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Olympics-Biathlon-Swedes take aim at more medals after silver success

Randy Mancini 5 Feb 11
Biathlon - Women's 7.5km Sprint
2022 Beijing Olympics - Biathlon - Women's 7.5km Sprint - National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - February 11, 2022. Silver medallist Elvira Oeberg of Sweden celebrates with her team on the podium. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

February 12, 2022

By Philip O’Connor

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) – With expectations high after two gold and two silver medals in Pyeongchang, Sweden struggled in the opening biathlon competitions of the Beijing Olympics, but a silver in the sprint for Elvira Oeberg has put them back on track.

The Swedes finished fourth but were almost 40 seconds off the podium in the opening mixed relay, with Mona Brorsson’s 10th and Martin Ponsiluoma’s 12th their best results in a disappointing showing in the individual races.

They went back to the drawing board, going through the tight, twisting course in minute detail and it paid off on Friday as Oeberg’s superb last skiing lap delivered a silver medal, with the promise of more to come.

“We skied the tracks and talked about how we were going to deal with the peaks, where we could save some energy, and we put together a good tactical plan for today,” team coach Anders Bystroem told Reuters.

“We have had good results (in the World Cup), we’ve had a great team effort, but you need that little extra and we had that today – that is what is decisive at the Olympics,” he added.

“The skiing worked much better, it felt like a much better game plan today,” added Oeberg’s sister Hanna, a 2018 Olympic champion.

Her younger sister credited her first Olympic medal to the collective Swedish effort.

“We really worked hard together as a team to get here, and together we took this medal as a team also,” she said.

Sweden’s men will have their chance to get on the podium on Saturday in the men’s sprint race at the National Biathlon Arena.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Michael Perry)