Biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has done it again, getting his sixth career Olympic gold medal, this time anchoring his Norwegian team to a convincing win in the 4 X 7.5 km relay.
Entering the final shooting stage of the relay, Bjoerndalen was in a dead heat with Russia’s Evgeny Ustyugov. It appeared the two skiers would battle right through to the final sprint, but instead Ustyugov struggled with his shooting, missing three times and wasting valuable time reloading bullets.
Bjoerndalen took advantage by hitting all five of his targets perfectly, allowing him to leave Ustyugov behind in his tracks and would end up winning by a full 38 seconds over his next competitor.
By the time the Russian could finish his shots, Austrian Christoph Summan caught up and the two skied away together in what became a very tight race for silver.
The two skiers were side-by-side the entire final stretch, but the Austrian pulled ahead in the final 50 metres to take silver by just half a ski length.
In addition to being Bjoerndalen’s sixth gold, it was also his 11th overall medal, far and away the most of any biathlete in Olympic history.
It was also a historic finish for the entire country of Norway. The relay medal was the 300th in the country’s history, extending its lead overall among all nations at the Winter Games.
Canada was not a favourite to hit the podium, but finished a very respectable 10th place considering the circumstances.
Robin Clegg, Marc-Andre Bedard, Brendan Green, and Jean-Phillipe Le Guellec all make up the first Canadian Olympic relay team since the 1994 Winter Games.
Another hurdle was that Le Guellec was the only Canadian to qualify and compete in any individual events at these Winter Games.