With an act of strength Austria takes bronze at Relay
It was 10 days the Austrian biathlon fans needed to be patient before Daniel Mesotitsch, Julian Eberhard, Simon Eder and Dominik Landertinger finished third and managed to bring home the first medal for the Austrians. A medal shining just like a golden one! For the first time since 2008 the Russian athletes took gold in the men’s Relay – 5,8 seconds in front of France.
Until the last handover there was an open end to the race because hardly anyone shot clean on the shooting range which is why the leading nation constantly changed which made up for another thrilling competition. After the final Austrian handover from Eder to Landertinger Russia’s Anton Shipulin set the pace for the last leg while Frenchman Martin Fourcade and the German Schempp put pressure on him. With one mistake at the prone shooting Landertinger and Schempp headed out together for the last loop.
In the lead the position 1 and 2 fell between Russia and France but the duel for bronze couldn’t have been any more exciting. It all looked like the decision would fall on the final stretch until local hero Dominik Landertinger finally went off in front of 22.300 crazy fans in the stadium. He used the last uphill for a sprint and left the German behind and “Landi” brought the small lead home which meant a bronze medal. Without the ten reloads the Austrians needed, the medal could have had a different colour though. Apparently Hochfilzen is a good spot for the team. With a medal at the Relay in 2005 the ÖSV athletes took the history’s first medal on home soil.
Anton Shipulin (RUS): “I want to thank my team and the whole Russian Federation. The last leg was the most difficult one, I knew then that Martin was running behind me. I tried to run faster than he did and now I’m more than happy about my victory.”
Martin Fourcade (FRA): “I didn’t manage to catch up on Anton. In the beginning I tried and almost succeeded. But then I realized it won’t happen.”
Dominik Landertinger (AUT): “It was a tough race. Simon is one of the best runners on the last loop I know. After I headed out after the prone with him behind me I realized it could be close. I trained on this final uphill so often and knew I had to attack there. The last couple 100 meters were extremely hard on my legs but crossing the line like this is one of the most beautiful feelings!”