Host City: Albertville, France
Venue(s): , Les Saisies
Date Started: February 14, 1992
Date Finished: February 14, 1992
Format: Eight shots for each group of five targets. Penalty loop (150 metres) skied for each missed target.
Since women first competed at the biathlon World Championships in 1984, the relay had always been won the Soviet team. Norway and Sweden had usually fought out the other medals, although Finland had won two medals, and Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Germany and the United States had won one medal each. The Unified Team was favored in the absence of the defunct Soviet Union. But on the first leg, France took the lead, shooting cleanly, while both Yelena Belova (EUN) and Uschi Disl (GER) missed a target, dropping their teams to third and fourth respectively, also trailing Bulgaria. France was unknown in women’s biathlon prior to the 1991-92 season but they had won the last World Cup race prior to the Albertville Games. Anfisa Reztsova put the Unified Team ahead after the second leg, followed by Germany and France, as the world order was restored. But the final leg brought a shocker, as Anne Briand-Bouthiaux had the fastest leg by over 45 seconds to bring France a surprising gold medal. This was especially surprising as one of France’s best biathletes, Delphine Heymann-Burlet, had to miss the event because of illness. Germany’s [Petra Behle] moved her team up to second, with the Unified team winning the bronze medal.