Olympics 2018: Games gathering pace

Friday. Pyeongchang-gun. The Ukrainian delegation at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Photo: Reuters

The start of the Olympic games in biathlon for the Ukrainian fans was not as optimistic as we would like.

Throughout the season we have persistently fed promises that Pyeongchang our guys will definitely be the peak of his form and show the maximum of their capabilities. Therefore, they say, pay no attention to the results of the world Cup – they demand a little.

But that long-awaited Game! And what? The first race of the tournament was plunged in gloom if in serious doubt – definitely. Not that competitive of helplessness were all waiting to see…

In General, repeatedly said this before and I think it appropriate once again to draw total attention to the following, proven over many years fact. Any Olympics or world Championships is required to have in their program one or two distance, where the coincidence is SURE to give a chance to any of nofavorites to oust the latter from the podium. Moreover, both men and women. Here is a kind of gift. Well, who’ll be able to reach him, to find strength, wisdom, and tactical flexibility – a rhetorical question. If you look through the annals of the above tournaments at least for the last 12 years, to see the reality of this “gift”, sorry for the tautology, is quite real. Like the fact that the Ukrainian biathletes in such cases, pulled the lucky ticket a few times. Here, first of all, you can remember the bronze climbing Lily of Ephraim, to the 2016 Games in the sprint, where she managed to clearly shoot clean, though earlier she did very rarely.

Here and now, in Pyeongchang, was a faint hope that in reporting the sprint history will repeat itself. Especially frosty and windy weather great hurt a lot of notebook favorites, forcing some to play penalty laps, even repeatedly. In this difficult situation the happiness can smile or do repeatedly tempered such trials aces, or those who, seeing the rifle, the Shine of an Olympic medal of any obstacles on the way to it not to notice. In the end, fortune smiled on both, and others. Only here among the others were representatives of other countries…


However, what surprised: for our biathletes extreme weather conditions are favorable never was. Here somehow do not remember at least one case, when at least one of them took the pranks of nature better opponents and eventually jumped on a pedestal. But their failures they cheated, it seems, without exception. And what is convenient and, most importantly, really believable. For example, this time it came from the mouth Artem Prima. Like, on the last lap I tried to string up, and immediately felt “something is wrong”. As if there was behind shoulders special preparation and training in Pyeongchang. And for the thousandth time the same notorious “will to analyze, to understand”. Approximately in the same vein, expressed and Dmitry Pidruchny that, with perfect shooting, footwork managed to lose, for example, bronze medalist Dominic Windisch more minutes, “cold, very hard…”. It turns out that while our complaining and understand, others become Olympic medalists…

However, this was only the start of the race Games in Pyeongchang, so let’s not fall in pessimism, so to speak, to the bottom. And suddenly, the Ukrainian bird of happiness is still destined to flush in the Korean sky today or the day after? Well, in the meantime, back to the first event at the biathlon stadium “Alpensia”, which was accompanied by a 10-12-degree frost and a very unpleasant gusty winds, mercilessly ripping off the cover of the track snow dust…


Women’s sprint was marked by a huge number of misses. Missed virtually everything, with the only difference that someone could be restricted to 150 meters of the fine and someone and 750, as, for example, our Irina Varvynets. Apparently, the athlete who literally at the last moment secured a spot in the Olympic team simply did not have to cope not only with running cataclysm, but with excitement. Hence only 73 total position, and failure to follow the pursuit.

Not much better race for Anastasia Merkushina Valya Semerenko. Here, in addition to three mistakes in each passive, and frankly disappointed with their speed. And if young athletes you can still search for specific words justification, for the most experienced Olympic champion to make it a lot harder.

Where promising they move along the track Vita Semerenko, although she showed in the race only the 27th time course. Until the second prone situation allowed her not only to save a local position in the top ten, but to try to storm the podium. Messed up the only penalty in the fourth shot. And, after admitted to herself Vita, cause it was not the wind that just a little verse, and their own error. But it cost very expensive. Really expensive, because shooting a real disaster happened at the Slovak Anastasia Kuzmina, Kaisa Makarainen (they have three penalties) and Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff (four!). Two inaccurate shots made French Justine Breza, Anders Le Chevalier, Italy’s Dorothea Wierer, Belarusian Darya Domracheva, the German Denise Herrmann…

And among those who had managed just 150 yards of a fine, the most agile was the Norwegians olsbu Marte and the Czech Veronika Vitkova. Both before the start among the favorites not exactly mentioned.

