2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Biathlon Men’s 20 k individual
It was a disappointing opening to the Olympics for Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway, who despite winning eight World Cup races this season started the Games with finishes of 31st and 21st in the sprint and pursuit. But on Thursday he showed why he was a medal favorite and won the 20 k individual race – only by 5.5 seconds, but that margin becomes impressive when you consider that he had two penalties, and thus two minutes of penalty time, while silver and bronze medalists Jakov Fak of Slovenia and Dominik Landertinger of Austria (+14.2) shot clean.
Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson followed up a silver medal in the pursuit with fourth place in the individual, missing one shot and notching a time 29.1 seconds behind Bø. France’s Martin Fourcade, gold medalist in the pursuit, missed two shots like Bø but finished in fifth (+42.4). Switzerland’s Benjamin Weger placed sixth (+48.6) with one penalty.
It was a good day for Canada on the back of strong shooting: Scott Gow placed 14th (+2:02.5) with one penalty for a career-best result result; he had previously had two 16th-place finishes on the World Cup this season. With the same shooting, Brendan Green placed 22nd (+2:26.6). Christian Gow had two penalties to finish 26th (+2:57.2). Canada’s fourth man, Nathan Smith, missed five shots and placed 81st (+8:11.9).
For the United States, shooting was not as successful and Tim Burke led the way in 41st (+4:01.9) with four penalties. With one less penalty Sean Doherty was close behind in 44th (+4:21.8). Lowell Bailey placed 51st with four penalties (+4:53.0) and Leif Nordgren missed five shots to finish 66th (+6:27.3).
Biathlon: Women’s 15 k individual
A few days after teammate Samuelson scored a career-best result to earn silver in the pursuit, Hanna Öberg of Sweden used perfect 20-for-20 shooting to capture gold in the women’s 15 k individual. The 22-year-old’s previous best results were fifth place in both Monday’s pursuit, and in a World Cup race last season.
She bested the two pre-race favorites: Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia had two penalties but still managed a silver medal, her second of the games, finishing +24.7. And double gold medalist Laura Dahlmeier of Germany had one penalty and earned bronze (+41.2).
It was a good day for both of those teams as Franziska Preuss of Germany finished fourth, +59.0 with clean shooting, and Paulina Fialkova of Slovakia placed sixth (+1:02.3) with one missed shot. Poland’s Monika Hojnicz finished sixth (+1:54.8) with one missed shot as well.
The United States was led by Susan Dunklee in 19th, with two penalties (+3:26.3). Her teammate Joanne Reid finished 22nd (+3:34.1), her best-ever result in top-level international competition, with just one missed shot. Clare Egan finished 62nd (+6:53.6) and Emily Dreissigacker 67th (+7:09.2) with four penalties apiece.
For Canada, Rosanna Crawford led the way in 26th (+3:48.7) with two penalties and Sarah Beaudry was close behind in 29th (+3:58.4) with one missed shot. Emma Lunder finished 54th (+5:49.4) with three penalties and Julia Ransom was 74th (+8:31.4) with five missed shots.
Montana State University student Johanna Talihärm of Estonia finished 50th (+5:36.8) with three penalties.
Cross-Country Skiing: Women’s 10 k freestyle
Thursday afternoon saw more of the same for the women’s cross-country ski events at this year’s Winter Olympics: Scandinavia filling up the podium, with American Jessie Diggins tantalizingly close to that breakthrough American podium in fifth. This time it was Norwegian Ragnhild Haga in first in the 10 kilometer freestyle individual start, Charlotte Kalla of Sweden in second (+20.3), and Finland’s Krista Pärmäkoski and Norway’s Marit Bjørgen tied for third (+31.9).
The bronze is Bjørgen’s 12th lifetime Olympic medal, moving her into a tie with fellow Norwegian Bjørn Dæhlie for the most Olympic medals won by a cross-country skier. Countryman Ole Einar Bjørndalen, a biathlete, holds the overall Winter Olympics record with 13.
Diggins was 35.2 seconds back of Haga in fifth. She was in seventh place through 1.6 k, up to fifth at 5 k, up to third at 6.2 k, and still in third at the 8.4-k time checkpoint, 1.9 seconds up on Bjørgen and five seconds up on Pärmäkoski. But her form seemed to break down over the final uphill, and Diggins lost just enough time on Bjørgen and Pärmäkoski over the final 1.6 k to slip off the podium.
Between a 4.6-second deficit to third in Saturday’s skiathlon and a 3.3-second gap here, Diggins has now missed two bronze medals by a combined 7.9 seconds over 25 kilometers of racing.
Sixth place went to Swiss skier Nathalie von Siebenthal (+49.8), who slowed slightly after a fast start that saw her with the second-ranked time through 1.6 k. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (+1:05.5), in seventh, was the third Norwegian in the top seven.
Olympic Athlete from Russia Anastasia Sedova (+1:07.3), Austrian Teresa Stadlober (+1:15.6), and Olympic Athlete from Russia Anna Nechaevskaya (+1:24.3) rounded out the top ten.
Sadie Bjornsen (+1:42.1) in 15th and Kikkan Randall (+1:49.9) in 16th were the next two Americans. Randall started relatively early with bib number 23, and was the leader in the clubhouse when she crossed the finish line. Liz Stephen (+2:35.4) was 30th.
For the Canadians, Emily Nishikawa (+2:41.) led the way in 32nd. Dahria Beatty (+2:48.4) was 37th, Cendrine Brown (+3:11.9) 43rd, and Anne-Marie Comeau (+4:10.8) 62nd.
Also of note, Australia’s Jessica Yeaton, who lives and trains in Anchorage with Alaska Pacific University, recorded an Olympics personal best finish of 41st (+3:09.1). University of Alaska Anchorage student Casey Wright, also competing for Australia, finished 81st (+6:55.8).
University of Colorado skier and NCAA champion Petra Hyncicova of the Czech Republic finished 60th (+4:09.4). University of New Hampshire alum Annika Taylor of Great Britain finished 75th (+5:52.4).
And Jaqueline Mourau of Brazil, who lives and trains in Quebec, was 74th (+5:49.8).