Denise Herrmann of Germany crosses the finish line of the women’s 15-kilometer individual race at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Monday in Zhangjiakou, China. Frank Augstein/Associated Press

ZHANGJAIKOU, China — Denise Herrmann’s performance on the range, missing only one of 20 shots, put her at the front of the pack.

Her fast skiing didn’t hurt, either.

Herrmann won the women’s 15-kilometer individual race in biathlon on Monday at the Beijing Olympics after a season of mixed results on the World Cup circuit. The German’s only podium finish this season was a bronze medal in the individual race in Oestersund, Sweden.

Herrmann, a former Olympic cross-country skier, won Monday’s race in 44 minutes, 12.7 seconds.

Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France missed her last shot, a costly mistake, and took silver, 9.4 seconds behind Herrmann. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway, the overall World Cup leader, missed two shots, one prone and one standing, and settled for bronze, 15.3 seconds behind.

Deedra Irwin was the top American in seventh place after hitting 19 of 20 targets and finishing 1:01.4 behind Herrmann. Her result was the best Olympic performance ever for the U.S. in an individual biathlon event.

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Cape Elizabeth native Clare Egan finished 39th, missing five shots.

The women raced over 15 kilometers in five ski loops, shooting twice in the prone position and twice standing between each lap. In all other biathlon events, they ski a 150-meter loop for each missed shot, which takes about 20 seconds. But in the individual race, one minute is added for each miss, making shooting accuracy especially important.

Eight years ago at the 2014 Sochi Games, Herrmann won a bronze medal in cross-country skiing.

“I’m super proud that I have two medals in two kinds of sports,” Herrmann said. “It’s super amazing. Cross-country skiing is also cool, but biathlon is more so. Sometimes it’s a thrilling race.”

Chevalier-Bouchet’s second-place finish earned her a second silver medal at the Beijing Games. She was part of the four-person French team that finished just behind Norway on Saturday in the mixed relay.

“Now I’m free of every result,” Chevalier-Bouchet said. “When I went there I wanted a medal in a relay and an individual medal and after two races I’ve got two.”

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Roeiseland had been the favorite after seven World Cup victories this season. But her two misses cost her two minutes.

“When you race, you don’t know anything before the coach tells us or you see the results list,” the Norwegian said. “I thought after the finish line, ‘This is not going to be a medal,’ because it’s 18 hits and I thought maybe someone would hit 20 or 19, so I was a bit surprised that it was enough for me.”

Defending Olympic champion Hanna Oeberg of Sweden had three misses in her standing shooting and finished 23rd, 2:23.1 behind. Marketa Davidova of the Czech Republic, the leader in the World Cup individual standings, was perfect on the range until she missed her last shot, costing her a likely gold medal. She finished sixth, 31.9 seconds behind Herrmann.

“I think it was just my mistake. It was nothing special,” Davidova said of missing the last shot. “I was trying to do what I did in the 19 shots before, but one goes up so one miss, and it’s quite a lot in this race today.”

Some of the biggest obstacles on the biathlon range – strong wind and frigid temperatures – were less of a factor on Monday. Temperatures hovered around 14 degrees, compared to 5 degrees for Saturday’s mixed relay. The winds calmed from around 15 kph (9.3 mph) to around 5 kph (3 mph).


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