Wednesday, February 11, 1998
Norway wins gold in men's biathlon
NOZAWA ONSEN, Japan (AP) -- Norway's Halvard Hanevold made up for shaky shooting with a final burst of skiing power today to win the men's 20-kilometer individual biathlon race at the Winter Olympics.
Hanevold, 46th in the event at the last Olympics, scored his surprise victory in 56 minutes, 16.4 seconds, collapsing at the finish line as he nudged out Italian veteran Pier Alberto Carrara.
Skiing in his fourth Olympics, the 31-year-old Carrara emerged as the only perfect shooter of the day, hitting all 20 of his targets. But he finished a shade behind at 56:21.9.
Third was Aleksei Aidarov, a rookie Olympian from Belarus, in 55:46.5. Both he and Halvard missed one target in their fourth and last time at the range.
"I tried to race a stable race, at the same speed, and save something for the last stretch," Hanevold said. He lost some of his cool after missing his 19th shot, but regained concentration and then burst out on the last skiing leg.
"I didn't think I could win, so I concentrated on securing the silver. But during the last kilometer I started hoping for gold and gave it all I had," Hanevold said.
"A missed shot and you're out of the ballgame," said Hanevold, a 28-year-old civil engineering student from Trondheim.
That wasn't quite true for him, but was for some stars in this oldest and probably most rigorous biathlon event.
France's Raphael Poiree, widely expected to win, finished 22nd after missing two shots. The World Cup No. 1, Ricco Gross of Germany, came in sixth. The best showing among the powerful Russians was by 1994 gold medalist Sergei Tarasov, who placed 15th after four of his shots went astray.
The Russians were without one of their top biathletes, World Cup No. 2 Victor Maigourov, who was ill and might not start in the two remaining men's biathlon events.
American Jay Hakkinen, 20, of Kasilof, Alaska, missed four targets and took a tumble on a steep descents, finishing 42nd in 1:02:10.3.
Skiing in his first Olympics and having just turned senior, he is regarded as perhaps the best biathlete the United States has yet produced.
The second American entry, Robert Rosser, 28, of Plattsburg, New York, was 69th among the 71 finishers. He clocked a 1:08:35.7, missing seven times.
By The Canadian Press
Men's 20 kilometre: 1. Halvard Hanevold, Norway, 56 minutes 16.4 seconds (1); 2. Pier Carrara, Italy, 56:21.9 (0); 3. Aleksei Aidarov, Belarus, 56:46.5 (1); 4. Ivan Masarik, Czech Republic, 57:30.7 (1); 5. Ilmars Bricis, Latvia, 58:15.1 (3); 6. Ricco Gross, Germany, 58:15.4 (1); 7. Ole Bjoerndalen, Norway, 58:16.8 (4); 8. Peter Sendel, Germany, 58:30.3 (1); 9. Oleg Ryzhenkov, Belarus, 58:31.3 (2); 10. Dag Bjoerndalen, Norway, 58:34.7 (1).
Canadians: 55. Steve Cyr, Val Cartier, Que., 1:04:12.9 (6); 64. Kevin Quintilio, Edmonton, 1:05:37.2 (4).