CANOE NAGANO '98 ISP DIRECTORY
Saturday, February 21, 1998
Germany wins men's biathlon relay
NOZAWA ONSEN, Japan (AP) -- Alone they faltered. Together they reasserted Grman biathlon power as the shoot-and-ski sport climaxed today at the Olympic games with Germany capturing the 30-kilometer relay.
Never higher than sixth in individual events at Nagano, the Germans took their third straight Olympic relay gold. Snapping back from a 14-year slump, Norway won the silver and Germany's archrival, Russia, secured a bronze.
Racing with three of the same biathletes who won gold at Lillehammer four years ago, the Germans finished in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 36.2 seconds. Norway was clocked at 1:21:56.3 and Russia at 1:22.19.3.
The Germans had a near-perfect race.
Veteran Ricco Gross, who won his fifth Olympic medal, surged forward at the start. Peter Sendl shot 10-for-10 and skied the fastest leg. Powerfully built Sven Fischer, second behind leader Latvia at mid-race, widened the gap over the closest challenger to 1:10. Then it was anchor Frank Luck's turn.
"The pressure on Frank at the range was great. We were ahead and everyone expected him not to miss," Fischer said of his brother-in-law.
Luck's luck almost ran out. He needed three extra shots at the firing line. And the Norwegians had moved from sixth place to second and were closing in fast.
"You had this strange feeling. This is the last lag of the last race and it's a matter of a gold or not," said the veteran Luck. "But I was ahead so I had some time to think. It's not the same when a bunch of others are breathing down your neck."
Although Norway's anchor, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, shot perfectly and outskied Luck, the gap was too wide and Luck crossed the finish line waving a German flag, the same flourish used by the German women's relay team two days earlier.
Overall, the Germans needed only six extra shots, while the Norwegian and Russian teams each took seven.
The Norwegians, who had not won an Olympic biathlon medal since 1984, were favored in the relay after their victories here in the men's 10K and 20K events.
But their pace in the first half of the race wasn't fast enough and Bjoerndalen's older brother Dag needed four extra shots in the third leg. In probably the day's gutsiest effort, 10K winner Ole Einar skied the second fastest leg of the race, a blistering 19:48.4, and by the last kilometer had narrowed the gap between him and Luck to just 20 seconds.
Brewing in the Norwegian camp was a controversy over the make-up of the quartet, which did not include 10K silver medalist Frode Andresen. The Norwegian team defended the action at a press conference, saying winners in individual events don't necessarily do as well in relays.
Olympic biathlon competition ended with Germany and Norway sharing top honors with two gold apiece and five medals overall. Russia also gathered two golds, three total.
The United States finished 17th, and needed 15 extra shots from Andrew Erickson of Minnetonka, Minn.; Jay Hakkinen of Kasilof, Aaska; Robert Rosser of Underhill, Vt.; and Dan Westover of Colchester, Vt.
NOZAWA ONSEN, Japan (AP) -- Final results Saturday from the biathlon medal event at the Winter Olympics:
Men's 4x7.5km relay (penalties in parentheses): 1. Germany (Ricco Gross; Peter Sendel; Sven Fischer; Frank Luck), One hour 21 minutes 36.2 seconds (0); 2. Norway (Egil Gjelland; Halvard Hanevold; Dag Bjoerndalen; Ole Bjoerndalen), 1:21:56.3 (0); 3. Russia (Pavel Mouslimov; Vladimir Dratschev; Sergei Tarassov; Viktor Maigurrov), 1:22:19.3 (0); 4. Belarus (Aleksei Aidarov; Oleg Ryzhenkov; Aleksandr Popov; Vadim Sashurin), 1:23:14.0 (0); 5. Poland (Wieslaw Ziemianin; Tomasz Sikora; Jan Ziemianin; Wojciech Kozub), 1:24:09.8 (0).
6. Latvia (Olegs Maluhins; Ilmars Bricis; Gundars Upenieks; Jekabs Nakums), 1:24:24.4 (2); 7. France (Andreas Heymann; Raphael Poiree; Thierry Dusserre; Patrice Bailly-Salins), 1:24:53.0 (2); 8. Finland (Ville Raikkonen; Paavo Puurunen; Harri Eloranta; Olli-Pekka Peltola), 1:25:01.4 (2); 9. Italy (Patrick Favre; Wilfried Pallhuber; Rene Cattarinussi; Pier Carrara), 1:25:07.3 (1); 10. Sweden (Mikael Loefgren; Jonas Eriksson; Tord Wiksten; Fredrik Kuoppa), 1:25:25.7 (0).
11. Austria (Wolfgang Perner; Ludwig Gredler; Reinhard Neuner; Wolfgang Rottmann), 1:25:33.8 (2); 12. Slovenia (Aleksander Grajf; Joze Poklukar; Janez Ozbolt; Tomaz Globocnik), 1:25:43.2 (2); 13. Estonia (Janno Prants; Indrek Tobreluts; Kalju Ojaste; Dimitri Borovik), 1:26:30.2 (0); 14. Czech Republic (Petr Garabik; Zdenek Vitek; Jiri Holubec; Ivan Masarik), 1:26:35.5 (0); 15. Japan (Kyoji Suga; Hironao Meguro; Shuichi Sekiya; Atsushi Kazama), 1:27:55.7 (4).
16. Kazakhstan (Dimitriy Pantov; Dmitriy Pozdnyakov; Alexandr Menchshikov; Valeriy Ivanov), 1:27:56.0 (1); 17. U.S. (Jay Hakkinen; Dan Westover; Andy Erickson; Robert Rosser), 1:28:13.9 (0); 18. Ukraine (Vyacheslav Derkach; Ruslan Lyssenko; Nikolai Kroupnik; Andrei Deryzemlya), 1:28:57.1 (4).