Kuzmina Wins Second Biathlon Gold
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Feb 10, 2014 - 12:53:31 PM
SOCHI—A Russian took home the gold medal, but it wasn’t for
Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina took the gold medal for the second Olympics in a row in the women’s 7.5-km biathlon sprint at Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Center on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Siberian native now representing the Slovakian nation finished the 4.66 mile race in 21:06.8, with a 19-second margin over
Russia’s Olga Vilukhina and 21 seconds ahead of Ukrainian Vita Semerenko. Kuzmina became the first woman to repeat as Olympic champion in biathlon history.
Kuzmina surprisingly was not expected to medal this time around as Ukraine’s Olena Pidrushna, Belarusian Darya Domracheva and Norway’s Tora Berger were the top favorites to take medals in the event. Slovak Jana Gerekova took the lead in the race with American Susan Dunklee six seconds behind. Domracheva missed her first target in round one of shooting as she then trailed Dunklee who held second place in the first seven minutes of competition.
It was the highest any American had been in the Biathlon, but with two laps to go, anything could happen. Dunklee’s return to the shooting range for the second time looked great as she went 9 for 9 but her last shot missed by inches, dropping her down to third. “It was not automatic for me and I thought too much about it,” Dunklee said about shooting in the stance position.
Russian Ekaterina Shumilova who was in the pack of leaders slipped and broke the butt of her rifle that gave her little chance of recovering. She would go on to miss a pair of shots in round two to finish 60th.
Germany’s Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle who went 9 for 10 finished first among the leaders crossing the line first, but placed 11th along with Dunklee, missing only one target in the second round of shooting and finishing 20 seconds behind the top three. The American finished with an early second position, but dropped to 14th which was the highest of the four American competitors in the event.
Kuzmina came to the range for the second time and dominated the standing position going five for five, taking her time on the last target and finishing with 50 seconds ahead of Stehle.
Switzerland’s Eliza Gasparin also dominated the second round perfectly; she also dominated in two events of last year’s World Cup.
She came to the finish line in remarkable timing finishing 29.9 seconds of French biathlete Anais Bescond who ended up fifth, thirty seconds back. Vilukhina came to the line 19 seconds back to finish the race at 21:26.7 with Semerenko making it to the finish exhausted, but securing the bronze and missing silver by 2.8 seconds.
Kuzmina dedicated the victory to her brother Anton Shipulin who placed fourth in the men’s sprint event yesterday, wanting to bring glory to her family and especially her sibling. “It's unbelievable, I feel that I’m still sleeping and dreaming,” said Kuzmina.
Winning in front of fellow Russians helped her dominate the rest of the field. “It was good atmosphere here and just my day today,” she said. The Slovakian will begin Tuesday’s 10-km Pursuit with a twenty-second head start of Vilukhina who will still try and give her country their first gold medal.