2018 Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Biathlon Men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay
Germany were the favorites coming into this men’s relay and Erik Lesser started them off with a near-perfect relay leg to sit in first place, but shooting collapses by Benedikt Doll and Simon Schempp left the team with bronze medals at the finish.
On a windy, gusty day, the relay instead came down to a race between Norway and Sweden. Coming into the last shooting stage Fredrik Lindström of Sweden and Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway were stride for stride. Each missed their first shot in standing, but Lindström pulled himself together and hit the next four shots, then hit the final target using a spare round. Svendsen, on the other hand, kept missing and ended up skiing a penalty loop – just as he had when anchoring the Norwegian team in the Olympics in Sochi four years ago.
Then, that left Norway off the podium. This time, Norway still earned silver, as behind him Schempp had his own shooting woes.
An exciting relay with multiple lead changes in the end turned into something of a blowout, with Lindström able to celebrate on his final loop before joining overjoyed teammates Peppe Femling, Jesper Nelin, and Sebastian Samuelsson at the finish. It was the first Olympic relay gold medal in the history of Swedish biathlon, and the team did it with phenomenal shooting – just seven spare rounds despite difficult conditions. They were the only team to avoid the penalty loop, which most teams visited more than once.
The Norwegian squad of Lars Helge Birkeland, Tarjei Bø, Johannes Thingnes Bø, and Svendsen finished 55.5 seconds back. The Germans with Lesser, Doll, Arnd Peiffer, and Schempp crossed the line +2:07.1, and the Austrian squad of Tobias Eberhard, Simon Eder, Julian Eberhard, and Dominik Landertinger were the first ones out of the medals, +2:52.5.
The American team of Lowell Bailey, Sean Doherty, Tim Burke, and Leif Nordgren finished sixth, +3:50.2, tying the best-ever men’s relay finish by an American team at the Olympics. They had 14 spare rounds and two penalty loops.
The Canadian squad of Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Macx Davies, and Brendan Green finished 11th, +5:40.3, with 11 spare rounds and a penalty loop.