Laura Dahlmeier cruises to her 1st Olympic gold in 7.5km sprint

Laura Dahlmeier on Saturday won the first biathlon gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Games at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Dahlmeier finished the women’s 7.5km sprint in 21 minutes, 6.2 seconds and going a perfect 5 for 5 on her shooting bouts. She was one of three in a field of 87 to shoot all 10 of her targets clean.

It’s the 24-year-old Dahlmeier’s first Olympic gold medal of her career in her second Winter Olympics.

Marte Olsbu of Norway took the silver medal, finishing in 21 minutes, 30.4 seconds and missing one of her five shooting bouts.

Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic won the bronze medal. She finished in 21 minutes, 32 seconds and missing one of her shots as well.

Coming into the PyeongChang Games, U.S. Biathlon believed this year was its best chance to capture its first-ever Olympic medal.

It was a miserable start for the Americans. Susan Dunklee, the U.S.’s best chance at medaling in the 7.5 km sprint, missed five shots — one in the prone position and four while standing — and fell out of medal contention early.

By finishing 66th, Dunklee failed to qualify for Monday’s women’s 10km pursuit. Only the top 60 from the sprint qualify for the pursuit, and now, the U.S. will be down their best hope at a medal.

Emily Dreissigacker was the only American to finish in the top 60. Dreissigacker finished in 23 minutes, 27.2 seconds. She’s the only American to qualify for the women’s pursuit Monday.

Biathlon continues Sunday (6:15 a.m. EST) with the men’s 10km sprint.

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