Sochi – Olympic gold medal for Ole Einar Björndalen

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won gold in the men’s biathlon 10-kilometer sprint at the  Sochi Winter Olympics despite missing one of his targets on the course at Kraynaya Polyana, outside of Sochi. Bjoerndalen, who is competing in his sixth Olympic Games, made up for missing the target with high speed in the closing stages to clinch victory with a time of 24 minutes 33.5 seconds. Dominik Landertinger of Austria took silver and Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic claimed the bronze medal.

These Olympic Biathlon competitions opened under perfect conditions, a clear evening with no wind. That combination meant that nothing short of perfection would win a Gold medal, unless you were the legendary Björndalen. The victory made Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, at the age of 40 years and 13 days, the oldest-ever athlete to win an individual Olympic event. The victory also saw Bjoerndalen equal the 12 medals won by compatriot Bjoern Daehlie in cross-country skiing. No athlete has won more medals at the Winter Olympics. « In my eyes Bjoern is still the biggest athlete in Norway, » Bjoerndalen said. « I am just looking from race to race now. » And if he won taday that’s because he never gave up : « This victory has been a four-year job and it has been many years since I won (an individual gold medal), but life is too short to give up, » said Bjoerndalen. « I think this is one of my most important victories. »

The Norwegian will get the chance to break Daehlie’s record in the men’s pursuit on Monday, but he played down comparisons between the pair. « It’s difficult to compare us at this time because Bjorn was some years ago and now we have a lot more disciplines, » he said Bjoerndalen. « Bjorn did not have as many chances to win, so for me Bjorn is and always will be the biggest athlete ever in Norway. »

Russia’s Anton Shipulin finished fourth, with one penalty, just .7 seconds behind Soukup. Fifth went to Canada’s clean-shooting Jean Philippe Leguellec, 9.7 seconds back. Martin Fourcade of France, with one penalty, 12.4 seconds back finished sixth.

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