As explosive as experiment day in Alfred Nobel’s laboratory, the first ever Single Mixed Relay at the World Championships went off with a bang!
It was Norway (surprise, surprise) that were the history makers today in Oestersund taking the first gold medal in this event at a major Championships. Johannes Boe and Marte Olbsu Roeiseland proved a great combination mainly of ski speed and sometimes of shooting.
The action was non stop and left everyone breathless as team after team took the lead and then lost the lead and then regained the lead again!!
After the first lap Italy were in first place with Dorothea Wierer using only 1 spare. There was nothing in it though with Austria and Ukraine right behind and by the first prone for the men there were 7 teams together on the range.
There were quite a few spares required by the boys including 3 for Johannes Boe on the stand, 2 for Lukas Hofer and 3 altogether from Sebastian Samuelsson. Dmytro Pidruchnyi cleaned the stand, as did Antonin Guigonnat, Simon Eder and Erik Lesser.
They exchanged to the women in that order but it soon changed with Denise Herrmann taking the lead out on the tracks. Wierer, Hauser and Merkushyna cleaned the prone but Herrmann, Oberg and Roeiseland needed 1 spare each.
Herrmann again passed on the tracks to lead into the stand but needed 2 spares as did Hauser, Wierer used 1 but crucially Roeiseland and Oberg cleaned.
That left Italy in the lead at the last exchange but just 1 second ahead of Norway and 6 ahead of Sweden. All three cleaned the prone and so it would come down to the stand to decide the medals. Boe, who has had problems in the stand here in Oestersund, hit all 5 and skied off to take the gold. Hofer needed 1 spare but was safe in second place.
Sweden took the bronze with Samuelsson also needing just the 1 spare to hold off the charging Erik Lesser who hit 10/10 in his leg and 20/20 overall.
It was an action packed race all the way to the final shoot and a great addition to the World Championships. Germany were 4th, Ukraine 5th and Russia 6th.
Poor Austria who have never finished off the podium in this race on the World Cup were 8th.
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