Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): , Cesana San Sicario
Date Started: February 21, 2006
Date Finished: February 21, 2006
Format: Eight shots for each group of five targets. Penalty loop (150 metres) skied for each missed target.
As always the big three nations were considered to be Germany, Russia, and Norway. Norway had won the 2005 World Championship, and was second to Germany in 2004, with Russia second in 2005. France, third at the 2004 Worlds, was also expected to be strong. But an unusual thing happened on the opening leg as the lead was taken by a nation with no significant biathlon history, the United States, with Jay Hakkinen putting them almost four seconds up on the Czech Republic, with Germany in third. But that didn’t last long as the USA dropped to eighth after the second leg, with Germany moving into the lead over Italy and Poland. By the final exchange the Germans led, with Russia second and France third, while Norway was struggling, back in 10th place, as Frode Andresen missed seven shots and had to ski two penalty loops. Germany would hold on for the gold medal, Russia finishing second. The race for the bronze was extremely close with Sweden’s Carl Johan Bergman and France’s Raphaël Poirée coming to the line almost together. But a stumble right at the line by Bergman enabled France to get onto the podium, winning by about a boot-length. Norway would move up in the final leg, as Ole Einar Bjørndalen brought them up to fifth. The United States? They would finish ninth.