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  Canadian Golden Again in Biathlon Surprise

Compiled from News Services
Thursday, February 24, 1994; Page D6

Myriam Bedard's first Olympic biathlon gold medal made history. The second made her happy.

Bedard of Canada became the first North American Olympic biathlon winner when she captured the gold in Friday's 15-kilometer.

Her second gold in these Games, which was the closest finish ever in this Olympic event, came yesterday in the 7.5K sprint. Bedard edged Svetlana Paramygina of Belarus by 1.1 seconds, the narrowest edge for a sprint at the Games. Valentyna Tserbe of Ukraine, one of only four racers to shoot clean, squeezed in for the bronze, just 1.2 seconds behind the winner.

"The second gold medal was a very big bonus for me, I didn't expect that," Bedard said after posting a winning time of 26 minutes 8.8 seconds. She became the first North American to medal in the Olympics when she placed third in 1992 — the first Games to offer a women's event.

Joan Smith, Honeoye Falls, N.Y., was the top American finisher in 24th. She had two misses and a time of 27:39.1. Other American finishers were Beth Coats, Breckenridge, Colo., in 51st; Joan Guetschow, Minnetonka, Minn., in a tie for 52nd; and Mary Ostergren, Shoreview, Minn., in 64th.

Russia and Germany have swept the medals in the two men's biathlon events.

Continuing that dominance yesterday in the 10-kilometer sprint, Sergei Tchepikov of Russia won at the Birkebeineren Ski Stadium in 28:07.

Ricco Gross of Germany took the silver, 6 seconds behind, and Russia's Sergei Tarasov — who took the gold in the 20K last week — was 20.4 seconds back to capture the bronze.

Dave Jareckie of Bennington, Vt., was 64th after four missed targets. Duncan Douglas of Lake Placid, N.Y., finished 65th.

Nordic Combined: Japan, trying for its second straight Olympic gold in this event, soared virtually out of reach in yesterday's ski jump, the first portion of the two-day team event.

"Hopeless" was the Norwegians' estimate of their three-man team's chances of catching the Japanese today in the medal-deciding 30-kilometer cross-country relay. Points from the jumping earned Japan a head start of 5 minutes 7 seconds.

Takanori Kono flew 330 feet on his first jump — an excellent normal-hill distance even for jumping specialists.

Japan's jumping points totaled 733.5 to 672 for Norway, 643.5 for Switzerland, 619 for Estonia and 609 for Austria. Switzerland will start 7:30 behind Japan and Estonia 9:32 back.

Two members of Japan's team, Kono and Kenji Ogiwara, were on the three-man team that won in 1992, giving Japan its first Winter Olympic gold in 20 years. So far in these Games, Japan has no golds.

The U.S. team placed seventh in jumping with 602 points and will start the cross-country 10:57 behind Japan. Competing for the United States are 17-year-old Todd Lodwick, Dave Jarrett and Ryan Heckman, all of Steamboat Springs, Colo.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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