Host City: Calgary, Canada
Venue(s): Canmore Nordic Centre, Canmore
Date Started: February 26, 1988
Date Finished: February 26, 1988
Format: Eight shots for each group of five targets. Penalty loop (150 metres) skied for each missed target.
The relay was expected to be contested between the Soviet Union and East Germany, as they had finished 1-2 at the last four World Championships and at the 1984 Winter Olympics. But on the first leg, the Soviet Union was in third place, trailing the surprising Austrians and Italy. The opening leg was a disaster for East Germany’s Jürgen Wirth, who missed three targets and finishing the leg in only 12th place. They were out of the medals and would finish fifth. On the second leg, the Soviets pulled ahead, taking almost a one minute lead over Austria. They would maintain the margin at about a minute to win the gold medal, although West Germany would come on in the last two legs to win silver, with Italy finishing third, and Austria dropping out of the medals in fourth. The first four teams had all their skiers shoot clean rounds throughout, and had no penalty loops. East Germany’s final three skiers also shot cleanly, and Wirth’s misses on the opening leg may have cost his team the gold medal. For the Soviet Union it was their sixth consecutive victory in the event, as they never lost the relay at the Winter Olympics.