Liv Grete Skjelbreid Poirée

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Liv Grete Skjelbreid
Liv Grete Poiree Antholz 2006.jpg
Skjelbreid in Antholz-Anterselva in 2006.
Personal information
Full name Liv Grete Skjelbreid
Born (1974-07-07) 7 July 1974 (age 42)
Bergen, Norway
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Professional information
Sport Biathlon
Club Hålandsdal IL
World Cup debut 6 March 1993
Retired 26 March 2006
Olympic Games
Teams 3 (1998, 2002, 2006)
Medals 3 (0 gold)
World Championships
Teams 9 (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005)
Medals 12 (8 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 13 (1992/93,
Individual victories 22
Individual podiums 46
Overall titles 1 (2003–04)
Discipline titles 3:
1 Sprint (2003–04);
1 Pursuit (2003–04);
1 Mass start (2003–04)

Liv Grete Skjelbreid (born 7 July 1974) from Hålandsdal, Fusa, near the city of Bergen in western Norway, is a former career biathlete. On 20 March 2006, Liv Grete announced her retirement, effective at the end of the season which ended on 26 March at the Holmenkollen. She said that she was retiring because of her young daughter, Emma, her family and that she did not have the motivation to continue.

Early career[edit]

As a child Skjelbreid spent a lot of her time with her older sisters, and consequently took part in the sports her sisters did. She played football, kayaked in the lake next to the family home, cross-country skied, and she used to run up to the family cottage up in the mountains, touch the wall and run back down.

Skjelbreid excelled in football and biathlon, and first started competing in biathlon when she was nine. She borrowed her father's rifle for her first race. He also built a small shooting range on the family’s farm so his young daughters could practice. However, as she was finishing high school, she was undecided as to whether continue with biathlon or to become a hairdresser. She, then, received an offer from a new sports school, which developed young talent, based in Geilo, to train and study there, still she was undecided, but her friends and family succeeded in persuading her to attend the school, and that after the first year if she did not like it, she could then leave. It turned out that Skjelbreid did enjoy the school, and was in the same year as Ole Einar Bjørndalen, and was taught by Odd Lirhus, who would become her coach between 2003 and 2006.

World Cup[edit]

Skjelbreid won the IBU overall World Cup once, in the 2003/04 season, it was also the first for Norway since Anne Elvebakk won the event in 1988. She won the overall title by 95 points over Olga Pyleva, and took three of the four individual disciplines, the sprint, pursuit and mass start. She came fourth in the individual. Norway also won the relay. Her first season was in 1995/96, she finished 30th. In her next season, 1998/99, she shot up the table and came 5th in the end. The year after however she finished 21st. In 2000/01 Skjelbreid finished the season in 2nd place, 217 points behind Magdalena Forsberg. She was 2nd in the sprint, pursuit and mass start, and came 3rd in the individual. Norway won the relay. She also came second the year after, again behind Forsberg, this time by 149 points. She was 2nd in the individual, sprint and pursuit, and 9th in the mass start. Norway came 2nd in the relay. Skjelbreid missed the 2002/03 season because of her pregnancy. However, the year after she captured the crystal globe of the World Cup. Although, 2004/05 was a poor year, Skjelbreid had to retire from the season due to illness, missing the World Championships in the process. She ended up in 22nd place, 532 points behind Sandrine Bailly. She was suffering from a virus closely related to mononucleosis (glandular fever). The virus took away about 15–20 percent of her energy according to Lars Kolsrud, doctor for Norway's biathlon squads.

Skjelbreid finished the 2005/06 season in 12th place, 511 points behind the overall winner Kati Wilhelm. She ended in 21st place in the individual, 64 points down on Svetlana Ishmouratova. She was 12th in the sprint, 190 behind Wilhelm. Her best standing was in the pursuit, where she finished the season in 9th place, 177 points behind Wilhelm, and she finished 13th in the mass start, with 90 points less than Martina Glagow. Norway were 4th in the relay.

