Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Date Started: February 13, 2010
Date Finished: February 13, 2010
Participants: 204 (105 men and 99 women) from 37 countries
Youngest Participant: Victor Pînzaru (18 years, 4 days)
Oldest Participant: Thanasis Tsakiris (45 years, 34 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Emil Hegle Svendsen and Magdalena Neuner (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): France (6 medals)
The biathlon events of the 2010 Winter Olympics were held, like the cross-country skiing and ski jumping, at the Whistler Olympic Park which is 125 km away from Vancouver. The schedule of events remained unchanged from 2006, the first time this had been the case for four Olympics.
Since Torino a doping scandal had tarnished the reputation of the Russian team.
Five team members including Olympic champion Albina Akhatova and world champions Ekaterina Iourieva and Dmitri Yaroshenko were caught up in a case which International Biathlon Union president Anders Besseberg said revealed “systematic doping on a large scale in one of the strongest teams of the world.”
One of the main interests in the sport was whether Ole Einar Bjørndalen of Norway could add to his tally of medals and despite early set backs he managed to add a gold and silver to his previous collection of 9 Olympic medals.
The men’s events at Whistler were a mixture of the predictable and the surprising.
The gold medals won by Emil Hegle Svendsen and Yevgeny Ustyugov were taken by men who had shown excellent form in races prior to the Games. Those won by Vincent Jay and Bjorn Ferry were not so easily predicted.
After the shock victory of Anastasia Kuzmina of Slovakia in the sprint event the more traditional biathlon nations proceeded to win the other races. Star of the Games was Magdalena Neuner who won 2 golds and a silver despite opting out of the relay. Despite the loss of some of their top biathletes to doping bans the Russian women were victorious in the relay. Skiing the third leg for Russia was Olga Pylyova-Medvedtseva who has had an eventful Olympic career. An Olympic champion from 2002, she had forfeited a silver medal won in Torino due to a positive doping test for the stimulant carphedon. She is unique in having been Olympic champion before and after failing a drug test at the Olympic Games.
Norway emerged as the team winning most gold medals (3), although it took them until the 5th event, the women’s 15 kilometres, for them to take the first of their gold’s. In terms of total medals, perhaps more surprisingly it was France who ended up as the best nation with a gold, two silver and three bronze medals. Slovakia, Kazakhstan and Croatia won biathlon medals for the first time.