Midway, Utah Feb. 11, 2002 (AP by Mark Long)--Magdalena Forsberg of Sweden, the most successful female biathlete in history, missed two targets on her final shooting round but still won the bronze medal in the 15-kilometer biathlon Monday.
It was the three-time Olympian's first medal.
Andrea Henkel of Germany won gold in her first Winter Games, and Liv Grete Poiree of Norway took silver at the Soldier Hollow course.
``For me, it was also a surprise,'' said Henkel, a four-time world junior champion who beat the sport's top two women.
Americans Rachel Steer, Kristina Sabasteanski and Kara Salmela were 31st, 55th and 59th, respectively.
Forsberg hit her first 17 shots in the sport that combines the rigor and intensity of cross-country skiing with the precision and calm of marksmanship. But then she missed her next two targets, opening the door for Henkel.
``It was my shaky legs that made me shoot a little bad,'' Forsberg said.
Had Forsberg made just one of the two misses, she would have won. Henkel finished in 47 minutes, 29.1 seconds _ a time that included a one-minute penalty for her one missed target in 20 shots.
Competitors skied five laps, stopping at the target range for five shots after each of the first four laps.
The 15-kilometer individual event is the longest women's biathlon race. Besides skiing a little more than nine miles, the women shoot four times _ twice in the prone position and twice in the standing position.
Henkel missed a standing shot during her second round. So did Poiree, who finished 7.9 seconds behind the winner. Forsberg missed twice in the standing position and was 39.2 seconds back when she crossed the finish line.
Forsberg's finish ended a long wait for an Olympic medal.
``I'm very satisfied with the bronze medal,'' she said. ``The only medal I didn't have before was an Olympic medal, and now I have one.''
Forsberg spent much of her career as a cross-country skier before turning to biathlon in 1994.
She didn't qualify for the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary because of illness. She made the Olympics in 1992 in Albertville, but her highest finish in an individual event was 26th.
She also missed the 1994 Lillehammer Games, this time because of an Achilles' tendon injury. Forsberg devoted herself exclusively to biathlon later that year, and by 1998, was considered a medal favorite in Nagano because she had just won her first World Cup title.
But in Japan, Forsberg struggled with her shooting. She missed three targets in the individual event and three in the sprint, finishing 14th and 17th, respectively.
She has been much more dominant in non-Olympic competition, winning 12 world championship medals and five consecutive World Cup titles. She also leads Poiree in the 2002 standings.
Forsberg still two chances at gold in what she says will be her final Olympics. She will compete in the 7.5-kilometer sprint Wednesday and the 10-kilometer pursuit Saturday.
``The Olympics are not yet over. I will still try to go for the gold,'' she said.
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