Svendsen, Fourcade battle for 1st biathlon gold

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm •  Published: February 7, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Ole Einar Bjoerndalen will have a first shot at his seventh career Olympic gold medal Saturday, though fellow Norwegian Emil Hegle Svendsen and France's Martin Fourcade will start as favorites in the men's 10-kilometer sprint.

The most decorated biathlete of all time, veteran Bjoerndalen turned 40 last month and, once nicknamed "The Cannibal," he is still hungry for titles.

However, a victory Saturday would be an upset as Bjoerndalen's last win in an individual competition came almost two years ago in a World Cup 12.5K pursuit in Finland.

All eyes will be on a possible duel between Svendsen and Fourcade, who have each racked up four wins this World Cup season.

Svendsen beat Fourcade to the world title last year, but the Frenchman has won three of the last seven sprints in the World Cup and reached the podium in nine of his last 11 races. He leads Svendsen in the overall standings going into the Olympics.

Fourcade believes the tough Olympic course could suit him as he looks to follow in the footsteps of retired fellow Frenchman Vincent Jay, who won the sprint title in Vancouver four years ago.

"It's feeling good, the course is good, demanding," Fourcade said. "I want to get going."

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