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updated: 2/16/2010 3:03 PM

Ferry gives Sweden gold in men's biathlon pursuit

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  • Bjorn Ferry of Sweden won the men's 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit for his first Olympic medal.

      Bjorn Ferry of Sweden won the men's 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit for his first Olympic medal.
    Associated Press

 

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bjorn Ferry of Sweden won the men's 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit for his first Olympic medal, kicking up his right ski in jubilation as he crossed the finish line.

Ferry took the lead on the final lap after his fourth shoot and had a winning time Tuesday of 33 minutes, 38.4 seconds, 16.5 seconds faster that silver medalist Christoph Sumann of Austria.

France's Vincent Jay, who started first after winning the 10K sprint in his Olympic debut Sunday, took the bronze, 28.2 seconds back.

Ferry started 1 minute, 12 seconds behind Jay, and Sumann was 1:24 back.

Norway great Ole Einar Bjorndalen, who started in 17th place, was in position to challenge for the podium until his only two misses of the day on his final shoot. He slipped to seventh.

Jay and Ferry left the range together after both missed one of five targets on their fourth and final shoot and had to circle the 150-meter penalty loop.

They still were way ahead of the pack, and Ferry, who had just the one miss, quickly pulled away from Jay, who missed two targets, same as Sumann.

The top American finisher was Jeremy Teela, who came in 24th after starting the race in ninth.

Because the starting times in the pursuit were based on the finish times of the previous race, America's best biathlete, Tim Burke, of Paul Smiths, N.Y., didn't go off until Vincent had been on the course for nearly three minutes, an impossible deficit.

"This was a training session for me," said Burke, who was done in by a mid-race snowstorm in the sprint and moved up just one spot to finish in 46th Tuesday. "After that crazy sprint, I knew I didn't have a chance."

Burke, who two months ago became the first U.S. biathlete to wear the coveted yellow bib as the overall World Cup leader, still expects to contend for America's first Olympic medal in the European-dominated sport that combines cross country skiing with rifle marksmanship.

His next chance is in Thursday's 20-kilometer individual event.

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