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Dreissigacker qualifies for pursuit in first Olympic race

February 10, 2018
By the Associated Press , Lake Placid News

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- In her first appearance at an Olympic Games, Emily Dreissigacker , of Morrisville, Vermont, hit nine of 10 targets to finish 51st in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint as the biathlon competition opened at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre at the PyeongChang Olympics on Saturday. By placing in the top 60, Dreissigacker was the lone American to qualify for Monday's 10K pursuit.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) narrowly missed the cut in 61st place with three penalties, while Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vermont) was 66th and Joanne Reid (Palo Alto, California) finished 86th.

Germany's Laura Dahlmeier was one of only three women to shoot clean in the windy conditions as she won her first Olympic gold medal with a time of 21 minutes, 6.2 seconds. The silver medal went to Norway's Marte Olsbu, with one penalty, 24.2 seconds back, while Veronika Vitkova of Czech Republic, also with one penalty, won the bronze medal, 25.8 seconds behind Dahlmeier.

Article Photos

Clare Egan, of the United States, looks at her time after crossing the finish line during the women's 7.5km biathlon sprint at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Cold conditions greeted the women's field with the thermometer at 19 degrees Fahrenheit with a stiff breeze that made it feel much colder. The wind was so prevalent on the shooting range that only three women shot clean on their 10 targets.

"It was very windy for the shooting," Dreissigacker said. "In prone I definitely got kind of lucky and the wind was about the same as what I had zeroed in. And then in standing, I could feel the wind pushing my barrel around a little bit."

Although Dreissigacker was pleased with her performance, it had a bittersweet taste.

"I'm excited to be in the pursuit but I'm bummed for my teammates."

After narrowly missing out on qualifying for the pursuit, Egan lamented a spill she took early in the race.

"I fell on the first loop at the bottom of the big hill," Egan said. "Kind of a nightmare but weird things happen in big races I guess. Besides that, I am really pleased with my skiing considering that I was really sick during our pre-Olympic training camp."

Egan had one penalty in prone and another in standing after a problem with her rifle.

"It was really tricky shooting today but I'm happy with my prone," Egan added. "In standing, I started out really solid, had three good hits and felt good about what I was doing. Then I misfired, my bullet didn't eject and I wish I had refocused better after that."

Likewise, Dunklee had a solid prone but struggled in the wind in standing with four penalties.

"It's very frustrating," Dunklee said. "You work for four years and you have big dreams to see what's possible and it all comes down to one of these races like this. The sprint is so important for the rest of the races here. You really have to have a good sprint to qualify for the pursuit, to qualify for the mass start, so I'm really bummed about that."

Reid also acknowledged the wind as a big factor, especially in the middle of the range.

"At the end points of the range there's not as much wind," Reid said. "But the range can get pretty crowded when the race gets rolling so when I came into standing there was no end point of the range so you end up in the middle, and then if there's a gust you have to wait it out. But, if you wait it out then you start shaking and that really took me out in standing."

Team USA will look to rebound on Sunday in the men's 10K sprint starting at 6:15 a.m. Eastern time.

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Saturday's Olympic Biathlon Results

At Pyeongchang, South Korea

Women's 7.5km Sprint

1. Laura Dahlmeier, Germany, 21:06.2 (0 missed shots).

2. Marte Olsbu, Norway, 21:30.4 (1 missed shot).

3. Veronika Vitkova, Czech Republic, 21:32.0 (1 missed shot).

4. Marie Dorin Habert, France, 21:39.3 (1 missed shot).

5. Vanessa Hinz, Germany, 21:46.5 (1 missed shot).

6. Lisa Vittozzi, Italy, 21:46.7 (1 missed shot).

7. Hanna Oeberg, Sweden, 21:47.0 (1 missed shot).

8. Irene Cadurisch, Switzerland, 21:51.7 (1 missed shot).

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U.S. Finishers

51. Emily Dreissigacker, United States, 23:27.2 (1 missed shot).

61. Clare Egan, United States, 23:51.6 (3 missed shots).

66. Susan Dunklee, United States, 24:13.1 (5 missed shots).

86. Joanne Reid, United States, 26:18.8 (7 missed shots).

 
 

 

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