Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 22, 1980
Date Finished: February 22, 1980
Format: Eight shots for each group of five targets. Penalty loop (150 metres) skied for each missed target.
As expected, the 1980 Biathlon relay became a duel between the defending Olympic Champion Soviet Union and East Germany, World Champion in 1978 and 1979. At the first leg, the Soviet Union’s Vladimir Alikin took a 23-second lead over East Germany’s 21-year-old Mathias Jung, who was making his international championship début. France was in third, followed by Austria and Finland, all well behind the two leading teams. At the second leg, Aleksandr Tikhonov, the 33-year old Soviet veteran, already with three Olympic relay gold medals and six World Championships relay gold medals in his pocket, expanded the Soviet lead to almost 1½ minutes over East Germany’s Klaus Siebert, who had to ski two penalty laps. Despite Frank Ullrich’s superb third leg, gaining 47 seconds on the Soviet Union’s Vladimir Barnashov, anchor skier Anatoly Alyabyev had no problems in securing another relay gold medal for the Soviet team, their fourth out of four possible so far at the Olympics. And Tikhonov had been a team-member on all four occasions!
Eberhard Rösch secured East Germany’s first Olympic biathlon relay silver medal, having won bronze medals in both 1972 and 1976. The fight for the bronze medal was close. West Germany’s 20-year-old Peter Angerer had a solid third leg for his team, advancing from seventh to third, closely followed by Norway and France. On the anchor leg, Gerd Winkler went away from his contenders and clinched the first ever international relay medal for West Germany.