Biathlon events begin as France and Germany top Sprints on Day 3, while Norway and Ukraine take Pursuit events on Day 4.
The Biathlon, one of the more prestigious winter events of the Olympics, got underway on Day 3 of the Winter Youth Olympics at Lillehammer. Combining elements of Cross-Country Skiing and rifle shooting, the sport has its roots in Norwegian culture as a method of training in the military. It’s a strenuous sport, as Emilien Claude – Sunday’s winner in the men’s Sprint – would well testify. The event tests the athletes’ endurance and ability to adapt to the conditions, as much as their speed and skills on the ice. For the uninitiated who seek to know more, you can read up on the essentials of the Biathlon, and its various forms here. And if you’re looking to dig deeper, you could always start with Wikipedia.
Results from Day 3.
Men’s 7.5km Sprint.
The first gold in the Biathlon was won by France’s Emilien Claude, a 16-year-old who hails from a family of excellent skiers. His brothers, both older, have already made their marks in international biathlon events. Emilien, however, has secured considerable bragging rights with his gold medal winning time of 19:01.5, including a perfect performance in shooting. That, perhaps, proved to be the difference, as the silver medalist, Norway’s Sivert Guttorm Bakken, beat his time over the third lap. But the young Frenchman had taken an unassailable lead after his second round of shooting.
— Nick Butler (@NickJMButler) February 14, 2016
“In lap three, in my head it was ‘maybe I win, maybe no’. I wanted to ski before thinking [about the result],” Claude said. “When I was approaching the finish it was too hard, it was too long. But when I finished and saw that I was first, I thought ‘wow’.”
Bakken, who finished at 19:08.6, was essentially on home ground, and was disappointed at losing out on the top spot. But after serving two penalties against the clean shooting of Claude, it was always going to be an uphill task. Russia’s Egor Tutmin, finishing at 19:19.5 rounded off the podium in third.
Women’s 6km Sprint.
It all worked out perfectly in the end for Germany’s Juliane Fruehwirt, as she crossed the finish line at an impressive 18:23.5 to secure gold. She, too, shot perfectly when it mattered, and finished 5.6 seconds ahead of Norway’s Marthe Krakstad Johansen, who finished second with a penalty. Drained both emotionally and physically, the young German marveled at both the fierce competition and her own performance as she clutched at her hard-earned medal in the end.
“I can only cry and cry and cry because of all the joy. It was five years of hard work, I learned shooting and it was very difficult because I wasn’t good at it.”
— Lillehammer2016 (@lillehammer2016) February 14, 2016
Bronze medalist Arina Pantova of Kazakhstan finished with a timing of 18:40.6, reveling in her performance and the fact that she outmatched the timings of her father and brother, both of whom have featured in past Olympics.
Results from Day 4.
Men’s 10km Pursuit.
Norway’s Sivert Guttorm Bakken followed up his second place finish in the Sprint on Day 3 with an emphatic win in the Pursuit on Monday. Finishing at an excellent 28:10.7, the biathlete crossed the line while waving a Norwegian flag, while the ‘home crowd’ went wild watching.
“There was a friend at the corner, I got it from them. It was perfect [to finish with the flag].”
— Youth Olympic Games (@youtholympics) February 16, 2016
The silver and bronze were both won by Russia. Egor Tutmin, who had won bronze in the Sprint on Sunday, finished second at 29:21.4, while his teammate Said Karimulla Khalili finished third with a time of 29:28.4 with four penalties.
Women’s 7.5km Pursuit.
Khrystyna Dmytrenko won Ukraine’s first ever Winter Youth Olympics gold in a tightly fought women’s pursuit event on Monday. Timing at 25:12.9, Dmytrenko served two penalties, but pulled off clean shots in her third round to gain a good advantage on the others. The young Ukranian expressed pride and happiness at her country’s first medal after winning, and that her mother saw her performance.
“Just when crossing the line I was absolutely happy, thinking that my mum was watching this race, right now.”
Marthe Krakstad Johansen of Norway won her second silver of these games after having finished second in the Sprint the previous day. She edged out France’s Lou Jeanmonnot Laurent by an incredible 0.1 of a second, making for an exciting finish. Laurent, naturally was disappointed after losing second place so narrowly, lamenting that she was too late in noticing Johansen.
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