German Arnd Peiffer produced a flawless display to shock the favourites in the men's 10km Olympic biathlon sprint on Sunday 11 February, winning Germany’s third gold of PyeongChang 2018.
The 30-year-old impressed with both his skiing and his marksmanship, and was one of only two athletes, alongside Czech Republic sprinter Michal Krcmar, not to miss the target on a windy night that tested the competitors on both the course and the shooting range.
Though Krcmar matched him for shooting accuracy prowess, Peiffer finished 4.4 seconds ahead of his rival to take the gold medal, with Italian Dominik Windisch crossing the line a further 3.3 seconds behind to claim bronze.Getty Images
France’s Martin Fourcade and Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe were the pre-race favourites, but both left themselves with too much to do by missing three of their first five shots. World Cup leader Fourcade, a double gold medallist at Sochi 2014, finished in eighth place, while Boe finished 31st.
With challenging conditions on exposed parts of the course, many of the competitors struggled to find their range. Not Peiffer.
However, the German explained that those experiences may have helped him, as he felt under less pressure.
“I was a bit more relaxed I think,” he added. “I did a good job on the range today and that was the key to be in front so I'm quite surprised.”
Germany make history
Similar to his compatriot Laura Dahlmeier, who won the women's biathlon 7.5km sprint 24 hours earlier, Peiffer powered his way around the course and showed great composure on the shooting range. The German double marks the first time both biathlon sprint events have been won by athletes from the same nation at one edition of the Olympic Winter Games.
Peiffer, the 2011 world champion, becomes only the sixth man to claim the Olympic and world titles in this event.
Commenting on the first Olympic medal of his career, Peiffer said: “It’s crazy because I didn’t expect it was possible for me to be on top. I wouldn’t say I am an underdog but I’m not one of the top guys. I've done this for 21 years now, so it's quite a long time. I think it will take two weeks [to sink in,] but I'm just enjoying it.”