Olympics Photo of the Day

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


18 years between medals
Sergei Tchepikov is a survivor. He took up biathlon at the age of 13, and competed in his first World Cup in 1987. His first Olympic participation followed in 1988 in Calgary, for the USSR. After finishing fourth in the 20km, he won bronze in the 10km and then gold with the Soviet relay team. He would play a key role in every relay team of which he was a member.In 1992, at the Winter Games in Albertville, competing for the Unified Team, Sergei placed fourth and 10th in the 10km and 20km events, but won a silver medal in the relay. Two years later in Lillehammer, it was the flag of the Russian Federation which was raised for his victory in the 10km. In the 4 x 7.5km relay, as in 1992, Sergei and his team-mates finished behind the Germans. This was Tchepikov’s fifth Olympic medal.
The Russian Army officer then had to wait 12 years before again mounting an Olympic podium. At the Winter Games in Nagano, his best result was a fifth place in the 4 x 10km relay. In 2002, at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, he finished fourth with the Russian relay team, and eighth in the 20km.At the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Sergei Tchepikov placed fourth in the first event, the 20km, but only 24th in the 10km. He skipped the pursuit events in order to focus on the relay. For this 4 x 7.5km race, he set off in second place after Ivan Tcherezov had gone first. He was neck-and-neck with the French, who would finish in third place. Sergei achieved a faultless shooting performance. His team-mates Pavel Rostovtsev and Nikolay Kruglov could not catch up with the victorious Germans, but secured the silver medal for their efforts. In his last event, the 15 km, Sergei Tchepikov placed fifth.
After these Games in Turin, Sergei Tchepikov became the fourth most titled biathlete of all time. But it is above all his consistency at the highest level which has earned him a place in Olympic history. He competed in six editions of the Olympic Games, won medals in four different editions and mounted the podium 18 years after his first Olympic medal.