Norway, Ukraine win season’s first biathlon World Cup ski relays

Norway overtook Russia in the final leg to win the first men’s biathlon World Cup relay of the Olympic season on Saturday, while Ukraine convincingly took the women’s event.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen had to reload just once while Dmitry Malyshenko missed four targets for Russia, which then dropped behind Sweden as well.

Norway, which also included Vetle Sjastad Christiansen, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Tarjei Boe, won the 4×7.5-kilometer race in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 50.8 seconds, leading Sweden by 19.3 seconds and Russia by 21.1.

Home nation Austria was 45.3 back in fourth, while the French team, including World Cup leader Martin Fourcade, had to complete two penalty loops and came fifth, 58.3 off the lead.

In the women’s event, the team of Juliya Dzhyma, Vita Semerenko, Valj Semerenko and Olena Pidhrushna missed just three targets and avoided penalty loops before finishing the 4x6K race in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 9.2 seconds. Aware of her commanding lead, Pidrushna carried a Ukrainian flag for the last part of her race.

Germany missed seven times and had to complete an extra round but still came second, 56.3 seconds back. France was another 4.5 seconds behind in third.

Russia trailed Ukraine by 19.5 seconds at the final exchange but Olga Zaitseva missed three targets and had to ski a penalty round as the team dropped to fourth, 1 minute, 9.2 seconds off the lead.