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Eduard Latypov said it was his fault that the Russian team was forced to settle for bronze
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) biathlon star Eduard Latypov has shouldered responsibility for the disastrous conclusion to the men’s 4 x 7.5km relay race at the Beijing Games, where he seemingly let gold slip from his team’s grasp.
The last man to race of the Russian quartet, Latypov entered his leg having a 40-second gap. He managed to increase the lead after the first shoot, increasing anticipation of an impending gold.
But joy quickly turned to despair after Latypov’s last shoot, where the 27-year-old missed five targets – a mistake which sent him on two penalty loops. The error not only destroyed Russia’s 50-second advantage but buried the team’s chances of gold.
© Getty Images /Patrick Smith
Latypov managed to secure a bronze, finishing behind Norway and France, but couldn’t hide his disappointment after the race.
“It’s safe to say that I failed to do my job,” Latypov said. “I think our fans are disappointed. And I’m disappointed as well. I apologize for this. We were fighting for gold. We all wanted this, the guys did their best to achieve this. But I failed to secure the lead during my leg.
“The standing shoot went wrong. I tried to wait out the gust of wind, which was quite strong. I didn’t feel great – there wasn’t the necessary concentration and it was impossible to cope with this gust of wind.
“I tried to refocus, but then psychology worked when something goes wrong and does not work out. I relaxed a little bit, while using extra bullets. I knew I need to hit all the targets.
“The advantage was lost and all I could do to work hard during the final lap,” Latypov added in quotes shared by the ROC.
“We managed to at least secure third place. It’s very important for the guys, and for me. Because this is the Olympic Games.
“Finishing third is also a decent result. It is good that we were able to win this award in fierce competition.
“Biathlon is an unpredictable sport where everything can turn upside down just after one shoot. I believe that this will make me stronger and everything will be fine,” he added.
Words of support came from Latypov’s teammates, who suggested that the weather conditions had been difficult to manage.
“It was a very difficult and interesting race. And we are very happy to be on the podium,” said Alexander Loginov, who skied the second leg.
“And Edik [Eduard] Latypov was great. Today there were very extreme weather conditions, it was difficult to shoot. I know all this myself, I went through it. Therefore, we should be happy to have an Olympic medal.”
Retired Norwegian biathlon legend and the holder of eight Olympic medals Emil Hegle Svendsen also supported the Russian athlete, noting he had endured something similar.
My thoughts&feelings also to Ed Latypov, I’ve been there(2014). Take good care of him Russian people 😊❤️🇷🇺
— Emil Hegle Svendsen (@SuperSvendsen) February 15, 2022
“My thoughts&feelings also to Ed Latypov, I’ve been there(2014). Take good care of him Russian people,” tweeted Svendsen.
Eight years ago, Svendsen sent his team out of contention for gold after four shooting errors and one penalty lap during the final leg of the men’s relay race at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.