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Kuzmina takes 20-second lead into Olympic pursuit

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Her strong run to gold in Sunday's 7.5-kilometer sprint has earned Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia a useful head start in the second women's biathlon event at the Sochi Olympics.

Kuzmina will get on course 20 seconds ahead of the next starter in the 10K pursuit on Tuesday, making her a strong candidate for a second straight medal.

Russia's Olga Vilukhina starts second and Ukraine's Vita Semerenko has to make up 22 seconds coming from third.

Other medal contenders, including Darya Domracheva of Belarus and Tora Berger of Norway, are more than half a minute behind as the start order and interval have been determined by Sunday's sprint results.

Here are five things to know about the Tuesday's pursuit.

KUZMINA'S DOUBLE: If previous Olympics are an accurate predictor, Anastasiya Kuzmina will likely win silver. Since the women's pursuit became part of the Winter Games in 2002, two of the three times the winner of the sprint ended runner-up in the pursuit. Kati Wilhelm of Germany did it in 2002 and Kuzmina achieved the feat in 2010. If Kuzmina takes gold this time, she would become the first woman to win an Olympic sprint-pursuit double. "We will see," Kuzmina said. "It's biathlon, you can never say what is written tomorrow." History, maybe?

MAKARAINEN'S MALAISE: After five of eight World Cup events, Kaisa Makarainen leads the season's pursuit standings. However, the Finn is out of the favorite's circle for the Olympic pursuit title after missing two targets in her final round of shooting in Sunday's sprint. She dropped to 30th and will start the pursuit a massive 1 minute, 12 seconds behind Kuzmina.

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