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Biathlon stays on the mark, Alpine programme falters

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP):

While the Alpine schedule is still hit and miss, biathlon is right on target and already producing the first multi-medallists of the Vancouver Olympics.

Germany's Magdalena Neuner won the women's 10-kilometre biathlon pursuit yesterday, holding off Slovakia's Anastazia Kuzmina - the pair exchanging podium places after the first two women's races. Kuzmina beat Neuner for gold in the 7.5K sprint, on Saturday, the first day of full competition.

Sweden's Bjorn Ferry won the men's 12.5-kilometre biathlon pursuit, taking the lead on the final lap after his fourth shoot and winning in 33 minutes, 38.4 seconds, 16.5 seconds faster than silver medallist Christoph Sumann of Austria.

France's Vincent Jay, who started first after winning the 10K sprint in his Olympic debut Sunday, took the bronze, 28.2 seconds back.

Up at the Alpine venue, organisers haven't even been able to get two races started because of the weather - the men's super-combined was postponed yesterday and the women's downhill training was cancelled. It was an overnight snowstorm, this time, that forced organisers into a reshuffle of the Alpine programme.

The snowboard cross competition got under way at Cypress Mountain, but with thousands fewer fans there to watch them.

Wet, warm weather has made the general-admission, standing room area too dangerous for viewing snowboarding halfpipe, ski cross and snowboard parallel giant slalom, forcing organisers to refund another 20,000 ticket holders. That makes 28,000 tickets to be refunded so far, costing organisers about $1.44 million.