Skjelbreid was a steady shooter over the years. Her overall percentage was in the high 70% – low 80%. As with the vast majority of biathletes, her prone shoot was her best, averaging mid 80% shooting, whilst her standing shoot gradually got better, from 65% in 1999/00 to 74% in the 2005/06 season. Skjelbreid achieved 46 podium finishes, 22 in first place, 15 in second, and 9 in third place.

Skjelbreid was coached by Rolf Sæterdal until 2003, when he died suddenly. Then she was coached by Odd Lirhus until 2006, when she retired.

Skjelbreid won the Holmenkollen ski festival biathlon competition four times with two wins each in sprint (2000, 2001) and in mass start (2000, 2004).

  • 1 × Overall winner (2003/04)
  • 3 × Discipline World Cup winner:

       - Sprint (1): 2003/04

       - Pursuit (): 2003/04

       - Mass start (1): 2003/04

Season Overall Sprint Pursuit Individual Mass start
Points Position Points Position Points Position Points Position Points Position
1995–96 - 30th
1997–98 - 11th
1998–99 313 5th
1999–00 172 21st
2000–01 804 2nd 312 2nd 252 2nd 110 3rd 120 2nd
2001–02 795 2nd 262 2nd 327 2nd 133 2nd 62 9th
2003–04 955 1st 370 1st 327 1st 90 4th 139 1st
2004–05 315 22nd 116 22nd 140 15th 9 53rd 50 17th
2005–06 458 12th 178 12th 157 9th 36 21st 87 11th

Individual victories[edit]

22 victories (10 Sp, 8 Pu, 1 In, 3 MS)

Season Date Location Discipline Level
3 victories
(2 Sp, 1 Pu)
8 January 1999 Germany Oberhof 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
9 January 1999 Germany Oberhof 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
5 March 1999 Canada Valcartier 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
2 victories
(1 Sp, 1 MS)
19 February 2000 Norway Oslo Holmenkollen 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Championships
26 February 2000 Norway Oslo Holmenkollen 12.5 km mass start Biathlon World Championships
2 victories
(1 Sp, 1 Pu)
4 February 2001 Slovenia Pokljuka 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Championships
16 March 2001 Norway Oslo Holmenkollen 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
6 victories
(3 Sp, 2 Pu, 1 In)
10 January 2002 Germany Oberhof 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
19 January 2002 Germany Ruhpolding 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
20 January 2002 Germany Ruhpolding 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
23 January 2002 Italy Antholz-Anterselva 15 km individual Biathlon World Cup
27 January 2002 Italy Antholz-Anterselva 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
9 March 2002 Sweden Östersund 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
7 victories
(3 Sp, 3 Pu, 1 MS)
7 December 2003 Finland Kontiolahti 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
7 January 2004 Slovenia Pokljuka 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
16 January 2004 Germany Ruhpolding 7.5 km sprint Biathlon World Cup
18 January 2004 Germany Ruhpolding 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
7 February 2004 Germany Oberhof 7.5 km spirnt Biathlon World Championships
8 February 2004 Germany Oberhof 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Championships
14 February 2004 Germany Oberhof 12.5 km mass start Biathlon World Championships
1 victory
(1 MS)
19 December 2004 Sweden Östersund 12.5 km mass start Biathlon World Cup
1 victory
(1 Pu)
15 January 2006 Germany Ruhpolding 10 km pursuit Biathlon World Cup
*Results are from IBU races which include the Biathlon World Cup, Biathlon World Championships and the Winter Olympic Games.
Liv Grete at the 2006 Winter Olympics


Skjelbreid competed in three Olympic games, the first in 1998 in Nagano. She has three medals, two silver and one bronze, two of them (one silver & one bronze) came in the relay (1998 and 2002), the other silver came in the individual in 2002. Her medal count, especially her solo medal count is quite poor for a biathlete of her calibre, though she did come fourth in both the sprint and the pursuit in 2002. Her 2006 results were poor, much in the same pattern as the Norwegian Olympic team on the whole. She finished 9th in the individual, 12th in the sprint, 6th in the pursuit, 18th in the mass start, and 5th in the relay (although Skjelbreid did run a solid anchor leg).

