Fourcade wins biathlon 20km individual; Bjoerndalen finishes 34th

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France’s Martin Fourcade bagged his second gold of the Sochi Olympics, while Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finished 34th in his second attempt to earn a record-breaking 13th Winter Olympic medal.

Fourcade’s run, which featured one penalty, was 12.2 seconds faster than silver medalist Erik Lesser of Germany (no penalties). Evgeniy Garanichev gave the home crowd a thrill with a bronze-medal run, finishing 34.5 seconds back of the leader on one penalty.

As for Bjoerndalen, he missed four targets (one in each range) in a distance event he wasn’t really expected to contend for a medal in. He wound up finishing 3:50.2 back of Fourcade.

Team USA-wise, Lowell Bailey delivered an eighth-place performance in the men’s 20km individual event that now stands as the best-ever individual result for the U.S. in an Olympic biathlon event.

The previous top mark belonged to Jeremy Teela, who finished ninth in the men’s 10km sprint at Vancouver four years ago.

MEN’S BIATHLON – 20km INDIVIDUAL
1. Martin Fourcade (FRA), 49:31.7
2. Erik Lesser (GER), 49:43.9
3. Evgeniy Garanichev (RUS), 50:06.2


8. Lowell Bailey (USA), 50:57.4
44. Tim Burke (USA), 54:21.2
50. Russell Currier (USA), 55:07.5
83. Leif Nordgren (USA), 58:47.6

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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