Sweden Wins Olympic Gold in Biathlon

Björn Ferry in the 12.5 kilometre biathlon pursuit has won Sweden its second Winter Olympic gold medal inside two days at Whistler Olympic Park,  becoming the first Swedish man to win biathlon gold since Klas Lestander won the 20K race at Squaw Valley in 1960.

The biathlon combines cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship and in the exciting pursuit event, competitors start in the order they finished the ten kilometre sprint on Sunday, which was affected by a freak snowstorm . Ferry, who's 31 years of age and is ranked 22nd in the World Cup rankings, started Tuesday's pursuit in eigth place, 72 seconds behind France's Vincent Jay who won Sunday's sprint.

Biathlon skier Björn Ferry has won Sweden its second gold inside two days at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver where organisers have once again come under fire for a series of blunders including a timing error in the women's biathlon pursuit which may have cost Sweden's Anna Carin Olofsson-Zidek a medal.

Ferry soon made up ground on his rivals. He missed only one shot in his final bout of four rounds of shooting and hit the front on the last lap to win in a time of of 33 minutes, 38.4 seconds - 16.5 seconds faster than silver medalist Christoph Sumann of Austria. As he crossed the finishing line he kicked up his right ski in celebration of the biggest win of his career. Ferry's previous best Olympic finish was fourth place in the 4x7.5km at the 2006 Turin Games.

"I'm 31, and I've waited for this my whole life..... Biathlon, it's so strange, I don't know how I did it. Everything is possible. You have to have a bit of luck and it has to be your day." Ferry said.

"I believe in anything but the gold medal in a men's biathlon event surpasses my dreams," Sweden's German coach Wolfgang Pichler told Reuters.

Pichler though was furious over the foul-ups in the start times for both the mens and womens events which saw Sweden's medal hope Anna Carin Olofsson-Zidek sent out 14 seconds late. After the Swedes complained she was given the time back and placed fourth.

"It was a totally different race for her after that and that is why we complained," Pilcher told reporters.

An official for the International Biathlon Union the IBU said it took full responsibility for the fiasco which Norbert Baier said was down to the fact that the volunteers felt too nervous to handle the starts so experienced IBU officials were called in at the last minute to give the starts.

Elsewhere at the Games, Sweden's mens young curling team underlined their credentials by beating Britain's World champions 6-4.