KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Darya Domracheva’s unmatched pace at skiing earned the Belarusian biathlete her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Friday.
In the women’s 15-kilometer individual race, Domracheva missed one target — the fourth in her opening round of the standing shooting — but she easily made up the penalty minute for a comfortable victory.
Domracheva, who also won the 12.5K pursuit three days ago, finished in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds — and would still be in front had she missed another target.
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It was Domracheva’s third career Olympic medal. She also won bronze in the individual race in Vancouver four years ago.
Selina Gasparin of Switzerland shot cleanly and finished 1:15.7 behind to take silver. Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus also avoided mistakes and finished 1:38.2 behind in third.
Pre-race favorite Tora Berger, the 2010 Olympic champion, was already out of contention after missing three targets in her first two shootings — one in the prone, and two in the standing. The Norwegian finished almost four minutes off the lead.
Gabriela Soukalova of Czech Republic, who won this season’s World Cup title in the discipline, seemed heading for a podium finish before missing a second target in her final shooting. The two penalty minutes saw her drop to fourth, missing out on a medal by 19.7 seconds.
Kaisa Makarainen of Finland also blew her medal chances in the last shooting. She had faulted once in the second round but was still on course for silver until she missed two more targets in her final round before placing ninth.
Krystyna Palka of Poland was the third top-10 finisher who shot flawlessly but she trailed Domracheva by over three minutes.
In an individual race, biathletes who miss a target don’t ski an extra loop like in other disciplines, but they get a penalty minute added to their finishing time.
Several athletes sat out the race because of illness, including sprint silver medalist Olga Vilukhina of Russia, 2002 Olympic champion Andrea Henkel of Germany, and Norway’s Synnoeve Solemdal, who is a three-time world relay champion.