HOCHFILZEN, Austria (AP) Simon Schempp and Laura Dahlmeier won the mass start world titles on Sunday, raising Germany’s haul at the biathlon world championships to seven gold medals and eight overall.
Schempp led defending champion Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway by nine seconds, while Simon Eder of Austria was one second further behind to take bronze in the men’s 15-kilometer race.
”It was an incredibly great race,” Schempp said. ”I raced tactically and saved up some energy for the last lap.”
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Hours earlier, Dahlmeier became the first athlete to earn five gold medals at a single biathlon world championship by winning the 12.5K women’s event.
The overall World Cup leader from Germany overtook Susan Dunklee, who led most of the race, on the final kilometer and beat the American by 4.6 seconds.
”It’s gigantic, five gold medals and a silver,” said Dahlmeier, who also won the mixed relay, pursuit, individual competition and women’s relay, and was runner-up in the sprint.
”This is the result from years of hard work. It’s incredible how everything has worked out,” said the German, who has won a medal in 11 straight world championship races in a series that started in Oslo last year.
Former two-time overall World Cup champion Kaisa Makarainen of Finland recovered from a 150-meter penalty loop in her first shooting stage to take the bronze medal, 20.1 behind.
Shooting fast and cleanly in each round, Dunklee first took the lead after the second round of prone shooting. The American stayed ahead of the field and led Dahlmeier by five seconds after leaving the shooting range for the final time. However, Dunklee could not keep up with the German’s pace at skiing.
”I have been working on my shooting speed this year so my shooting is a lot faster and that really paid off today,” said Dunklee, adding she knew Dahlmeier would be the faster skier. ”I tried to do everything I could to stay emotionally detached and just keep my patience.”
It was the second medal of these championships for the U.S. biathlon team after Lowell Bailey won the men’s 20K individual competition on Thursday for the first ever American gold medal at a major biathlon competition.
Bailey just missed out on another American medal in Sunday’s concluding event. In third place when leaving the shooting range for the final time, Bailey failed to hold on to his position as he was overtaken by Boe and pre-race favorites Anton Shipulin of Russia and Martin Fourcade of France.
Five-time overall World Cup champion Fourcade led the race despite an early penalty loop, but the Frenchman was out of the medal fight after missing two more targets in his final visit to the shooting range.