Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): Nozawa Onsen Resort, Nozawa Onsen
Date Started: February 21, 1998
Date Finished: February 21, 1998
Format: Eight shots for each group of five targets. Penalty loop (150 metres) skied for each missed target.
This event was considered a toss-up between Germany and Norway. Germany had won the World Championships in 1997 and 1995, and was second to Russia in 1996. Norway had been second to Germany in 1997, but their young biathletes were coming on, and they had won both individual events, [Halvard Hanevold] winning the 20 km, and [Ole Einar Bjørndalen] taking the sprint. Germany took the lead on the first leg, with Norway only sixth. On the second leg, [Peter Sendel] opened up more time on Hanevold, but Latvia’s [Ilmārs Bricis] posted what would be the fastest leg of the event to move Latvia ahead of Germany. But that didn’t last. Latvia dropped back to fifth with Germany leading Russia by 1:10 after the third leg, Norway still only in fourth place. Norway’s anchor was Bjørndalen and he set off after Germany’s [Frank Luck]. Bjørndalen beat Luck by 1:23.5 on the leg, but Germany was never in danger, winning the gold medal by 20.1 seconds over Norway, with Russia third. This was the third consecutive German victory in the event, with [Ricco Groß] on all three teams.