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  • canada sked medal results SLAM!  NAGANO

    Sunday, February 15, 1998

    Russia, Germany reassert grip in close biathlon contest

  • Results

     NOZAWA ONSEN, Japan (AP) -- A surprise in the Olympic biathlon competition: The favorites won.
     Russia's Galina Koukleva, ranked No. 2 in the world, won the gold medal in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint Sunday (Saturday night EST), as Russia and Germany reasserted their dominance in the sport.
     Koukleva, a 25-year-old sport instructor, skimmed across the finish line in 23 minutes, 08.0 seconds. That was seven-tenths of a second ahead of Germany's Ursula Disl, who won her second medal of these games. Her teammate, Katrin Apel, finished another 24 seconds back to win the bronze. Each of the medalists missed one of their 10 targets.
     The 64-woman race was a fast one, despite an icy glaze over the snow that fell overnight and stopped about three hours before the event. There was virtually no wind. Rapidly changing snow conditions had slowed earlier races and produced dark-horse inners.
     But on Sunday, the medalists all ranked among the top 10 in World Cup standings. Germany and Russia, along with Norway, are the current biathlon powerhouses.
     Three-time Olympic medalist Disl moved into high gear on the last stretch to all but make up six seconds between her and Koukleva.
     "Coming into the finish, I was utterly exhausted. I was seeing stars and everything else. When I collapsed I knew I couldn't have gone any faster or any farther," Disl said.
     Missing the first of five targets, she gasped, then took extra care on the remaining four, which cost her valuable seconds.
     "On the last leg I was so tired that I thought Ursula would overtake me," said Koukleva, who started biathlon at the age of 11 and now ranks No. 2 in World Cup standings despite occasional lapses on the firing range.
     "The road was difficult and we had to work a lot and change our training system," she said of the Russian team. "It just happens that at this moment I was ready to do what I did."
     The Americans, who chose the wrong waxes for last week's 15K, bettered their performances.
     The best American finisher, Kristina Sabasteanski, 28, of Richmond, Vt., was 33rd with 25:12.2, missing only once. Deborah Nordyke, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska skied in at 48th with 25:50.5, and veteran Stacey Wooley, 29, of Newbury, N.H., was 58th with a 27:03.0 clocking.
     Rarely without a smile on her face, even after missing the ever-elusive gold, Disl said: "You can always ask what would have happened if I did something differently. But I'm very happy with the silver and bronze. It's fine with me."
     The world's No. 3 won took the bronze in the 15K, adding to her 1994 Olympic haul of one bronze and a silver. In what she described as "a god omen," the 27-year-old border guard won two silvers in a World Cup race in Nozawa last year, helping her to figure out the tough course here.
     But not all the world's best fared well. Top placed Magdalena Forsberg of Sweden had another disappointing day, finishing 17th after suffering three penatly loops. Forsberg managed only 14th in the earlier 15K.
     The best Asian, Shumei Yu of China, scored a surprise fifth place, with a perfect day at the firing range. Fourth was Sweden's Sona Mihokova.
     With three of six biathlon events over, Russia, Norway and Bulgaria have a gold apiece, but Germany leads in overall medal standings with three -- a silver and two bronzes. With great depth, the Russians and Germans are expected to take the two relay races, and will field strong competitors in the men's 10K sprint.
     "It's going to be a very hot battle (with the Russians) on the 19th. In the relay anything can happen," Disl said.
     In the 7.5K, competitors started at intervals of 30 seconds and had to climb a total of 260 meters (853 feet) over the course. They carried .22-caliber rifles, weighing about 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds), and 10 rounds of ammunition.
     They fired twice in prone and standing positions at the 2.5K and 5K points on the course. In contrast to the individual competition, when a minute is added to total time for every shot missed, a 150-meter penalty loop had to be skied for each miss. This takes up about 30 seconds.