3 medals (2 silver, 1 bronze)

Event Individual Sprint Pursuit Mass start Relay
Japan 1998 Nagano 15th 23rd N/A N/A Bronze
United States 2002 Salt Lake City Silver 4th 4th N/A Silver
Italy 2006 Turin 9th 12th 6th 18th 5th

World championships[edit]

Skjelbreid has 13 World Championship medals: 8 gold, three silver and two bronze. She won four of her gold medals in a single Championships, in Oberhof in 2004, the first time a biathlete has won four golds in a single World Championships. Her first World Championship medal was a silver in the relay in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia in 1997. She then had to wait until 2000 for her first individual medal. She won two golds in Holmenkollen, in the sprint and the mass start. In 2001 in Pokljuka, she won a gold in the pursuit, a silver in the individual, and a bronze in both the sprint and mass start. Her next Championships was in 2004, where she took the four golds. The one event she did not win was the individual where she finished eighth. She suffered from illness in the 2004–05 season, and came 37th in the sprint, and did not start in the pursuit. During the 2003–04 season, Skjelbreid was handed the wrong gold medal after she won Sunday's 7.5 km race. She was given the medal for the 15 km event, which wasn't taking place until Tuesday.

12 medals (8 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)

Event Individual Sprint Pursuit Mass start Team Relay Mixed relay
Germany 1996 Ruhpolding 42nd 7th N/A N/A 12th 4th N/A
Slovakia 1997 Brezno-Osrblie 39th 39th 42nd N/A Gold Silver N/A
Slovenia 1998 Pokljuka N/A N/A 10th N/A Silver N/A N/A
Finland 1999 Kontiolahti 28th 11th 10th 14th N/A 4th N/A
Norway 2000 Oslo 32nd Gold 7th Gold N/A 5th N/A
Slovenia 2001 Pokljuka Silver Bronze Gold Bronze N/A 4th N/A
Norway 2002 Oslo N/A N/A N/A 15th N/A N/A N/A
Germany 2004 Oberhof 8th Gold Gold Gold N/A Gold N/A
Austria 2005 Hochfilzen 37th DNS N/A
*Team was removed as an event in 1998, and pursuit was added in 1997 with mass start being added in 1999 and the mixed relay in 2005.


Skjelbreid suffered a spate of injuries throughout her career. In the summer of 1995 she broke her wrist whilst swinging on monkey bars, then in the summer of 1997 she was jumping on a chair, fell and broke her elbow. She then broke the cast when she crashed while training on roller skis days later. She also suffers from chronic inflammation, but she has said it had got better since she gave birth. There was also the illness that drained her energy and forced her to finish the 2004/05 season early.

Family life[edit]

Liv Grete Skjelbreid grew up on a dairy farm in Hålandsdal. One of her two sisters Ann Elen also had a career as a biathlete. Ann Elen skied the first leg of the relay in Nagano 1998 when Norway came third, with Liv Grete skiing the anchor leg. Her brother-in-law is Norwegian biathlete Egil Gjelland.

Skjelbreid married French biathlete Raphaël Poirée on 27 May 2000 in Norway. They first met at the 1992 Junior World Championships and began dating in 1996. They have three daughters, Emma (born 27 January 2003), Anna (born 10 January 2007) and Lena (born 10 October 2008). The family have spent most of their time in Norway and have a house in Eikelandsosen, near Poirée's childhood home. They also kept a small apartment in Villard-de-Lans, France, site of the 1968 Olympic luge venue. In July 2013, the couple announced that they were separating.[1]

The oldest daughter Emma traveled with the Poirées to all of their biathlon events, with a full-time nanny (older sister Ann Elen) for the first two years. But Emma was sick several times over those two seasons, and the family decided she should remain at home during the buildup to the Olympic games in Torino, and only travel with them every third race weekend. So during the 2006 Olympic season Emma stayed with her maternal grandparents.


  1. ^ Liv Grete og Raphael Poirée separeres (Norwegian) TV2, 5 July 2013, retrieved 9 July 2013

External links[edit]