Slovakia wins first-ever gold medal

Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia won gold on Saturday in the women’s 7.5km biathlon sprint event at Whistler Olympic Park.

This was the first gold medal for Slovakia since they first competed at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.  Since then, they have only captured one medal, silver, at the 2006 games in Turin.

Kuzmina was ranked 28th in the world coming into Vancouver and was not expected to make the podium, but after missing only one of 10 shots she was able to post a time of 19:55.6.

German Magdalena Neuner, a serious medal contender heading into the Games, finished in second place 1.5 seconds behind the leader. 

Frances Marie Dorin rounded out the top three with a third place finish.

Megan Tandy from Prince George, B.C., was the top Canadian finishing in the 46th position.

Veteran Canadian Zina Kocher finished in 65th place followed by teammates Rosanna Crawford in 72nd and Megan Imrie in 76th.

Crawford shared a great moment with her father following the race when he interviewed her on behalf of CTV.

“I am so proud of you. I can’t believe that you were able to shoot perfect,” he said.

The snow conditions at Whistler Park had been a concern leading up to the start of the race.  The course was hit hard with rain over the past few days and had to be sprinkled with fertilizer to harden it.

This was the first of 10 biathlon events scheduled for the games.  The men’s sprint will be tomorrow morning from 11:15 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. PT.