Going the distance for gold
<img class="imgr" alt="" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-435.jpg">[b]After her brilliant performances in the pursuit and individual races, everyone was anticipating Dasha rising to the occasion in her final race. She didn’t disappoint! Flying like a whirlwind, she had only one miss on the shooting ranges, giving her a third gold medal at the Sochi Olympics. [/b]
Domracheva was a clear favourite by her final race, ahead of Norwegian Tora Berger and light-footed Finn Kaisa Mдkдrдinen. However, the unpredictable Sochi weather was threatening to ruin organisers’ plans and athletes’ hopes.
It seemed fantastic that three gold medals in a row could be achieved but Darya was clearly on form: her success was down to talent and form, rather than luck. Coach Klaus Siebert noted, after her third ‘gold’ finish, “If you ask me whether our team hoped that Dasha would win three gold medals, I can only say that we weren’t looking that far ahead. However, after last season, which I view as very successful, I understood that Domracheva could become an Olympic champion. Of course, definite efforts were needed, so we applied ourselves. Now, she is a multi-medallist of the Sochi Olympic Games. Nevertheless, I’m absolutely convinced that her achievments and medals are a success for our whole team. No biathlete can achieve anything without their team; it’s an individual sport but also, exceptionally, the result of team effort.”
Dasha’s final race once again showed that the Belarusian national team was working perfectly. Dasha almost flew over the wet, sticky Sochi snow, while her opponents seemed to battle up the hills and struggle with the rapid descents of the Laura Sports Complex. After a fall and two misses by Tora Berger, and Mдkдrдinen’s penalty laps, the gold award was clearly between Domracheva and Gabriela Soukalova, from the Czech Republic. If Soukalova had been precise at the last shooting range, fans of the Belarusian could have been concerned, as Dasha set off to cover an additional 150m. However, the Czech sportswoman missed, and Dasha became a three-time Olympic champion, equalling German Kati Wilhelm in this respect. After her final race, the Belarusian shrugged off the statistic, saying, “Before the start of the race, I wasn’t thinking about any records. Here, at the Sochi Olympiad, I’ve been on very good form and have enjoyed each event; I just wanted to continue. I’m very pleased that the fog lifted and the race went ahead. Records are secondary; the vital thing is victory for my Belarus!”
By Dmitry Komashko