PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - German biathlete Arnd Peiffer had a terrible start to his Sunday but his luck turned once he was out on the course at the Alpensia resort and he ended up winning Olympic gold in the men’s 10km sprint.
Quick around the course, Peiffer was a perfect 10 for 10 in the shooting and, with the rest of the field bothered by the wind and the cold, he managed to hang on to take a victory that was as much a surprise to him as it was to everyone else.
“I had not the best feeling. Today I was running this morning and I wanted to do some dry shooting, and I got to the stadium when I realised I forgot the key to my rifle storage,” he told reporters.
“Then in the afternoon I almost fell down the stairs in the wax cabin and I hit my elbow quite a lot, so it hurts like hell now. Then this part of the rifle broke, part of the bolt, and I thought, that’s a good day — everything goes well.”
Things would get a lot better when he went out on the course as the 22nd athlete in the race and, when favourites Martin Fourcade and Johannes Thingnes Boe both missed three of their first five shots, the door was open for an outsider.
“I think that it was so windy was quite an advantage for me, because I could reach a good result with good shooting. When we have quite good conditions, a lot of guys shoot clean and then of course the fastest guys are in front,” he explained.
“Today, not so many guys shot clean so it was good for me. I think Martin (Fourcade) and Johannes (Thingnes Boe) had good ski times... so I think it was an advantage for me that it was so windy.”
Peiffer was delighted to finally break the dominance of Frenchman Fourcade and Norway’s Boe.
“Martin and Johannes, they are dominating the whole season. They are dominating their season with the ski time, they were dominating the whole season on the range as well so I didn’t expect that it is possible to be in front of them,” he said.
“I’m quite surprised but sometimes the Olympic results are quite different,” Peiffer added.
Editing by Clare Fallon