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23 Feb 2006

Russian women's biathlon team

The women's team biathlon was one of the most eagerly contested events in the biathlon competition. Russia and Germany had both seen the event as a chance to show their pr-eminence, particularly with German's great record. The two nations had tended to dominate victories in the world cups and world championships, with Norway also playing a leading role. In Turin, though, few expected the Norwegians to challenge for victory – this was expected to be a clash between two great titans.

The Germans had won the last two Olympic titles, but the previous year's world championship had gone to the Russian team, who also topped the world championship standings. And the form book held firm over the first leg as Anna Bogaly gave the Russians a 12.5-second lead. The surprise lay just behind, where the Bulgarian team was skiing in second position, ahead of Germany.

The Germans moved up to second on the second leg. In a truly magnificent display of marksmanship, the Russian biathletes missed only two shots between them. The Germans, by contrast, missed nine and incurred a penalty loop on the third leg.

The bronze medal was a surprise, with France overtaking Bulgaria to take the final place on the podium. Norway could finish only fifth.


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