SkiTrax - - Out In Front -

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.

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