BEIJING, China (Feb. 18, 2022) – Competing in the first mass start of her career on the Olympic stage, Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis./ National Guard Biathlon & USBA) went toe-to-toe with the world’s best biathletes to finish 23rd in the elite field of 30 on Friday as the Beijing 2022 Winter Games’ biathlon competition came to a close at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Center. Irwin was 3 minutes, 24.1 seconds back with six penalties.
“This has just been such an incredible experience,” said Irwin after the race. “I’m still processing everything that’s happened these past couple of weeks at the Olympics. I’ve gained a ton of confidence at these Olympics and really just went above and beyond my Olympic goal which definitely didn’t include the mass start. It was just an honor to get on the start line today and I was in awe the entire time.”
As with most of the competitions at the Beijing Games, the women’s mass start featured cold temperatures and strong winds cutting across the shooting range. As a result, none of the competitors shot clean. Irwin had four penalties in prone and two in standing, but felt privileged to be racing among the elite of the sport.
“Definitely during the race, skiing next to some of the best women in the world…wow…I am just still speechless,” Irwin said. “If there’s anything I’ve learned from these Games it’s that I have a lot more to learn and I’m just so excited to keep climbing the ladder. Skiing next to Denise Herrmann and Hanna Oeberg and Mona Brorsson and all the girls today…being able to fight next to them I am just so excited to continue racing and see what else I can push my body to do.”
France’s Justine Braisaz-Bouchet won the mass start gold medal with four penalties and a time of 40:18. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, also with four penalties, won the silver medal, 15.3 seconds back, while her teammate Marte Olsbu Roeiseland claimed her fifth medal of the Games, taking the bronze 34.9 seconds behind Braisaz-Bouchet with four penalties.
The biathlon season now shifts focus to the last three IBU World Cup events of the year, beginning with the March 3-6 competition in Kontiolahti, Finland.
Women’s 12.5km mass start results
|1.||Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (FRA)||40:18.0/+4|
|2.||Tiril Eckhoff (NOR)||+15.3/+4|
|3.||Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR)||+34.9/+4|
|23.||Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis.)||+3:24.1/+6|
Check out the Watch Olympic Biathlon schedule for viewing options of all the races from Beijing. You can also follow all the action on the IBU app – download it today!