Tag Archives: 2018 Winter Olympics PyeongChang

PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Men’s Relay

Wow it has been a fantastic two weeks of biathlon in PyeongChang. Possibly the best ever Olympic Games for biathlon in terms of exciting races and all the different nations who picked up medals.

Today was the final race (sniff,sniff) but it was another good one. The conditions were much better for the men than the women but curiously only one team avoided the penalty loop for the men and three did for the women!!!

The golden team today was Sweden. They were fantastic from start to finish. Let’s start at the start though and the first leg saw Germany firmly in control of the race with a great leg from Erik Lesser. He used 1 spare in the stand and produced a brilliant ski to hand over with a comfortable lead.

Matej Kazar did a great job for Slovakia hitting 10/10, Austria were up there with Tobias Eberhard, Sweden were in the mix after 1 spare from Peppe Femling, Artem Pryma for Ukraine hit 10/10 and Lars Birkeland had a solid start for Norway using 2 spares. It was France who were the major casualty with Simon Desthieux having a disaster with 2 penalty loops on the stand.

Leg 2 saw Benedikt Doll keep Germany’s lead until the stand where he did 2 penalty loops letting all the following teams back into the race. It was the Czech Republic with Michal Slesingr who took advantage using just 1 spare. Jesper Nelin and Simon Eder were still towards the front along with Tarjei Boe.

Jaroslav Soukup was on the third leg for the Czech team but he was being chased by Sebastian Samuelsson, Johannes Boe and Julian Eberhard three of the fastest skiers there are!

Eberhard cracked first with 2 penalty loops on his standing shoot, Soukup had to do one too but Samuelsson and Boe just used 1 spare each and were neck and neck at the exchange. Arnd Peiffer did a great job for Germany hitting 10/10 and putting them back up to third. It was good to see after his Mixed Relay meltdown. Meanwhile Martin Fourcade’s efforts to haul back time failed when he also incurred a penalty loop probably from skiing too hard.

So the final leg came down to Fredrik Linstrom against Emil Svendsen. Now we all remember what happen to Emil in Sochi on the last leg when he took Norway from 1st to 4th so he must have been nervous! They matched each other on the prone and behind them Simon Schempp needed all three spares and so the gold medal was between Norway and Sweden.

When they arrived for the final shoot the wind suddenly got up and both missed their first shots. Lindstrom hit the other 4 but Emil missed another. With 1 spare Lindstrom hit the last target and the gold belonged to Sweden. Emil couldn’t hit his final target with the spares and had to go on the penalty loop.

Schempp couldn’t capitalize on Svendsen’s error and ended up on the penalty loop himself. He had enough time to still take the bronze medal, with Norway in silver and Sweden with just 7 spare rounds and no penalty loops were well deserved gold medallists.

Austria were 4th, France 5th and the USA were 6th.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Relay!

WOW! Just when you thought the biathlon races couldn’t get any better! The Women’s Relay was incredible! So much tension with so many ups and downs!

It started with snow! Unusual for the winter, I know! The wind was the big problem however with some horrible gusts hitting the range in different directions!

The first leg was again a good one for Italy. Lisa Vittozzi had another great start just using a single spare in the prone to hand over at the first exchange in the lead. She was followed by Susan Dunklee giving the USA a great start just needing 1 spare in the stand. Paulina Fialkova redeemed herself after a horrible Mixed Relay, when she shot on the wrong target, with just 1 spare required.

The first big casualty was Germany. Franziska Preuss went on the penalty loop after struggling terribly on the standing shoot. That left the door wide open for all the other teams.

Dorothea Wierer was on the second leg for Italy but she also had a nightmare this time in the prone incurring 2 penalty loops. At the second stand mayhem ensued! The wind was awful and caused almost everyone big problems. Kuzmina, Eckhoff, Herrmann and Vita Semerenko all ended up on the penalty loop and many others lost a lot of time shooting slowly. The best shoot however came from Dorothea Wierer! She cleaned the stand and left the range in the lead. A small biathlon miracle!

