KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Darya Domracheva's unmatched pace at skiing Friday earned her a second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, and this time she wasn't the only Belarusian on the podium.
With Nadezhda Skardino taking the bronze in the women's 15-kilometer individual race, it was the first time two athletes from the Eastern-European country medaled in the same Winter Games event.
"It's always been my dream to be on one podium with Darya. Now that dream has come true," Skardino said.
Domracheva missed one target — the fourth in her opening round of the standing shooting — but she easily made up the penalty minute for a comfortable victory.
Domracheva, who also won the 12.5K pursuit three days ago, finished in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds — and would still have won even if she had missed another target.
It was Domracheva's third career Olympic medal. She also won bronze in the individual race in Vancouver four years ago.
Selina Gasparin of Switzerland shot cleanly and finished 1:15.7 behind to take silver for her country's first ever medal at a major biathlon championship. Skardino also avoided mistakes and finished 1:38.2 behind.
"It's amazing. I got the info during the race that Nadezhda was second," Domracheva said. "I wasn't surprised because she is such a good shooter."
Domracheva wanted to wait for her teammate in the finish area, but she was so far ahead of the field, she got freezing and went to the dressing room to warm up.
"We have a really good team," Domracheva said. "And the Olympic races are not over yet. I am relaxed now and want to enjoy the next races."
As a junior cross-country skier, Skardino competed for Russia until she was lured by Belarusian biathlon coaches.
"I was not getting results in cross-country and was thinking about giving it up," Skardino said. "They asked me and I really enjoyed shooting. So competing for Belarus was not a decision against Russia but a decision for biathlon."
Gasparin surprised herself by hitting all 20 targets, a feat she had never before achieved in her career.
"That was the first time in my life," said Gasparin, who is the oldest of three sisters competing in the race. "Our parents came to Sochi for this race. That gave me extra strength. All five Gasparins were together tonight."
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