Wierer with a single penalty in the second prone finished 9.4 seconds ahead of Silver medalist Herrmann, also with one penalty. Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova, with two penalties won the Bronze medal, 30.9 seconds back.
Wierer “missing a bit of speed”
Wierer was pleased with her two victories. “It was really good. I felt bad in the first race but felt better after the sprint. I am missing a bit of speed but it is okay for the summer. The past two years I was in good shape in the summer and not so in the winter. So, I hope to be in the best shape in the winter.”
“Sure she would catch me… she is Denise!”
Regarding her shooting (10-for10 in standing), she added, “In the last days I was missing some shots, always one in standing. I heard that Denise missed one and I focused on myself. I was sure she would catch me because she is Denise! But it was good in the end!”
“Good Race” for Davidova
Bronze medalist Davidova was pleased to win her second medal after Silver in yesterday’s sprint. “I am happy, It was hard but a good race. It was good for the spectators because it was fun. I am a little bit tired because we have been in training camps, but it is summer and I am in a good place.”
Mona Brorsson of Sweden, with two penalties, finished fourth, 57.3 seconds back. Sprint Gold medalist Lisa Vittozzi of Italy, with three penalties, finished fifth, 1:20.2 back. Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg, with four penalties, finished sixth, 1:26.7 back.
Similar to the earlier junior men’s pursuit, this mass start was a battle between Herrmann and Wierer. Herrmann cleaned the first three stages with ease. Wierer as usual shot faster each time but missed a shot in the second prone. That gave the German star her biggest margin, 10 seconds over Wierer. Herrmann came to the last standing all alone with the crowd roaring. It was dead quiet as she shot, but a roar erupted with each hit until she missed. As she left the range, Wierer was down to her last shot and the target closed. The Italian left with a mere 8.7-second margin. However Herrmann could not close the gap, and Wierer skied into the stadium waving to the crowd with her second Gold medal of these Championships.
Samuelsson had two penalties in his Gold medal effort, one more than Silver medalist Roman Rees of Germany, 2.9 seconds back. Samuelsson’s teammate Martin Ponsiluoma, with four penalties won the Bronze medal, 13.2 seconds back.
Samuelsson, “afraid not to win this race”
Samuelsson, with his second Gold medal in two days admitted felt he had to win after seeing his coach on the tracks. “It was a nice fight. You know our coach Johannes Lukas is from Germany. He was standing atop the hill and screaming so much, I was afraid not to win this race. It was a battle until the end.”
“Gap might be too much”
He explained what happened in the last standing stage. “I realized in the conditions here that people struggle in standing especially when there are medals at stake. I knew with a zero it (a win) was still possible. I saw Roman had a penalty loop and thought that I might have a chance if I cleared. To be honest, the gap might have been too much but everybody was screaming for me and I just tried to fight until the end.
Ponsiluoma’s last loop: “I felt I was stronger”
Ponsiluoma came from eighth position after the last stage, 28 seconds back to win the Bronze medal. “I knew my shape was really good. I was just pushing from the start. I was a bit afraid of Kuehn behind me but I felt I was stronger and just decided to go…My shooting has been really bad here so it was nice to hit some targets today.”
Before Samuelsson took the Gold medal with his finish stretch sprint, there had been three other men, all Germans in front of the 30-man field. Johannes Kuehn led after the first prone, Justus Strelow after the second and Rees in the two standing stages. Samuelsson was 18th, 48 seconds back after his second prone penalty in the second stage, but he then cleaned the two standing stages, moving up to 13th and then to second before the last loop. Like his teammate, Ponsiluoma jumped up from 20th after prone to 12th, then 8th before his big last loop. Rees put up a good fight in the last loop but could not match Samuelsson’s sprint speed in the last meters. Slipping from the lead to the Silver medal spot.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni