The first biathlon event at the 2022 Winter Olympics kicks off with the mixed 4x6km relay from the National Biathlon Center. This event will be one of nine mixed biathlon events included in the Games. In the mixed 4x6km relay, two men and two women compete. The event begins with a mass start featuring the first skier from each team. Each skier shoots one prone stage and one standing stage. At each firing sequence, athletes aim to hit five targets and are allowed three extra bullets. Extra targets left standing will consequently require athletes to ski a lap around the 150m penalty loop.
The Norwegian squad is ranked No. 1. As the reigning champions in the women’s and men’s relay, Norway is the favorite to win gold. The Scandinavians are three-time world champions and have won eight of the last nine World Cups. After experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak prior to the Games that affected training, they will have to come back and hold off the second ranked team from Belarus. The French mixed relay team is the previous Olympic champions in the women’s and men’s relay. Veteran Quentin Fillon Maillet, who has yet to win any Olympic hardware, and Anais Chevalier Bouchet will lead the team in hopes of recreating another gold medal run. Despite a mixed level of Olympic experience, the team has solid athletes to compete in the mixed 4x6km relay and could end up on the podium.
Canada, the United States and Japan take the seventh starting row and the 19th, 20th and 21st ranks. Making up the U.S. mixed relay team is Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Sean Doherty and Paul Schommer. The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in biathlon -- the only Winter Olympic sport in which the U.S. has never won a medal. With various levels of past Olympic experience on the U.S. squad, this year's American biathletes hope to end the drought.
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