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Biathlon Medal Favorites at the 2010 Winter Olympics

If you're watching the biathlon events at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, you might want to know who the medal favorites are before the races begin. The best way to gauge who might medal at the Olympics is to look at who’s been winning at this season’s World Cup events.

The countries that have been doing the best this season are Norway, Germany, and Russia. The racers from these countries definitively have been leading the pack at this year’s World Cup events. The United States is yet to win a biathlon medal, but the U.S.A. has two medal hopefuls this year: Tim Burke and Jeremy Teela.

Women

These five women are the current, clear favorites in biathlon. Expect to see a couple of them on the podiums at the medal ceremony.

Kati Wilhelm (Germany)

Kati won three medals in each of the last two Olympics. Kati, a former Olympic cross-country skier from Schmalkalden, Thuringia, has 13 World Championship medals to date and has remained near the top of the IBU World Cup standings.

Magdalena Neuner (Germany)

Magdalena, nicknamed Turbo-Lena, is Germany’s rising star. Magdalena, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, only hit the World Cup circuit in 2006, but she has already accumulated 15 World Cup wins, which included winning a triple World Championship. She has all the potential necessary to win big; however, she has been known to choke during the standing shooting portion.

Olga Medvedtseva (Russia)

Olga, from Krasnoyarks, is back for another shot at the Olympics. She won a silver medal in 2006, but had to return it after she failed a drug test. Olga has a proven track record; she won a gold and silver in the 2002 Olympics and has many World Cup victories under her belt. And this year, she has something to prove, which can only help her.

Andrea Henkel (Germany)

Andrea, from Llmenau, has been a member of the German team since 1998. Andrea has won three Olympic medals and 11 World Championship medals. This veteran biathlete has consistently performed well over the last several years.

Helena Jonsson (Sweden)

Helena is the reigning World Cup champion. This biathlete from Helgum, Solleftea, has won four World Championship medals (three in the last year). Add to that 20 World Cup medals and Helena has proved that she is a contender.

Men

These six men are the favorites for the 2010 Olympic Biathlon medals. It's a first that not one, but two Americans are contenders.

Ole Einar Bjøerndalen (Norway)

Ole is the man to beat in Vancouver. Hailing from Simostranda, with five Olympic gold medals to his name and 14 World Championship gold medals, and 91 World Cup victories, Bjørndalen is the most decorated biathlete. Barring injury it would be a shock if Bjørndalen doesn’t win something in Vancouver.

Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)

Emil Hegle Svendsen, from Troridheim, was considered a protégé when he arrived at the 2006 Olympics. Since then, he’s consistently finished at the top of the field in nearly all of the World Cup events he’s entered, including gold medals at both of the last two World Championships.

Michael Greis (Germany)

Greis, from Fussen, Bavaria, was the best biathlete at the 2006 Olympics — having won three gold medals. Greis hasn’t been the strongest performer since 2007, which is due in large part to disagreements with his training staff. However, he knows how to win and if he has a good day, he could surprise the field.

Maxim Tchoudov (Russia)

Maxim is Russia’s best chance for a biathlon medal. Born in Bashkotostan, Maxim has been a strong competitor since joining the national team in 2004. Maxim has 7 World Championship medals, including a silver medal this year.

Jeremy Teela (USA)

Jeremy Teela, from Anchorage, AK, is the senior member of the US biathlon team. Jeremy is soldier-athlete who competes for the United States as part of military duty. This past March Jeremy turned in the best American finish in a world Cup event since 1992 — when he earned a bronze at the Olympic test event. Jeremy just might be coming into his own in time for Vancouver.

Tim Burke (USA)

This New York native finished second at a World Cup event this past December. That matches the best effort by an American biathlete — ever! — at a World Cup event. Tim has had several top ten finishes over the last three years and has the potential for doing well at Vancouver.

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