2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Men’s 12.5 k pursuit
“Use this rage as energy!” Martin Fourcade wrote on Instagram after finishing eighth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint on Sunday.
Um, yeah. The French biathlon star defended his gold medal from the 2014 Olympic pursuit with just one missed shot in Monday’s 12.5 k competition, taking the lead after the third shooting stage and never giving it back. He finished with a comfortable enough margin to grab the French flag and take his time waving it down the finishing straight.
A large pack of chasers were all in contention for second place coming into the final shooting stage, but of them all only Benedikt Doll of Germany and Sebastian Samuelsson of Sweden cleaned their targets. Samuelsson took his time to do so, and left the range with a nearly eight-second deficit on Doll. But he gradually worked his way up to the German on the trails, before putting in a spurt on one of the last small uphills on the course. The 20-year-old Swede managed to hold his lead on the swooping downhills into the stadium and not get consumed by the draft effect, and celebrated crossing the line in second place. Samuelsson’s previous best result was 13th place in a World Cup. It is Sweden’s first Olympic biathlon medal since 2010.
Tarjei Bø of Norway finished fourth (+1:02.6) after missing three shots; all the medalists had only a single penalty apiece. Germany’s Simon Schempp was fifth (+1:02.7), also with three penalties, and Switzerland’s Benjamin Weger finished sixth with two missed shots (+1:03.1), narrowly edging France’s Simon Desthieux (+1:03.7).
For the U.S., Tim Burke finished 17th (+2:19.6) with just two missed shots after starting in 47th position after a disappointing sprint race. Lowell Bailey placed 32nd (+3:51.6) with five penalties — all in standing — and Leif Nordgren 50th (+5:48.7), also with five missed shots.
For Canada, Nathan Smith finished 54th (+6:06.5) with four missed shots.
Biathlon: Women’s 10 k pursuit
With just one missed shot, Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier took her second gold medal of this young Olympic Games when she won the 10 k biathlon pursuit by 29.4 seconds. Dahlmeier finished no better than 13th in the 2014 Olympics — where she was only 20 years old – but four more years of experience have made her nearly unbeatable, if last year’s triple gold haul from World Championships serves as a basis for comparison. But even if she only nets these two golds, she has already made history: no other woman has ever won both the sprint and the pursuit at the same Olympic Games.
Dahlmeier started in bib 1 but the other medalists used stellar performances to move up after disappointing sprint races. Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia edged France’s Anais Bescond by just 0.2 seconds to take silver. Kuzmina had started in bib 13 and won her medal despite four missed shots – she had the fastest course time of the whole field – while Bescond had started 19th but had hit all but one of her targets.
Fourth place went to the sprint silver medalist Marte Olsbu of Norway (+1:07.3), fifth to Hanna Öberg of Sweden (+1:08.9), and sixth to Denise Herrman of Germany (+1:19.4).
Rosanna Crawford of Canada started 53rd after a tough sprint race, but shot 18/20 and moved up to 19th place (+2:27.7), the best Olympic result of her career.
Montana State University student Johanna Talihärm, representing Estonia, missed four shots to finish 26th (+2:59.4). Just behind her was Canada’s Julia Ransom in 28th (+3:03.0) with one missed shot.
The lone American in the race, Emily Dreissigacker, set a new career best with 47th place (+5:01.4), and Canada’s Emma Lunder finished 53rd (+6:16.8). Teammate Megan Tandy did not start.