Biathlon: What to know for men’s, women’s pursuit

What to know for men’s, women’s pursuit

Lowell Bailey

Two events are in the books and U.S. Biathlon still seeks its first Olympic medal.

Could the Americans capture that elusive medal in the pursuit?

Both the women’s 10km pursuit and men’s 12.5km pursuit take place Monday.

Here are a few things to know about both the women’s and men’s event.

What it is
Here’s how it works. The first person to cross the finish line wins gold. Simple enough, right? But here’s the trick. The gold medal winner from the sprint will be given a head start and then the pursuit begins when the rest of the field enters the chase.

How to watch
The women’s competition begins at 5:10 a.m. EST and you can watch it live right here.

The men’s competition begins at 7 a.m. EST and you can watch it live right here.

Sochi in review
Darya Domracheva, of Belarus, captured gold in the women’s pursuit, finishing in 29 minutes, 30.7 seconds. Domracheva’s husband, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway), is the most decorated Winter Olympian with 13 medals.

Norwegian Tora Berger earned silver in Sochi, closing at 30 minutes, 8.7 seconds. Slovakian Teja Gregorin took home bronze at 30 minutes, 12.7 seconds.

As for the men’s pursuit, Martin Fourcade won his first of two golds at Sochi. Fourcade, the favorite among men in most individual events, finished in 33 minutes, 48.6 seconds.

Ondrej Moravec (Czech) won the silver at 34 minutes, 2.7 seconds, and Jean Guillaume Beatrix (France) won bronze at 34 minutes, 12.8 seconds.

Team USA
Tim Burke and Susan Dunklee each cracked the top-25 in the pursuits at Sochi, with Burke finishing 22nd in the men’s event and Dunklee 18th.

Unfortunately, Dunklee didn’t qualify for the pursuit after a disappointing showing in the women’s 7.5km sprint Saturday.

Dunklee finished in 66th place and missed five of her 10 shots. She was believed to be the women’s best chance at getting a medal.

In fact, just one American woman qualified for the pursuit: Emily Dreissigacker, who finished 51st with a time of 23 minutes, 27.2 seconds.

If the women want to get U.S Biathlon’s first Olympic, Dreissigacker is the women’s only hope.

While Burke was the highest-finishing American male at Sochi, this time around, the biathlete to watch on the men’s side is 36-year-old Lowell Bailey.

Bailey had an impressive world championships, and while he didn’t medal in the pursuit, he finished in sixth place. Look for him to carry that momentum into PyeongChang.

Bailey finished 33rd in the men’s 10km sprint Sunday.

Three American men qualified for the pursuit. Joining Bailey and Burke in the pursuit is Leif Nordgren.

Who to watch
Fourcade is the biathlete to watch for the men, as he enters as the favorite. Norwegians Johannes Thingnes Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen should also be in the mix.

For the women, after her showing in the sprint, it’s hard to say Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier isn’t the favorite in this event as well. Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen is another name to watch, as is Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla.

This and that
Two of the four Olympic gold medalists in the women’s pursuit have been by German biathletes: Kati Wilheim (2006) and Magdalena Neuner (2010). Dahlmeier will look to join their company.

Dahlmeier can become the first woman to win both the women’s sprint and pursuit in a single Olympics ever.

With a gold medal, Domracheva can become the first athlete to win four golds in women’s biathlon. She currently shares that record of three with Wilhelm.

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