Swedes irked by biathlon hold up

Sweden's coaching team was left fuming on Wednesday as 10km pursuit medal hopeful Anna-Carin Olofsson-Zidek was held up at the starting line, eventually finishing fourth.

But despite being unhappy with the manner of the athlete’s failure to make the podium, Sweden eventually elected not to file an official protest..

Olofsson-Zidek was starter number 20, 58sec behind Kuzmina, but was held back 14sec too long and finally came in an initial sixth before being credited with the time she had lost to place fourth at 39.4sec.

But the Swede’s German coach Wolfgang Pichler remained unhappy.

“It was a totally different race for her after that and that is why we complained,” he said.

Germany’s Magdalena Neuner claimed gold in the event on Tuesday, edging out Slovakia’s Anastazia Kuzmina, who had denied her three days earlier in the sprint.

“I’m the Olympic champion, this is just fantastic,” said Neuner after completing the course in 30min 16.0sec.

The 25-year-old Kuzmina had created an upset when she won the women’s sprint on Saturday, which allowed her to start first in the pursuit, 1.5 seconds ahead of Neuner.

But the German reeled her in to secure Olympic glory by 12 seconds in snowy, mild conditions.

Frenchwoman Marie-Laure Brunet took the bronze at 28sec to give France their third medal after boyfriend Vincent Jay’s sprint gold and Marie Dorin’s sprint bronze.

Neuner almost tripped up, missing her final shot but had just done enough in keeping her nerve earlier to hold off her Russian-born rival Kuzmina.

“I was just so damn nervous for that final shot as I thought ‘this is the shot the title hangs on’,” Neuner revealed.

“Then of course I fired wide and I was shaking at that point,” said the 22-year-old World Cup leader.

“I told myself ‘just hang in there and stay on your skis’. But I felt good beforehand and I resolved to concentrate hard on the shooting as I knew that in terms of skiing nobody could get the better of me.”

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