Elvira Oeberg Anchors Sweden to Beijing Relay Gold

Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg needed just a single spare round to clean her standing stage, sealing the women’s 4 X 6 km relay Gold medal for Sweden in 1:11:03.9. The Swedish quartet of Elvira and Hanna Oeberg, Mona Brorsson and Linn Persson used just six spare rounds in their winning effort. The Relay Gold medal was Elvira’s third medal of the Beijing OWG, following her Silver medals in the sprint and pursuit. Hanna’s medal was the third in her career after winning 15 km individual Gold and Relay Silver in 2018. Persson and Brorsson claimed their second career OWG medals; both won Silver in the 2018 Pyeongchang women’s relay. The Silver medal went to the ROC, with one penalty and seven spares, 12 seconds back. Kristina Reztsova and Uliana Nigmatullina claimed their second medals of these Games after taking Bronze medals earlier in the mixed relay while Irina Kazakevich and Svetlana Mironova won their career-first OWG medals. Germany with six spare rounds won the Bronze medal, 37.4 seconds back. The Bronze medal was the second biathlon medal in Beijing for Denise Herrmann, the women’s 15 km Gold medalist who also won a cross-country relay Bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi OWG. Vanessa Voigt, Vanessa Hinz and Franziska Preuss won the first Olympic medals of their careers.

Header iconBeijing 2022 Women's Relay

Swedish Sisters’ “Dream come true”

The Swedish sisters were overjoyed to share the top of the podium. Elvira called the relay win, “Huge; really huge. I have been happy with my own medals but to be able to share this with Hanna and the rest of the team is unbeatable.” Hanna called it “a dream come true, really the women’s relay was one of the highlights as we looked forward to these Olympics. To be able to take this Gold medal with this team means a lot. I was really happy and proud of (Elvira) with her individual Silver medals. For us to do this together, for me, means really a lot. It is just huge!”

Elvira “did my own thing”

The Swedish anchor admitted that she saw the meltdown in the men’s relay, saying, “it reminds you that everything can happen in biathlon. The margins are so small, it is a hard sport. I just focused on my own race and do my own thing, because I know it is good enough. I did not have to overachieve anything; just do a stable race. I ma proud of how I handled this new situation.”

Norway with two penalties and eight spare rounds and a strong anchor leg by Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, finished fourth, 50.7 seconds back. Italy, with five spares, finished fifth, 1:33.1 back while France with two penalties and ten spares finished sixth, 2:13 back.

Clear and Sunny; tightly packed first leg

The women’s relay had the same very cold conditions that the men experienced yesterday, except it was warmer by a couple of degrees, -13C. Despite the cold, this afternoon was brilliantly clear with nothing but deep blue skies on the horizon for the twenty teams vying for the medals. Lisa Vittozzi took the lead out of the stadium and into her prone stage. As usual, the wind was blowing but not as viciously as some of the other days, so ten of the top eleven teams cleaned without a spare round, all going out within 10 seconds with Susan Dunklee of the USA leading the pack. Linn Persson quickly moved to the front as they came to the standing stage. Persson cleaned in six shots as did Vittozzi; they left together Vanessa Voigt with seven more teams within the next ten seconds.

Voigt Puts Germany on Top

Voigt tagged Vanessa Hinz a half second ahead of the Mona Brorsson and Dorothea Wierer. Unsurprisingly, Wierer quickly cleaned prone, assuming the lead while Brorsson and Hinz did the same, four and five seconds slower. The Italian pulled away from her chasers over the next 2 km loop. In standing, Wierer once again was sensational, easily closing the five targets. Kristina Reztsova and Brorsson did the same, trailing by 1.7 and 8 seconds respectively, while Hinz fell 31 seconds back. Tiril Eckhoff picked up two penalties, putting Norway in 12th, 1:53 back.

Italy and Sweden Move up

The ROC athlete passed Wierer, tagging Svetlana Mironova 10 seconds in front of Italy and 27 seconds before Hanna. Franziska Preuss took over for Germany 45 seconds off the pace. Mironova cleaned prone before either of her rivals fired a shot. Both Hanna and Samuela Comola cleaned in six shots, staying 24 seconds back. The ROC athlete ended up with a penalty, opening the door for Comola who used a single spare to clean and take the lead. Hanna used three spares but shooting faster was just a second behind the Italian, quickly moving into the top spot. Mironova fell 5.7 seconds back with Preuss still in fourth position.

Elvira Seals Gold medal

At the final exchange the top three teams were spread out as Hanna pushed hard on her last loop, giving Elvira a 7.4 second lead over Sanfilippo and 13.5 seconds over the ROC, with Denise Herrmann taking the tag 37 seconds back. Elvira came to prone looking relaxed; with the wind flags flat, she cleaned slowly with ROC’s Nigmatullina 26 seconds back and Sanfilippo at 35 seconds back. Elvira cleaned in six shots, sealing the Gold medal for Sweden, while the ROC athlete and Herrmann also used a single spares, 24 and 34 seconds back.

The 22-year-old was all smiles in the last loop, waving to the coaches alongside the tracks as they bowed to her, crossing the finish line with arms stretched out as her teammates greeted her. ROC took the Silver medal with Denise Herrmann bring Germany the Bronze medal.

Herrmann’s good position

Herrmann admitted she was in a good position, taking the tag in fourth position and then moving up to third by the finish. “The other three ladies did a good job. I had a good position, close to the medals. Maybe it was a good position because I was not in the top lead and I could focus on myself and he targets and make step-by-step. The last loop was really hard but we did it today and we are super happy.”

Anchoring to a medal: “The peak of happiness”

ROC anchor Uliana Nigmatullina knows how special it was to anchor her team to a medal. “It is wildly pleasant to get close to the peak of the Olympic sport. I confess that there is a big difference when you ski the fourth leg or the first leg when you get the medal. You feel it a lot more when you finish a race; maybe because of this, the girls still find it hard to realize what happened and feel it…I already felt it and it is the peak of happiness.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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