Light snow at Whistler Olympic Park has seen Germany pick up a bronze medal in the women’s 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay. Russia finished the event in first place, while France picked up silver.
The team achieved a third-place finish without Neuner
The German team went into the event without its star, Magdalena Neuner, who has already picked up two gold medals and a silver at the Vancouver Games.
Germany was in second place after the third of the four legs, but anchor Andrea Henkel was unable to keep up the pace on the approach to the finish line.
By this point, Russia had already taken command of the race, with Olga Zaitseva rounding off the team effort with an accumulative time of 1:09:36.3, almost 33 seconds ahead of the second-placed French team. Germany finished just over 37 seconds off the leaders' pace.
Neuner had earlier pulled out of the race citing exhaustion, leaving a team consisting of Henkel, Kati Wilhelm, Simone Hauswald and Martina Beck to battle it out together.
Beck admitted the Neuner's decision not to race was a significant blow for the team's chances.
"At first, I couldn't say anything," she said. "I was so shocked. I had lots of pressure on me today. It was probably the hardest race of my life."
The bronze medal leaves Germany sitting in second place on the Games medal count, with seven gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals. The US currently sits atop the ladder.
The final biathlon event of the Vancouver Games, the men's 4x7.5-km relay, is to be held February 26.
Meanwhile, Germany has also picked up a bronze in the men’s Nordic Combined team event. The team consisting of Johannes Rydzek, Tino Edelmann, Eric Frenzel and Bjoern Kircheisen finished 19.5 seconds behind winners Austria, who completed the event in 49:31.6. The US team came in second.
Editor: Rick Demarest