Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roiseland took World Cup gold on Day 1 of the 2019 BMW Biathlon World Cup stop at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center.
Roiseland won the women’s sprint competition Thursday, her second sprint victory of the World Cup season. She finished the competition in 19:47.6. The Norway biathlete has now been in the top four in the last five World Cup women’s sprint competitions.
“I really feel the [elevation] here, so today I just tried to open a bit slowly than I’m used to and hopefully have some power in the end,” she said. “I think that was the smartest thing I could do today. I’m really happy to hit all the targets.”
Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen finished with the silver. A penalty put Makarainen 11.5 seconds back of Roiseland. Germany’s Franzika Hildebrand earned her first podium of the World Cup season, finishing 21.4 seconds back of Roiseland. Makarainen said the Finnish biathlon team dealt with flight cancellations after connecting through Seattle from Calgary in getting to Utah. The team then had to go through Toronto to eventually circle back to Salt Lake City.
“It’s a really hard track, we’re at altitude and it’s a lot of climbing here and already right from the beginning, it’s quite a long, steep uphill,” Makarainen said. “You have to be really well warmed-up and be a little bit careful in the first uphill, but I felt quite good today. I really like the course here.”
U.S. biathlete Clare Egan was the highest-placing American in the women’s sprint event in Midway, finishing 21st overall. Fellow Americans Susan Dunklee (45th overall) and Joanne Reid (52nd) rounded out the finishing U.S. competitors Thursday.
All qualified for Saturday’s 10-kilometer pursuit by finishing in the top 60 of Thursday’s 7.5km sprint.
“I’m coming off a week of sickness and had a really hard time with the altitude today, so I’m very happy I was able to put together a good shooting performance,” Egan said. “I have a good starting position for Saturday’s pursuit and can’t wait to get back out there in front of the home crowd.”
Day 2 of the World Cup continues Friday at Solider Hollow with the men’s sprint event scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m.