The biathlon events at the 2018 Olympic Games began with the women’s 7.5km sprint. The cold, windy conditions didn’t slow Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, who shot clean on her way to the gold medal. First-time Olympian Julia Ransom of Canada was the top North American, finishing 40th, while American Emily Dreissigacker rolled in at 51st.
The next day, the men tackled the 10km sprint race, also in windy conditions. American Lowell Bailey finished 33rd with one penalty, while Nathan Smith of Canada finished 44th. The battle for the podium was tight, with Czech athlete Michal Krcmar finishing 4.4 seconds off of Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who took home the gold.
Canmore, Alta. native Rosanna Crawford had a spectacular race in the women’s Pursuit. Ranked 53rd, Crawford flew by her competitors in the ski and only took two penalties at the range. After 10 kilometres of racing, she finished 19th, her best result to date. Dahlmeier secured her second gold of the Games, with Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia in second. The lone American, Dreissigacker, finished in 47th place with four missed shots.
American Tim Burke took advantage of the changing weather conditions in the men’s 12.5km Pursuit to finish a career-best 17th. He flew around the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, missing only two shots, 19.6 seconds back of the gold medalist Martin Fourcade of France. Extreme winds picked up throughout the event, making the shooting conditions variable. Canada’s top performer was Smith, who suffered five penalties, ending up 54th at 6:06.5 down.
After postponing the event due to high winds, the women took to the snow a day later to compete in the 15km Individual. Underdog Hanna Öeberg of Sweden shot clean to take her first career victory and podium at her first Olympics. Kuzmina of Slovakia was the runner-up with two penalties, while U.S.A.’S Joanne Reid was the best of the North Americans in 22nd with one penalty. Crawford was once again the top Canadian, finishing 26th.
The men’s event was held later that night, with Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe taking home the gold despite two penalties. This was Norway’s first biathlon gold at the 2018 Games. He completed the 20km course 2:02.5 ahead of Canada’s Scott Gow, who finished strong in 14th and was the top North American on the day. Jakov Fak of Slovenia and Dominik Landertinger of Austria filled out the podium, both with clean shooting. The U.S. squad had a tough day with their top finisher; Burke placing 41st with four missed targets.
After two consecutive second places, Kuzmina of Slovakia finally took the top spot in the women’s 12.5km Mass Start with only one penalty. Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished 18.8 seconds off, also with one penalty, while Tiril Eckoff of Norway won the bronze medal with two penalties. No Americans or Canadians qualified in the top-30 to be eligible for the women’s Mass Start.
The 20km men’s Mass-start event had a thrilling finale between Fourcade of France and Simon Schempp of Germany, which came down to a photo finish. Despite the Frenchman’s two penalties, the pair entered the finish stretch together, and after a leg-zapping sprint, it was Fourcade who took his fourth career gold medal. The battle for bronze was also dramatic, with Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway having less than a second on his rival from Germany. There were no Americans or Canadians in the men’s Mass-start.
In the Mixed relay, the French team secured the gold medal with only four spares, giving Fourcade his third gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games. They edged out Norwegian team by 20.9 seconds, which accumulated one penalty and 11 spares. Italy finished in third with seven spares. The Canadian team of Crawford, Ransom, Christian Gow and Brendan Green narrowly missed out on a top-10 by just under five seconds, while the U.S. team placed 15th.
Crawford and Ransom were back in action two days later in the women’s 4x6km relay. They battled snowy conditions to place 10th with the help of their Canadian teammates Sarah Beaudry and Emma Lunder. The U.S. came in 28.5 seconds later in 13th with one penalty and 10 spares. At the front of the race, the lead was changing constantly as they fought the challenging weather. Italy, Belarus, Finland and Poland all took turns leading the race, but it was Domracheva of Belarus who pushed clear on the final leg, using three spares to secure the gold medal for her team. Sweden came in second with 12 spares, and France was in the bronze-medal position with 14 spares.
The men’s 4x7.5km relay was the final biathlon event of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Sweden took home its first relay gold medal after a dominant last-lap performance by Fredrik Lindström. It looked as if it was going to be a tight race for the win between Lindström and Norway’s anchor Svendsen, but the Swede flew around the Alpensia Biathlon Center, putting almost one minute into his rival with only one spare. Team USA secured its best-ever result at the men’s relay with a sixth-place result. The team composed of Bailey, Burke, Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren crossed the line at 3:50.2 behind Sweden, with 14 spares and two penalties. After four successful Olympic appearances, this is Burke and Bailey’s final Olympics. The Canadian squad placed 11th, with one penalty and 11 spares. – NS
Feb. 10, 2018 Women’s 7.5km Sprint 1. Laura Dahlmeier (GER) 21:06.2; 2. Marte Olsbu (NOR) 21:30.4; 3. Veronika Vitkova (CZE) 21:32.0; CAN/US 40. Julia Ransom (CAN) 23:15.0; 51. Emily Dreissigacker (USA) 23:27.2; 53. Rosanna Crawford (CAN) 23:29.2; 54. Emma Lunder (CAN) 23:30.4; 57. Megan Tandy (CAN) 23:42.8; 61. Clare Egan (USA) 23:51.6; 66. Susan Dunklee (USA) 24:13.1; 86. Joanne Firesteel Reid (USA) 26:18.8.
