate it, but on the other hand, the youngsters were really good this year, so the prize could have easily gone to them as well. I'm glad that the next generation is coming into its own."

The brightest of these young stars is probably 18-year-old Daniel Malušek, who won gold in the relay at the junior world championships and also came fourth in the endurance race.

Markéta Davidová | Photo: Igor Stančík,  Český biatlon

Davidová was herself a promising athlete from a young age. After her Olympic premiere in PyeongChang in 2018, she went to the Beijing Olympics four years later in hopes of winning a medal. She almost won gold in the endurance race, but missed the final shot and fell to sixth place as a result. She was also close to winning gold in the mass start, but in the end came in fourth.

However, she did become world champion in the endurance race in 2021, and with her motto “Be better than yesterday”, there may yet be a gold medal in sight at the next Winter Olympics in 2026.