Kaisa Makarainen, with 2 spares needed, caught Wierer on the tracks and exchanged in the lead for Finland. The third leg was madness too with Poland’s Krystyna Guzik coming out on top. She did a penalty loop on the prone but used 1 spare in the stand to lead after leg three! Behind there were still many nations in the mix like Belarus, Slovakia, Switzerland and France. Germany couldn’t make up any ground with Franziska Hildebrand on the penalty loop as was Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold.

Some fantastic shooting from Nadezhda Skardino (2 spares), Iryna Kryuko (1 spare) and Dzinara Alimbekava (3 spares) had put Darya Domracheva in fourth place starting the last leg. She had Weronika Nowakowska in front of her as well as Anais Bescond and Federica Sanfilippo. Dasha cleaned the prone to take the lead while the others all needed spares.

That meant everything came down to the final shoot. With immense pressure on her Domracheva needed all three of her spares but when the last target went down the gold belonged to Belarus. Bescond came out after her but a stunning performance from Hanna Oberg hitting 10/10 left her in third.

She was able to pass the Frenchwomen to secure sliver for her teammates Linn Persson, Mona Brorsson and Anna Magnusson. The Swedes used 12 spares and the bronze medallists France with Anais Chevalier, Marie Dorin Habert, Justine Braisaz and Bescond used 14.

Norway finished 4th after a good leg from Marte Olsbu, Slovakia were fantastic in 5th and Switzerland also did really well finishing 6th.

It was a crazy race but an amazing spectacle and another great advert for biathlon. The men’s race tomorrow is the final event here in PyeongChang. Let’s hope they produce something similar!

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Mixed Relay!

Yet another dramatic biathlon race in PyeongChang. The Mixed Relay did not disappoint – well it did disappoint Germany but they aren’t short of medals, are they?!

The Italians were the first team to take the lead in this race. The brilliant Lisa Vittozzi, who should get a special gold medal for her performance, shot 10/10! She was so quick and accurate she made Martin Fourcade look like a beginner! Vanessa Hinz for Germany and Marie Dorin Habert did the same but Vittozzi handed over in the lead.

Marte Olsbu needed spares and put Norway on the back foot. Mona Brorsson ended Swedish hopes with 3 penalty loops and Paulina Fialkova did 5. I can only assume there was a problem with her rifle.

That left Dorothea Wierer at the front closely followed by Laura Dahlmeier and Anais Bescond. Bescond missed 1 in the prone but Wierer and Dahlmeier cleaned to give them a gap. In the stand Dahlmeier missed 1 while Wierer and Bescond needed all their spares.

Dahlmeier handed over a comfortable lead to Erik Lesser meanwhile Tiril Eckhoff went on the penalty loop for Norway and Dasha brought Belarus up to 4th.

Lesser had a straightforward leg just requiring 1 spare in the stand. It was the same for Lukas Hofer but Simon Desthieux for France hit 10/10. While that was going on Johannes Boe had dragged Norway right back to the front needing 1 spare but skiing fast.

Arnd Peiffer, a late replacement for the ill Simon Schempp, was out in front with Martin Fourcade, Emil Svendsen and Dominik Windisch chasing him down.

Peiffer had a nervous prone shoot needing 2 spares, Fourcade hit 5 and Svendsen and Windisch both used a spare. Fourcade was then left alone to hunt down Peiffer and challenge for the gold.

In the end it was heartbreak for Sprint gold medallist Peiffer as he went on the penalty loop on the stand. With Fourcade hitting 5 gold was assured for France. Svendsen used 1 spare to put Norway into silver medal position and Windisch used 2 which meant came out of the range just in front of Peiffer.

With gold and silver decided it was a race for bronze. It came down to a sprint and Windisch took it on the line. The German team protested that he had changed line in the straight and impeded Peiffer but after an agonising wait the jury decided that Peiffer didn’t have slow down due to Windisch’s actions and the bronze stayed with Italy.

