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.