Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Norway captured the first-ever gold medal in the biathlon mixed relay on Wednesday, giving Ole Einar Bjoerndalen the all-time record with his 13th medal in the Winter Olympics.
Bjoerndalen had won the men's 10-kilometer sprint earlier in these Sochi Games, but had failed to reach the medal stand in his three other events. With Norway's win on Wednesday, though, he moved past cross-country skiing compatriot Bjorn Daehlie for the most medals all-time among Winter Olympians.
Bjoerndalen, who is competing in his sixth Olympic Games, will have a chance to tie the overall gold medal record with his ninth on Saturday in the men's 4x7, 5-km relay.
The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen was behind when he started his leg but breezed through the course and was 5-for-5 in his two shooting stations, handing Emil Hegle Svendsen a 43.1 second advantage.
Svendsen, who won the men's 15-km mass start on Tuesday, then closed out the relay for Norway in a winning time of 1 hour, 9 minutes and 17 seconds to give the country three biathlon golds and five overall medals in the sport in these games.
The Czech Republic finished 32.6 seconds behind Norway to win the silver, while Italy claimed the bronze with a time of 1:10:15.2
For the first time ever in the biathlon, a mixed relay event was staged after being voted onto the Olympic program in 2011.
The new mixed relay featured four athletes: two men and two women. The male athlete was required to ski 7.5-kilometer loops and shoot from both the prone and the standing position, while the females, who also shot from the standing and the prone position, were required to ski six- kilometer loops.