Of course, every athlete who competes in the Olympics hopes to win a medal, but for some, just finishing with a personal best can be a life-changing experience. This was definitely the case for biathlete Deedra Irwin in the women’s 15km individual event. She finished seventh in the race, the highest finish ever for an American in a biathlon individual event at the Olympics.
The 29-year-old was overcome with emotion at the finish line.
Even wiping away tears during her NBC interview.
Irwin is competing in her first Olympics and just wanted a strong showing on Monday.
“I was trying to focus on just working on everything I’ve worked on this week,” Irwin said after her race.
She really did just that, never having finished higher than 55th in a biathlon world cup individual race.
Irwin added, “I had a good gameplan, and I was able to execute it. Everything came together. I had no idea how I was doing, and I was just in my zone, and it worked — what the heck.”
The Wisconsin native shot 19/20 and finished just 1 minute, 1.4 seconds behind gold medalist Denise Herrmann of Germany. For perspective on just how good Irwin's race was, if she shot 20/20 she would have won silver.
Her reward for her career-best finish? Some Goldfish in bed!
Fellow Americans Clare Egan, Joanne Reid and Susan Dunklee, placed 39th, 57th and 63rd, respectively.