Loginov's triumph, Samuelsson's handshake and Fourcade's outrage: how did the men's sprint end at the Oberhof KM stage
Alexander Loginov won the first time in his career at the stage of the Biathlon World Cup. In German, Oberhof Russian became the first in the sprint. After the finish, Martin Fourcade, left without a medal, declared that he considered the success of the Russian athlete a shame. Meanwhile, Johannes Byo and Sebastian Samuelsson, who were on the podium, did not refuse to shake hands with a native of Saratov.
“Didn’t pay attention to Fourcade”
The first stages of the World Cup for men were marked by the struggle of Johannes Beu and Alexander Loginov. The Norwegian took advantage of the unexpected decline of Martin Fourcade and confidently led the overall standings thanks to six victories in Pokljuka, Hochfilzen and Nove Mesto.
Loginov also entrenched in the role of the main pursuer of Johannes. To beat Bee Jr all the time he was hindered by something: either the absurd fall at the finish (in Pokljuka), or an extra slip. And Alexander himself admitted that he is not ready to fight the main competitor in speed.
However, in Oberhof the Russians expected a miracle, because in previous years at this stage, domestic biathletes often won medals. Here Nikolay Kruglov, Dmitry Malyshko, Evgeny Ustyugov, Maxim Chudov, and Ivan Tcherezov won. And Kruglov and Malyshko did make out the “golden hat-tricks” in 2007 and 2013, respectively. Now they waited for gold from Loginov, and, perhaps, only he could bring to his country.
And Alexander from the very first meters of the distance showed that he was finally ready to fight for the victory. The leader of the Russian national team went the distance immediately after Fourcade and to the first firing line caught up with the Frenchman.
Apparently, the proximity of the sworn rival confused Marten, and he made a mistake. Loginov also worked to zero and confidently led the race. Moreover, Alexander showed fantastic speed and literally in front of his eyes, he was breaking away from his pursuers, including Fourcade.
It quickly became clear that only Johannes Bo could really compete with the Russian. The Norwegian on the bench also worked to zero and improved the result of Loginov by almost 12 seconds.
The fate of the gold medal was decided at the front. Alexander, despite the strong wind and snow, managed to take advantage of a short lull and with incredible speed sent all five bullets to the target. Fourcade also shot for sure, but by that time he no longer had the opportunity to fight with the Russian.
“Did you pay attention to the Fourcade with which you ran alongside?” Not. Today at the "rack" were difficult weather conditions: the wind was blowing, then not blowing. I wanted to shoot a little bit faster to fit in this gap, ”Loginov said on the air of Match TV.
The stands froze when Be-junior arrived at the line. Johannes quickly closed two targets, but did not cope with the third - the size prevented. One mistake put an end to the victorious ambitions of the World Cup overall leader. He left the line, giving Loginov more than 12 seconds, and later lost to Alexander more and more.
The Russian has fantastically fulfilled the final lap of the same Fourcade ahead by almost 50 seconds. Johannes eventually gave Alexander all 20s. At the same time, in sheer speed, the Norwegian still beat the Russians by four seconds.
“I don’t feel anything special right now. Yesterday I ran through the headlines in the media. Everyone said it would be hard. I also understood that it would be really difficult. But I am very pleased that I managed to work this way, I am satisfied with the finish. Now the situation is such that from the first round everyone starts very quickly. Squeeze one hundred percent. I did not plan to run so fast at the finish, but today I had enough strength for the last lap, ”Loginov added.
“For me, Loginov's victory is a shame”
For Alexander, this victory was the first in his career at the World Cup. It is symbolic that he achieved it immediately after his career was completed by Anton Shipulin, who in recent years has been Russia's main hope for gold medals. It was he who last season won one of two victories of the Russians in personal KM races. The second was obtained by Maxim Tsvetkov. Thus, Loginov became the first Russian biathlete in ten months, who managed to win gold in the KM race.
Bronze went to the “best friend” of Russian sports, Sebastian Samuelsson, who started closer to the end of the race, but ahead of Benedikt Doll and Arnd Peiffer in the tense fight to the displeasure of local fans.
After the finish, many waited with interest, whether Bo Jr. and Samuelsson would shake hands with Loginov after the awards ceremony, because both of them had repeatedly criticized Alexander for doping past. As a result, both still greeted the opponent.
But Fourcade, who remained in the end without medals, could not restrain himself and criticized Loginov.
“Alexander must apologize to the biathletes and speak with us. He passes by like nothing happened. As long as he behaves this way, I will not respect him. For me, Loginov's victory is a shame. I respect his decision to return, but I do not respect him. We treated him too kindly, even the fans supported him. But you need to be fair. Loginov was not as kind to us. He won today, he is stronger than he was before, ”Fourcade quoted TV 2 Sport.
Alexander did not remain silent and promised to personally speak with the Frenchman.
“I would like to personally speak with Marten. We can discuss our questions. There is nothing more to comment on, ”quotes Loginov NRK.
"This hare, our hero"
Former head coach of the Russian national team Alexander Kasperovich said that Alexander is in great shape.
“He had problems with the rifle unit, somewhere he was in a hurry, but today he understood perfectly. You have seen today's shooting - everything is fast and accurate. In principle, it was predictable, I expected that Alexander will perform quite successfully, will not fail. This victory is also very important because Loginova is the first in his career. I am glad that Alexander has demonstrated excellent speed and accurate shooting, since the stage in Oberhof is very difficult, quotes the words Championship.
And the former head of the Russian Biathlon Union, Alexander Tikhonov, called Loginov "a real hare."
“I expected such a result from him, from anyone else. He is a real fighter. I told Sasha that he should come back and prove everything to everyone - he did just that. Huge merit in this and Kasperovich. We have not turned away from Loginov. Today everything went perfectly for him - both shooting and progress. Loginov is a real hare, our hero, ”Tikhonov said.
The current president of the RRF, Vladimir Drachev, admitted that he believed in Loginov’s victory and even expected a miss from the Norwegian before the final shooting of Johannes Bö.
“We are very pleased that Sasha started this year with a victory, we hope that this will continue in the future. Today he showed the highest quality biathlon, brilliantly spent the race. Loginov perfectly and quickly worked on the lines. Of course, he was walking along with Johaness. Loginov proved that you can win even from such leaders as Be. Now he is entering a stage of close competition with him, ”noted Drachev.
Finally, a member of the Board of the SBR, Viktor Maygurov, admitted that after the finish he asked Loginov to give the starting number, but he decided to keep it.
“Give the next. Probably, Sasha is a person who does not express his emotions, experiencing everything inside. This is normal. You do not need to jump, scream, like many others, promote this, ”the functionary estimated the behavior of the athlete.
Maygurov also admitted that he was pleased when Loginov caught up and walked Fourcade.
“This shows that Sasha is an adult athlete who understands the situation well. I do not think that Marten could hold on to Loginov. Sasha today went "skipping", and Fourcade just rolled. Sasha kept this power to the last, if he gave someone in the first circles, then he compensated for everything. This is his strength, he can add, ”added a member of the board of the SBR.
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