     NOZAWA ONSEN, JAPAN (AP) -- Final results Saturday from the women's 7.5-km biathlon medal event at the Winter Olympics (penalties in parentheses):
     1. Galina Kukleva, Russia, 23:08.0 (1); 2. Ursula Disl, Germany, 23:08.7 (1); 3. Katrin Apel, Germany, 23:32.4 (1); 4. Sona Mihokova, Slovakia, 23:42.3 (1); 5. Yu Shumei, China, 23:44.0 (0); 6. Anna Stera, Poland, 23:53.1 (2); 7. Martina Schwarzbacherova, Slovakia, 23:54.5 (1); 8. Mari Lampinen, Finland, 23:55.2 (0); 9. Anna Murinova, Slovakia, 23:56.7 (0); 10. Nathalie Santer, Italy, 23:59.6 (1).
     11. Elena Petrova, Ukraine, 24:04.5 (1); 12. Andreja Grasic, Slovenia, 24:05.2 (1); 13. Albina Akhatova, Russia, 24:06.4 (2); 14. Emmanuelle Claret, France, 24:08.7 (1); 15. Annette Sikveland, Norway, 24:09.5 (2); 16. Petra Behle, Germany, 24:09.9 (2); 17. Magdalena Forsberg, Sweden, 24:19.5 (3); 18. Margarita Doulova, Kazakhstan, 24:21.7 (1); 19. Tatiana Vodopianova, Ukraine, 24:23.3 (0); 20. Inna Sheshkil, Kazakhstan, 24:32.9 (1).
     21. Nina Lemesh, Ukraine, 24:39.8 (1); 22. Irina Tananaiko, Belarus, 24:42.5 (0); 23. Liv Skjelbreid, Norway, 24:44.0 (3); 24. Svetlana Paramygina, Belarus, 24:50.0 (2); 25. Corinne Niogret, France, 24:54.7 (2); 26. Eva Hakova, Czech Republic, 24:58.6 (1); 27. Olga Romasko, Russia, 25:03.6 (3); 28. Natalya Moroz, Belarus, 25:04.7 (0); 29. Ekaterina Dafovska, Bulgaria, 25:06.7 (2); 30. Martina Zellner, Germany, 25:09.8 (2).
     31. Eva Tofalvi, Romania, 25:10.3 (2); 32. Myriam Bedard, Quebec City, 25:11.3 (0); 33. Kristina Sabasteanski, U.S., 25:12.2 (1); 34. Ieva Cederstrema, Latvia, 25:12.7 (2); 35. Jirina Pelcova, Czech Republic, 25:14.5 (1); 36. Tadeja Brankovic, Slovenia, 25:20.1 (3); 37. Ann-Elen Skjelbreid, Norway, 25:22.8 (4); 38. Michelle Collard, Vanderhoof, B.C., 25:26.1 (0); 39. Sun Ribo, China, 25:29.0 (3); 40. Irena Cesnekova, Czech Republic, 25:30.4 (3).
     41. Pavlina Filipova, Bulgaria, 25:34.8 (3); 42. Halina Gunka, Poland, 25:39.0 (5); 43. Florence Baverel, France, 25:39.6 (1); 44. Anna Volkova, Russia, 25:42.7 (4); 45. Agata Suszka, Poland, 25:45.1 (3); 46. Katja Holanti, Finland, 25:46.2 (2); 47. Kerryn Rim, Australia, 25:49.1 (2); 48. Deborah Nordyke, Jericho, Vt., 25:50.5 (2); 49. Irina Merkusina, Ukraine, 25:58.6 (3); 50. Kristina Brouneus, Sweden, 26:05.3 (2).
     51. Eva-Karin Westin, Sweden, 26:07.8 (1); 52. Natalya Ryzhenkova, Belarus, 26:10.5 (4); 53. Hiromi Seino, Japan, 26:13.5 (4); 54. Anne Briand Bouthiaux, France, 26:16.1 (5); 55. Ryoko Takahashi, Japan, 26:34.2 (5); 56. Gunn Andreassen, Norway, 26:36.2 (4); 57. Katerina Losmanova, Czech Republic, 26:51.7 (3); 58. Stacey Wooley, Newbury, N.H., 27:03.0 (3); 59. Lucija Larisi, Slovenia, 27:14.9 (4); 60. Maria Schylander, Sweden, 27:46.9 (4).
     61. Mie Takeda, Japan, 28:10.1 (6); 62. Elena Gorohova, Moldova, 28:21.5 (5); 63. Bernadett Dira, Hungary, 28:48.9 (5); 64. Zsuzsanna Bekecs, Hungary, 29:50.3 (6).