US biathlete Sara Studebaker had a chance at breaking top-10 at the World Cup in Holmenkollen Saturday. Coming into her fourth shooting, Studebaker was in eighth place. Missing three targets cost her the top-10 finish, but Studebaker said to USA Biathlon (USBA) that she considers the pursuit a learning experience and hopes to build on it rather than dwell on lost opportunities.
“I knew I was up there on the fourth loop but I didn’t try to think about it. Of course I totally busted the last shooting with three misses but it was a good experience and I can learn a lot from that. I hope next year, being up front there will be normal for me so I can deal with that in a better way. But it’s definitively cool to know that I can do top-10,” Studebaker said to USBA after the race.
For Haley Johnson, four evenly distributed misses were nothing out of the ordinary, and qualifying for the mass start was a bonus, she said to USBA.
Reshuffling the Ranks
With Magdalena Neuner (GER) sitting out the race due to a cold, Norway’s Tora Berger led out of the start, but fell back after three penalties on her first prone shooting. Anastasiya Kuzmina (SLO) nailed all of hers, took the lead and won the sprint in 33 minutes and 42.5 seconds with a total of three penalties, suffered on the second and third shooting. This was Kuzmina’s first World Cup podium since Hochfilzen in December, and she was thrilled to be back in business.
“I am happy to be back on the podium, especially at the World Cup Final. In some of the previous starts, I was not so lucky with my shooting but today my shooting was quite good…After the two penalties in prone, I did relax a bit and that helped me concentrate on my shooting, which is so important in this competition,” Kuzmina said to the International Biathlon Union after the race Saturday.
Darya Domracheva (BEL) skied a wicked fast last lap and moved up from third to second place overall, 23.1 seconds behind Kuzmina despite a total of five penalties. She cited lack of concentration as the reason for the misses, not the conditions, although there was enough wind to force the racers to adjust for that factor.
Andrea Henkel (GER) was third, 27.6 seconds behind Kuzmina. Kaisa Mäkäräinen (FIN) was fourth, and thereby regained the yellow leader bib for the final event of the 2011 World Cup, the mass start Sunday.
Mäkäräinen will enter the mass start with a total of 979 World Cup points for the season, while Berger in second place overall has 938 points.
Complete results here.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.