Midway, Utah Feb. 13, 2002 (AP by Landon Hall)--Calmly hitting all 20 of his targets, Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen coasted to the gold medal in the men's 10-kilometer sprint Wednesday, winning his second individual gold of the games and becoming the first biathlete in history to win three in a career.
Bjoerndalen, who also won Monday's 20K race, finished in 24 minutes, 51.3 seconds--28.9 seconds ahead of Germany's Sven Fischer. Austria's Wolfgang Perner won the bronze, finishing 53.1 seconds back.
Bjoerndalen, who defended the 15K title he won in Nagano, now has five medals--including two silvers--all in the last two Olympics.
Jeremy Teela, a surprising 14th in Monday's race, was the top American on Wednesday, taking 20th. Jay Hakkinen was 26th, and Lawton Redman 54th.
Bjoerndalen was the last of the top contenders to leave the starting area on the Soldier Hollow Course, and by the time he came to his last shooting round _ from the difficult standing position--most of his rivals had already faltered badly.
Raphael Poiree, bidding to become the first Frenchman to win a biathlon individual medal, made the first five shots with his .22-caliber rifle and was the fastest skier after the first stage. But then he missed the first and fifth target on the final round, falling to ninth.
Frode Andresen, who finished second to his countryman Bjoerndalen in this event four years ago, repeated Poiree's mistakes on the final shoot and wound up eighth. But the biggest flub was by Russian Pavel Rostovtsev, who was flawless through nine shots but then missed to the upper left on his final attempt.
He let out a holler before taking his required penalty lap that ate up about 25 seconds. He finished sixth.
Fischer missed one shot and Perner none.
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press