News ID: 209874
Published: 0341 GMT February 12, 2018

Anderson retains gold in challenging wind; Dahlmeier wins historic double

Anderson retains gold in challenging wind; Dahlmeier wins historic double
Jamie Anderson of the US competes in the women's slopestyle snowboarding finals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang’s Phoenix Snow Park in South Korea on February 12, 2018.
ISSEI KATO/REUTERS

Sochi Olympics champion Jamie Anderson of the US battled challenging cross winds that had delayed the start of the final to win her second successive Olympic gold in the women’s snowboard slopestyle at the PyeongChang Games on Monday.

The start of the final, which included all of the athletes after qualifying was canceled on Sunday because of poor weather, had been delayed due to the strong winds, Reuters reported.

Only five riders made it down the first run without falling in the difficult conditions, which also included hard snow, with Anderson scoring 83.00 points to give her an almost 10-point advantage heading into the second run.

It was enough to hold off Canada’s Laurie Blouin, who took silver with 76.33 on her second run, and Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi, who added bronze to her silver from Sochi four years ago, with 75.38 points.

There was a particularly scary moment when Slovakia’s Klaudia Medlova landed flat on her back after missing a grab during her first run but she did complete her second and finished 24th.

Austrian Anna Gasser, who told reporters after the event that the wind conditions made the event “a lottery”, was another favorite who struggled and failed to land either of her runs.

Anderson said her experience allowed her to handle the conditions better than some of her younger competitors, who were struggling to reign in some of the jumps that went too big for them to handle in the windy conditions.

“It is about who can deal with their nerves best and deal with the conditions in the moment,” said 27-year-old Anderson after the final.

She agreed with her rivals that the events were hard but also said it was about adjusting to the conditions and putting together a run suited for the specific situation.

Also on Monday, Martin Fourcade of France stormed to victory in the men’s Olympic 12.5km biathlon pursuit, surging clear after the third shoot to repeat his success in Sochi four years ago and claim his third Olympic gold medal.

Swedish prodigy Sebastian Samuelsson battled past Benedikt Doll to claim the silver with the German having to settle for bronze.

Starting eighth following a disappointing performance in Sunday’s sprint, Fourcade faltered slightly in the early going. He missed one of his first five shots as he struggled to find his range.

By the second shoot he was back to his best and engaged in a battle for the lead with Arnd Peiffer, who won the sprint gold medal 24 hours earlier.

Fourcade took the lead after the third shoot, hitting all five shots before streaking away, leaving Peiffer behind to ski a penalty lap following a costly miss that put him out of the medals race.

The Frenchman never looked back, hitting his last five shots and pumping his fist before taking off on the final lap and cruising across the line waving a French flag in a time of 32.51 minutes.

Elsewhere, Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier held her nerve in the howling wind, putting in an almost flawless shooting performance to win the women’s 10km biathlon pursuit in a time of 30.35 minutes on Monday and claim her second gold of the PyeongChang Olympics.

The victory made Dahlmeier the first female biathlete to win the sprint and pursuit double at the same Olympics.

“It feels really great, it’s amazing. I don’t know what to say because I felt really, really tired before the race and also during the race in the first laps. I just tried to stay focused and now I‘m here again,” Dahlmeier told reporters.

In a thrilling battle for silver, Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia edged out France’s Anais Bescond in a sprint finish to come home 29.4 seconds behind Dahlmeier.

After Dahlmeier’s five world championship golds and two wins in PyeongChang, her rivals know only too well how tough she is to beat.

“Laura dominates our sport, there are a lot of strong athletes out there. We need to shoot better and ski faster, that’s it,” Bescond said.

   
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