Crossing the line to win Ukraine’s first Winter Youth Olympic gold medal in an exciting finish to the biathlon women’s 7.5km pursuit at Birkebeineren Biathlon Stadium on Monday, Khrystyna Dmytrenko thought about her mother and her country.
“I don’t feel exhausted now after these two days of races. I’m happy for myself and for my country: this the first medal for us,” she said after skiing in 25 minutes, 12.9 seconds with two missed shots.
“Just when crossing the line I was absolutely happy, thinking that my mum was watching this race, right now,” she said. Although her mother is not a biathlete, she was the one who encouraged Dmytrenko and her elder sister to take up the sport, as she raised the family on her own.
A clean performance in the last round allowed the Ukrainian to overcome Marthe Krakstad Johansen of Norway (25:20.4) and Lou Jeanmonnot Laurent of France (25:20.5), with only 0.10 of a second separating the silver and bronze medallists.
“I was not counting my opponents, because I was concentrating on my race. In the beginning I missed two shots, which is why I was focusing on the shooting and then on the race to do my best,” Dmytrenko said. “Only at the last standing position [at the last round] I saw that my opponents had missed one shot each, so I thought ‘OK, I should clear all the targets and then race as hard as I can’.”
Johansen collected her second silver medal of the Lillehamme 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games after she finished second in the women’s 6 km sprint on Sunday (14 February). “This is very good, I’m very glad. It’s very big,” she said.
In an extremely tight finish, when she was neck and neck with the French biathlete, determination was the key for Johansen: “I thought I shouldn’t miss the finish, I should take it [the silver medal].”
Norway's Marthe Krakstad Johansen (right) edges out France's Lou Jeanmonnot Laurent for silver in the women's 7.5km pursuit. Photo: YIS / IOC Al Tielemans
Bronze medallist Jeanmonnot Laurent was happy to win a medal but admitted to being “a bit disappointed, because the second place was so near.”
If I had noticed her [Johansen] a bit earlier I could have beaten her. I only noticed her at the last minute,” Jeanmonnot Laurent said.
Written by YIS / IOC Emma Lupano
Emma Lupano is a reporter for the Lillehammer Youth Information Service ‘YIS’. Milan-based Emma has worked at the last five Olympic Games and also covered the Innsbruck 2012 and Nanjing 2014 YOGs. A China specialist, she has worked as a freelance journalist from Beijing for four years.