Another thing – phenomenal Laura dahlmeier. That’s what it means composure and tactical prudence! Knowing that a penalty will ask a lot more than a long vysalivanie, the German chose the second option. And hit the bull’s-eye, being one of only three members of sprint who were lucky to shoot clean.

Of course, in this situation, to interfere win the first Olympic gold to her no one could and nothing…


In men, the serious intrigue was organized by the main contenders – Martin Fourcade and Johannes Be. Synchronously sending the target with three bullets already in the prone shooting, they immediately gave way to the champion title to someone else. Although, if the Frenchman luckier at least one penalty, he would have the title lost incredible speed allowed him to eventually rise to the eighth position with a deficit from the winner just 22 seconds! And now the big question, what Fourcade finishes after the pursuit. But the Norwegian, fluff once more and standing, fell back on the unenviable 31-e a place with handicap in 1.12,7, virtually deprives it hopes to rehabilitate in the pursuit. However, in Pyeongchang, as you can see, anything is possible…

Well, better than other teams by chance have used Arnd Peiffer. Like his compatriot Dallmeier, the experienced German made a bet on impeccable shooting, and she led him to the Golden step of the podium. Although another excellent sniper race – Czech Michal of Karczmarz, which was led at the time Shoulder, clinging to its historical chance to the last meters. Not enough power and a little more than four seconds.

But in the bronze dueling forces Dominic Windisch was just enough. Having, as Julian Eberhard, one mistake on the liabilities side, on the last lap, the Italian went from about 12 seconds behind the Austrian, but the legs worked long enough to oust the opponent from the pedestal.

By the way, it is fair to note that in the case of “pure” shooting champion would not Peiffer. Missteps of Windisch and Eberhard surely would use other Germans – green Brendan or Simon Schempp. And even more – Erlen Bontager. Remember, many biathlon fans were outraged, as this little-known fellow took in Pyeongchang instead of the “Norwegian”? So now Bjontegard responded to these “quirks” clear: even with the two penalties he conceded Peiffer just 17.4 seconds, eventually becoming the fifth. Imagine what would be happening now, whether the young Norwegian at least one better shot?!

About Pidruchna with Prima as I mentioned before. The first of them distinguished “clean” shooting, but showed very weak velocity, the second – on the contrary. However on the last lap when climbing a hill suddenly simply “stood up”, which will deal with the coaches.

Sergey Semenov noticeable tried, but, apparently, to gain the optimal shape for Pyeongchang after treatment of injuries and sores just do not have time. To him and no complaints. But the figure of Vladimir Semakov even not want to discuss. So just repeat that on the Game, he made it just as the “best of the worst”. And it wouldn’t be so sad if it was not about the Olympics…

Today, we expect two pursuits. Hope for a miracle by Vita Semerenko?

Sergey DATSENKO, Sport-Express in Ukraine

10 Feb. Women. Sprint. 7.5 km. 1. Dallmeier (Germany) – 21.06,2 (0+0). 2. Olsby (Norway) 24,2 (1+0). 3. Vitkova (Czech Republic), And 25.8 (0+1). 4. Dorin Habert (France) – 33,1 (1+0). 5. Hinz (Germany) – 40,3 (0+1). 6. Vitozzi (Italy) – 40,5 (0+1). 7. Öberg (Sweden) Of 40.8 (0+1). 8. Cedures (Switzerland) – 45,5 (1+0)… 14. Vita Semerenko – 54,5 (0+1)… 46. Valya SEMERENKO – 2.14,7 (2+1)… 55. MERKUSHINA – 2.26,1 (2+1)… 73. VARVYNETS (Ukraine) – 3.41,9 (1+4).

11 Feb. Menfolk. Sprint. 10 km. 1. Peiffer (Germany) – 23.38,8 (0+0). 2. Krcmar (Czech Republic) – 4,4 (0+0). 3. Windisch (Italy) To 7.7 (0+1). 4. Eberhard (Austria) – 8,4 (0+1). 5. Bontager (Norway) – 17,4 (0+2). 6. Doll – 17,6 (0+1). 7. Schempp (both – Germany) – 21,4 (0+1). 8. M. Fourcade (France) – 22,1 (3+0)… 21. PIDRUCHNY – 48,7 (0+0)… 41. PRIMA – 1.36,1 (1+1)… 46. SEMENOV – 1.46,1 (0+1)… 78. SEMAKOV (Ukraine) – 2.52,9 (1+2).

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