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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

Russian, German top biathlon

 •  It's Miller Time: Bode finally golden

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Evgeny Ustyugov

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Magdalena Neuner

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WHISTLER, British Columbia Both men saw the 15-kilometer mass start biathlon race as a shot at redemption for an awful Winter Olympics.

Unlike American Tim Burke, Russia's Evgeny Ustyugov delivered.

The World Cup leader won Russia's first gold medal in a men's Olympic biathlon race in 16 years when he captured the 15-kilometer mass start race yesterday, atoning for poor shooting and sluggish skiing in his previous three races.

On the women's side, two missed targets weren't enough to keep Magdalena Neuner from leaving Vancouver with at least two Olympic golds.

With a quick burst of powerful skiing, Neuner overcame her shooting errors to win the women's 12.5-kilometer mass start biathlon race yesterday for her second gold medal at the Vancouver Games.

Russia's Ustyugov shot cleanly to finish in 35 minutes, 35.7 seconds, beating Martin Fourcade of France by 10.5 seconds.

"I realized that it's high time we broke out of this vicious cycle, and God smiled upon us today," said Ustyugov, the first Russian man to win biathlon gold at the games since Sergei Tchepikov took the 10K sprint in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

Ustyugov, who finished fourth in the 20K and 15th in both the sprint and pursuit, where he missed four of 20 shots, improved both his ski times and his accuracy to win his first Olympic medal.

Burke, of Paul Smiths, N.Y., finished a disappointing 18th.

Burke had three miserable finishes in these games and entered the third shooting stage yesterday in third place and promptly missed three of five targets.

Germany's Neuner pulled away from her rivals after the final shooting and finished in 35 minutes, 19.6 seconds.

"I knew I could win a medal, but now I have three," said the 23-year-old, who also won the 10K pursuit on Tuesday and took silver in the 7.5K sprint in her first Olympics. "I may need days or weeks to realize it."

Olga Zaitseva of Russia took the silver medal after finishing 5.5 seconds behind.