Belarus were fantastic finishing 5th and Finland had a great run in 6th. Much will be made of Martin Fourcade winning a 5th gold medal but he is part of the team and they left him in a fabulous position. Occasionally Fourcade lets himself down like in the Idividual race but he rarely lets his team down and he didn’t today.

Spare a though for Arnd Peiffer and the German team though as it’s a tough thing to happen to anyone.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Men’s Mass Start!

In your face all other Winter Olympic Sports! The Men’s Mass Start today once again showed why biathlon is the best sport ever! It was an exciting race from start to finish – and WOW what a finish!

Martin Fourcade must have had a horrible sense of deja vu from the same race in Sochi 4 years ago. He was in the lead in that race too and was beaten on the line by millimetres by Emil Svendsen. Today in PyeongChang it was Simon Schemmp who sprinted with Fourcade to the line. This time however Fourcade snatched the gold medal by a toenail!

It all started off pretty calmly with an easy first lap for everyone. At the first shooting Fourcade missed one and Johannes Boe missed three throwing the race wide open.

It was Korea who took the lead after the first prone with Timofey Lapshin leaving the range first getting a cheer from the home crowd. His lead didn’t last long though as clean shooting from 14 of the biathletes left a big group at the front.

At the second prone it was Benedikt Doll who shot fast and clean to take the lead. He was followed by teammates Erik Lesser and Simon Schempp. Fourcade had already made up for his penalty loop and was back up beside the leaders.

At the third shoot Schempp, Lesser and Fourcade cleaned and were locked together all the way to the final shoot. The nerves were apparent as Lesser missed 2 and Fourcade and Schempp both missed 1. They came out of the penalty loop together and it would be a ski race for glory.

Behind them Svendsen cleaned and he was joined by Doll and Lesser to fight it out for bronze.

Schempp stuck with Fourcade all the way to the line. They both lunged at the end but it Fourcade who just got it. If Schemmp had started sprinting a little earlier it could have been different but Fourcade was not going to let history repeat itself and lose another gold medal by such a tiny margin.

The bronze went to Svendsen who proved stronger than the two Germans. He is a master of the Mass Start and it was great to see him on the podium for what will very likely be his last Olympics.

Lesser was 4th, Doll 5th and Julian Eberhard came home 6th. No one shot 20/20 today but Jesper Nelin got his personal best in 9th hitting 18/20.

Today’s race was a fantastic advert for biathlon. It was amazing! The men now have the Mixed Relay and the Men’s Relay left to race.

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Mass Start!

Just what was Anastasiya Kuzmina thinking? The Mass Start is supposed to be a close race with the lead changing hands lots of times!!! You are not meant to lead from the start line to the finish line, especially not in the Olympics!!!

What a fantastic biathlete she is. Winning today in PyeongChang means she has won a gold medal at the last three Olympic Games. An historic achievement by the Slovakian. She also dedicated her medal to Slovakia which just shows what a great person she is too!

Like I said she led the race from start to finish. She cleaned the first three shoots to leave the others with little chance of catching her. She did miss one shot on the final stand just to cause a little bit of excitement but she won comfortably in the end by 18.8 seconds.

The race was behind Kuzmina for the silver and bronze medals. Dahlmeier uncharacteristically missed on the first prone putting her out of the race. However Domracheva, Wierer, Oberg, Herrmann and Vitkova cleaned the first 10 shots and were all still in contention for the podium.

It was Domracheva who blinked first missing her first target in the stand leaving Wierer to take second place with Vitkova and Vittozzi behind her.

At the final shoot they were joined by a fast approaching Tiril Eckhoff who cleaned along with Domracheva. Wierer, Vittozzi and Vitkova all missed a target and so left Domracheva to take the silver and Eckhoff to get the bronze. Remarkably Eckhoff also won the bronze in the Mass Start in Sochi. She likes to leave it late!

