PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - After setting alight the biathlon world with her five golds at the 2017 World Championships, German Laura Dahlmeier used her sure-fire marksmanship to win her first Olympic title in tough conditions in Pyeongchang on Saturday.
Dahlmeier gauged the cold and windy conditions perfectly and made all 10 of her shots to give her a comfortable victory in the women’s 7.5km sprint.
“I think the shooting was the key for the success today,” the modest 24-year-old told a media conference.
Asked to elaborate on how she managed to stay focussed when others around her got rattled, Dahlmeier laughed.
“That’s my secret! I think it’s always the same, in training, in competition, at the Olympics — it’s always the same things you do and the only thing that’s different is in your mind,” she said.
While others struggled, Dahlmeier was a picture of composure throughout, or at least until she crossed the finish line when she thumped her chest, almost certain that her superb shooting would be enough for gold.
Runner-up Marte Olsbu of Norway was in no way disappointed with her performance, despite a single costly miss early on that prevented her from fighting for the gold medal.
“Of course I was happy, it was my best race ever, it was difficult on the shooting range today because it was so windy. I just stuck to my plan, and I was so happy when I crossed the finish line,” she told reporters.
The 27-year-old said she now planned to put up a good fight against her German rival.
“To beat Laura we have to shoot good and go fast, and I’m excited about the pursuit (competition), I think it’s going to be a tough race.
Bronze medal winner Veronika Vitkova was also pleased, despite missing out on silver by just 1.6 seconds.
“Conditions on the track were very hard in this race. On the range there was a big wind, it was very hard for us,” the Czech explained.
“I am very happy, because this medal is my first big medal in an individual race. I had a medal from the Olympic Games in Sochi, it was in the mixed relay, but now I have my medal,” she said.
Editing by Clare Fallon