Norway’s path to Olympic gold in the 4x600m biathlon mixed relay was anything but straightforward, as the team that finished 20th saved the day for the gold medal winners.
Vision is always key to the sport, with its rifle work demanding both the precise and very precise, but it took the eyesight of Slovenia’s team to help Norway hit the podium.
Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Thingnes Boe added another gold medal to their 2014 Sochi win, but let’s rewind, because it’s way more fun when you don’t realize Norway’s going to triumph in the end.
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Norway’s 2014 win in this event was followed up by a 2018 silver, but what’s more remarkable is the close nature of this race.
The previous two Olympics saw the gaps between gold and silver finish at around 32 seconds and 21 seconds, respectively, but this tournament’s gap was 1.5 seconds between gold and bronze.
Norway finished in1:06:45.6, silver-winning France clocked in at 1:06:46.5, and ROC’s bronze time was 1:06:47.1.
This, it bears underscoring, was very close. Little things made the difference.
…And items small
Roeiseland prepared for her shooting without the realization that she was missing the iris aperture, a very small part of her rifle that is positioned very close to her aiming eye and imperative for shooting well.
But Slovenia’s Polona Klemencic could see the iris aperture was missing and told team physiotherapist Ula Hafner, who quickly informed the Norwegian team and then found the missing piece in the snow.
Roesieland, previously unaware she would be firing without a crucial component, was relieved to clear an obstacle which she didn’t even know stood between, or hid from, her Olympic goal.
I’m glad I found it, and happy to help. When Johannes Thingnes Bø crossed the finish line, I was happy for them. I know that without an iris aperture, Norway would have had a very difficult time today.
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