Lisa Vittozzi finished 4th, Oberg was 5th and Wierer 6th. Two women shot 20/20, Nadezhda Skardino in 7th and Monika Hojnisz in 15th.

That was the final individual race for the women who now have the Mixed Relay and the Women’s Relay left to go.

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PyeongChang 2018: The Olympic Individuals!

Well we had to wait an extra day for the Women’s Individual but it was worth it! After being cancelled on Wednesday due to the wind the Women’s Individual took place just before the men’s race.

It was Sweden’s Hanna Öberg who won the gold medal. She has been in good form in PyeongChang but no one expected her to take the victory. She was outstanding today. She hit the perfect 20/20 and skied really well. This is her first ever victory and to do it at the Olympics at only 22 is a dream come true.

The silver medal went to Anastasiya Kuzmina who missed 2 targets and finished 25 seconds back. The bronze medal went to Laura Dahlmeier who missed 1 shot but takes her medal total to 3 from 3 races. Amazing!

Fransizka Preuss was 4th hitting 20/20, Paulina Fialkova was 5th and Monika Hojnisz was 6th. Slovenia’s Urska Poje took a massive personal best hitting 20/20 in 12th and Joanne Reid also got a personal best in 22nd with 19/20.

The men’s race was a tense affair. It looked like Martin Fourcade was going to win easily after his main rival Johannes Boe missed 2 shots and he hit 15/15. However at the final shoot Fourcade also missed two and had no chance of catching Johannes on the track.

That meant gold for the young Norwegian who has had a rocky start to these Olympics after a super World Cup season. The silver medal went to Jakov Fak who hit all 20. He has had two horrible seasons with illness and injury so it was a great result for him. The same goes for Dominik Landertinger who had back surgery at the start of the season and came home third also with a clean shoot to win bronze.

Sebastian Samuelsson was 4th with 1 miss, Fourcade was 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. The only other man to shoot 20/20 was Artem Tyshchenko in 29th. Scott Gow hit 19/20 to take his personal best to 14th and Martin Ponsiluoma missed 2 but got his personal best of 38th.

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PyeongChang 2018: The Olympic Pursuits!

The Pursuit race – when the cream rises to the top. Unless you are Laura Dahlmeier of course and already at the top! That’s right she started first and she finished first! Laura led this one most of the way with a short visit from Anastasiya Kuzmina but it was a comfortable race for the double gold medallist.

She hit 19/20 and won by a margin of 30 seconds. She has mastered the winds of PyeongChang and that’s what made the difference. Kuzmina moved up to second and just managed to stay there beating Anais Bescond over the line by 0.2 of a second. Kuzmina missed 4 while Bescond only missed 1 shot and moved from 19th to claim the bronze medal.

Marte Olsbu was 4th, Hanna Oberg was 5th and Denise Herrmann was 6th. The biggest mover of the day was Rosanna Crawford who despite missing twice went from 53rd to 19th!

In the men’s race a certain Mr. Fourcade remembered that he is supposed to win races and put the Sprint debacle behind him. It was a close race up until the third shoot when Fourcade cleaned and all his rivals missed to leave him with a clear path to the gold medal.

He shot 19/20 and won by only 12 seconds in the end but he did slow down to celebrate and do a bit of flag waving. The fight behind him was where the real race was. From the group behind Fourcade only two held their nerve to shoot clean and so it came down to a ski race between Sebastian Samuelsson and Benedikt Doll.

Doll had the lead out of the range but Samuelsson basically stalked him round and it seems he loves this course as he skis it faster than everyone else. He overtook Doll and held him off to take the silver medal at 20-years-old. The Swede shot 19/20 coming from 14th to 2nd and the German also hit 19/20 to claim bronze. I was very happy to see these guys on the podium as they have both done interviews for my blog!!!

Tarjei Boe was 4th, Simon Schempp 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. Tim Burke had a great race moving from 47th to 17th.

Tuesday is a day off and the Games continue on Wednesday with the Women’s Individual.

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