Disappointed Nilsson has to wait longer for Olympic debut in new sport

Stina Nilsson of Sweden in action competes during the Sprint Women at the IBU World Cup Biathlon Annecy Le Grand Bornand

Stina Nilsson of Sweden in action competes during the Sprint Women at the IBU World Cup Biathlon Annecy Le Grand Bornand

Former Olympic cross-country ski champion Stina Nilsson will have to wait a little longer to make her Olympic debut as a biathlete after being overlooked for Sweden’s four-woman team for Friday’s 7.5 km sprint at the Beijing Games.

The PyeongChang cross-country sprint gold medallist, who also took silver in the relay and team sprint events in 2018 before announcing her shock switch to biathlon in March 2020, was considered for Friday’s race, but team boss Johannes Lukas instead chose to give an Olympic debut to Anna Magnusson.

She will be joined at the start line by Linn Persson and the Oeberg sisters, Hanna and Elvira. Mona Brorsson, whose 12th place in Monday’s 15 km individual race made her Sweden’s best performer on the day, is another surprising omission, alongside Nilsson.

“Obviously Stina and Mona are disappointed, that’s no secret. They had most likely been picked in almost every other women’s team (in the race) but we only have four places,” Lukas told reporters.

A silver medallist in the 2018 Olympic relay, Brorsson expressed her frustration with the decision to omit her in a post on Instagram.

“I probably can’t describe how disappointed I am right now. I’m not picked for the sprint and with that, there will be no pursuit race for me either,” she wrote.

“I would obviously have preferred to stand at the start line myself but now I will do all I can to support and cheer on the girls who will compete.”

Nilsson was more reserved in a statement she released.

“I knew before we came here that I was not guaranteed a place in any of the races. Obviously I hoped to the end that I would have a chance to race, but I respect the choice of team and will do my best in the role of reserve,” she said.

Currently ranked 36 in the World Cup standings, Nilsson told Reuters in a recent interview about learning to shoot and how her goal is to be competitive at the 2026 Olympics in Milan.

Apart from the sprint, there are three other races for women still to take place at the Beijing Games and the 28-year-old Nilsson could still make her debut in Beijing, most likely in the 4×6 km relay on Feb. 16.

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