Germany’s Fischer wins Olympic individual gold
14 February 2006
SAN SICARIO, ITALY – Sven Fischer of Germany beat stiff Norwegian opposition on Tuesday to get his first individual Olympic biathlon gold medal at his fourth Games, in the 10-kilometres sprint race.
Fischer, 34, won two relay golds in previous Olympics plus sprint and relay silver in 2002 and 20km bronze in 1994 before finally topping the Olympic podium ahead of Halvard Hanevold and Frode Andresen.
“All this has to sink in first. I just told myself to give it all I have,” said Fischer.
Fischer won the second German gold in as many men’s events in San Sicario, following Michael Greis’ triumph in the 20km Saturday.
The most fancied Norwegian, the five-time gold and two-time silver medallist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, missed three targets and had to settle for 11th.
Bjoerndalen, who got silver in the 20km, can now no longer become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever in the remaining three races as compatriot cross-country skier Bjoern Dahlie tops the bill with eight gold and four silver.
Fischer, meanwhile, fulfilled his long dream of gold when he hit all 10 targets in the shooting range and skied to victory over 10 kilometres in 26 minutes 11.6 seconds.
Hanevold added silver to 20km bronze from Saturday, 8.2 seconds behind the winner, while fellow-Norwegian Andresen took bronze with a 19.7-second deficit after having to ski one penalty loop.
But the three were not assured of their medal order until Austrian Wolfgang Perner, competing with bib 87, misfired once in the second shooting portion to finish fourth 40 seconds behind Fischer instead of possibly challenging for gold.
Hanevold had no complaints that he missed a second gold following the 1998 crown over 20km, saying “it was almost the best race I have ever done” and naming Fischer simply “fantastic”.
The close finish leaves the pursuit later in the Games wide open. In that race the athletes compete in the order and time-difference of Tuesday’s finish, with Fischer out first over 12.5-kilometres with four trips to the shooting range.
The Olympic biathlon programme continues on Thursday with the women’s sprint.
Subject: German news