The women’s individual biathlon event came to a close in Sochi on Friday after a thrilling competition. 84 women participated in the final round, but only three broke through on the biggest stage with podium-worthy performances—including two Belarusians.
Sochi 2014 tweeted out the results:
Darya Domracheva was the top performer and personally brought home yet another gold medal for Belarus after earning gold in the women’s pursuit on Tuesday.
She finished the 15-kilometer shooting and cross-country skiing event in a blazing time of 43:19.6 minutes, by far the best of any competitor.
Sweden’s Selina Gasparin and Nadezhda Skardino, also of Belarus, weren’t able to catch Domracheva, but still showed off their elite marksmanship and outstanding skiing skills on their way to silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Let’s recap how each competitor earned her spot on the podium and check out the final rankings for all competitors who participated in the medal round of the women’s 15-kilometer individual biathlon.
|Rank||Country||Name||Time||Shooting||Total Penalties||Total Penalties||Behind|
|17||FRA||Marie Laure BRUNET||47:13.6||0+0+0+0||0||0||+3:54.0|
|36||AUT||Lisa Theresa HAUSER||48:56.4||0+0+0+1||1||1||+5:36.8|
|39||FRA||Marie DORIN HABERT||49:06.5||2+1+0+1||4||4||+5:46.9|
|54||ESP||Victoria PADIAL HERNANDEZ||50:48.5||1+0+1+1||3||3||+7:28.9|
|56||NOR||Ann Kristin Aafedt FLATLAND||51:00.0||1+2+0+1||4||4||+7:40.4|
Every woman who had aspirations of winning a medal for her country had to perform well at each of the four shooting stages, plus shave valuable time by quickly skiing to the next station.
Two of the shooting phases involved going to a prone position and firing whilst lying down in the snow, while competitors had to remain standing for the other pair. Missing any of the targets would result in a harsh penalty of one minute added to the biathletes final time.
Obviously, a premium is placed on hitting each of the targets and that’s exactly what Domracheva did. She missed just one of her 20 attempts and a large reason why she was able to outpace the competition by a large margin.
Mark Rogerson noted that Domracheva was installed as a 9-4 favorite to win this event and easily lived up to expectations:
It was Domracheva’s second gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics. She found herself atop the podium after the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit earlier in the week.
Eric Willemsen of The Associated Press (via ABC News) caught the Belarusian superstar speaking about her preparation process at a press conference after the 10-kilometer event:
I was really calm and confident before the race. I was the hope of my country. I didn't read the papers but I felt that everyone had hopes on me. I felt their nerves. But I just tried to be myself and rely on myself as I have a lot of experience.
Gasparin did not miss a single shot on her way to a silver medal, but took too much time lining up her shots, skiing to each station and crossing the finish line. That patience eventually cost her, as she finished 1:15.7 minutes behind the gold medalist.
Skardino made the same mistakes, being too careful and patient on her way to a bronze medal performance. She did not miss a target, but was unable to top the podium with a time better than her fellow countrywoman. The 28-year-old completed the course in 44:57.8 minutes.
Hannah Dreissigacker was the top American finisher in this event. She completed her run with a time of 47:51.7 minutes good for 23rd place in this event.
Will the United States earn a medal in biathlon this year?
Susan Dunklee, coming off an impressive 14th place finish in the 7.5-kilometer sprint, was not able to bring home the first biathlon medal to the United States. She earned penalties at each of the four stations, including a disastrous third stop in which the 28-year-old missed two targets.
Dunklee’s time of 48:54.1minutes was good for 34th place in the 15-kilometer individual, the oldest and arguably most prestigious biathlon event.
While the women’s individual has now joined a long list of biathlon events to conclude at the 2014 Winter Olympics, there are still plenty more competitions on the horizon for these incredible snipers on skis to participate in.
The men’s mass start event is the next on tap, which will take place and award a medal on Sunday. That will be followed by the women’s mass start on Monday, which also will result in three medals for the top participants.
Relays will close out the biathlon discipline at the Sochi Games, as the mixed competition takes place on Feb. 19, the women’s on Feb. 21 and the men’s to wrap everything up on Feb. 22.
Bleacher Report will provide instant-analysis and recaps for each of these events, so check back often for the latest biathlon results.