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Biathlete Fischer bows out in style

14 May 2014
Turin 2006, Germany, Biathlon, Olympic News

After a 15-year career in international biathlon, Sven Fischer’s Olympic medal haul was impressive. He’d won five medals at three Games, including a team gold in 1994 and again in 1998. In Turin, though, he was to achieve his greatest success with two gold medals to provide the finale to his glittering career.

Fischer stood out among biathletes. He didn't wear gloves or a hat, a habit that he retained throughout his career following a childhood spent chopping down trees in the winter while – you guessed it – wearing neither hat nor gloves.

He was among the frontrunners in the 10km sprint, but few expected him to win. Most people, after all, were tipping the reigning champion Ole Einar Bjørndalen to continue his run of success by winning the event. Bjørndalen had won the Olympic title convincingly four years before, as part of a sweep of four gold medals, and, since then, had been world champion in both 2003 and 2005.

Yet on the day, something didn't quite click for Bjørndalen. His shooting let him down. He missed a prone shot and two standing shots and was destined to finish only 12th. That left the way clear for someone else to seize the gold medal – and Fischer was ready.

While Bjørndalen's shooting was poor, Fischer, by contrast, shot superbly. He recorded no missed and sealed his triumph when his closest challenger, Norway's Frode Andersen, was off target with a standing shot and had to take a penalty loop.

It was the first individual gold medal of his Olympic career, but it was not the end of Fischer's Olympic success in Turin.

He followed that success with a second gold as part of the German team in the 4x7.5km relay. That victory was less of a shock – in four Games as part of the German team, Fischer had won three golds and one silver medal in the relay. This time, they finished 20 second ahead of Russia.

Fischer retired from the sport a year later, still a mainstay of the German team. He became a commentator for German television.

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