Feb. 11, 2018 Men’s 10km Sprint 1. Arnd Peiffer (GER) 23:38.8; 2. Michal Krcmar (CZE) 23:43.2; 3. Dominik Windisch (ITA) 23:46.5; CAN/US 33. Lowell Bailey (USA) 24:54.4; 44. Nathan Smith (CAN) 25:22.3; 47. Tim Burke (USA) 25:26.3; 58. Leif Nordgren (USA) 25:49.0; 61. Scott Gow (CAN) 25:52.8; 62. Christian Gow (CAN) 25:53.5; 65. Sean Doherty (USA) 25:55.2; 82. Brendan Green (CAN) 26:48.0.
Feb. 12, 2018 Men’s 12.5km Pursuit 1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) 32:51.7; 2. Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE) 33:03.7; 3. Benedikt Doll (GER) 33:06.8; CAN/US 17. Tim Burke (USA) 35:11.3; 32. Lowell Bailey (USA) 36:43.3; 50. Leif Nordgren (USA) 38:40.4; 54. Nathan Smith (CAN) 38:58.2; Women’s 10km Pursuit 1. Laura Dahlmeier (GER) 30:35.3; 2. Anastazia Kuzmina (SVK) 31:04.7; 3. Anais Bescond (FRA) 31:04.9; CAN/US 19. Rosanna Crawford (CAN) 33:03.0; 28. Julia Ransom (CAN) 33:38.3; 47. Emily Dreissigacker (USA) 35:36.7; 53. Emma Lunder (CAN) 36:52.1; DNS Megan Tandy (CAN).
Feb. 14, 2018 Women’s 15km Individual 1. Hanna Oeberg (SWE) 41:07.2; 2. Anastazia Kuzmina (SVK) 41:31.9; 3. Laura Dahlmeier (GER) 41:48.4; CAN/US 19. Susan Dunklee (USA) 44:33.5; 22. Joanne Firesteel Reid (USA) 44:41.3; 26. Rosanna Crawford (CAN) 44.55.9; 29. Sarah Beaudry (CAN) 45:05.6; 54. Emma Lunder (CAN) 46:56.6; 62. Clare Egan (USA) 48:00.8; 67. Emily Dreissigacker (USA) 48:16.4; 74. Julia Ransom (CAN) 49:38.9.
Feb. 15, 2018 Men’s 20km Individual 1. Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 48:03.8; 2. Jakov Fak (SLO) 48:09.3; 3. Dominik Landertinger (AUT) 48:18.0; CAN/US 14. Scott Gow (CAN) 50:06.3; 22. Brendan Green (CAN) 50:30.4; 26. Christian Gow (CAN) 51:01.0; 41. Tim Burke (USA) 52:05.7; 44. Sean Doherty (USA) 52:25.6; 51. Lowell Bailey (USA) 52:56.8; 66. Leif Nordgren (USA) 54:31.1; 81. Nathan Smith (CAN) 56:15.7.
Feb. 17, 2018 Women’s 12.5km Mass Start 1. Anastazia Kuzmina (SVK) 35:23.0; 2. Darya Domracheva (BLR) 35:41.8; 3. Tiril Eckhoff (NOR) 35:50.7.
Feb. 18, 2018 Men’s 15km Mass Start 1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) 35:47.3; 2. Simon Schempp (GER) 35:47.3; 3. Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) 35:58.5.
Feb. 20, 2018 Women’s 2x6km + Men’s 2x7.5km Mixed Relay 1. France (Marie Dorin Habert, Anais Bescond, Simon Desthieux, Martin Fourcade) 1:08:34.3; 2. Norway (Marte Olsbu, Tiril Eckhoff, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen) 1:08:55.2; 3. Italy (Lisa Vittozzi, Dorothea Wierer, Lukas Hofer, Dominik Windisch) 1:09:01.2; CAN/US 12. Canada (Rosanna Crawford, Julia Ransom, Brendan Green, Christian Gow) 1:11:11.0; 15. USA (Susan Dunklee, Joanne Firesteel Reid, Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey) 1:12:05.4.
Feb. 22, 2018 Women’s 4x6km Relay 1. Belarus (Dzinara Alimbekava, Iryna Kryuko, Nadezhda Skardino, Darya Domracheva) 1:12:03.4; 2. Sweden (Anna Magnusson, Linn Persson, Mona Brorsson, Hanna Oeberg) 1:12:14.1; 3. France (Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz, Marie Dorin Habert, Anais Chevalier) 1:12:21.0; CAN/US 8. Canada (Julia Ransom, Sarah Beaudry, Rosanna Crawford, Emma Lunder) 1:13:36.8; 13. USA (Susan Dunklee, Joanne Firesteel Reid, Emily Dreissigacker, Clare Egan) 1:14:05.3.
Feb. 23, 2018 Men’s 4x7.5km Relay 1. Sweden (Sebastian Samuelsson, Peppe Femling, Fredrik Lindstroem, Jesper Nelin) 1:15:16.5; 2. Norway (Lars Helge Birkeland, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, Johannes Thingnes Boe) 1:16:12.0; 3. Germany (Simon Schempp, Benedikt Doll, Erik Lesser, Arnd Peiffer) 1:17:23.6; CAN/US 6. USA (Tim Burke, Sean Doherty, Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren) 1:19:06.7; 11. Canada (Brendan Green, Macx Davies, Christian Gow, Scott Gow) 1:20:56.8.
Tim Burke earned a career-best 17th in the men's 12.5km Pursuit and was part of Team USA'S bestever 6th in the men's relay.
Canada's Rosanna Crawford had a spectacular women's Pursuit race, finishing a career-best 19th.
Canada's Scott Gow was a stellar 14th in the men's 20km at his Olympic debut.