Biathlon - Roetsch creates Olympic biathlon history

Going into Calgary, no biathlete had ever managed to win the 10km and 20km “double” in the individual competitions at the same Games. Frank-Peter Roetsch was widely tipped to become the first. The East German, who had bagged a silver in the 20km four years earlier in Sarajevo, had modified his skiing technique over the previous few years to great success. He arrived in Calgary as the reigning world champion in both individual events and was therefore a firm favourite.

Picture by IOC

First up was the 20km. Roetsch had won three of the four World Cups in the Olympic cycle leading up to Calgary 1988. His closest challenger was the Soviet Union’s Valery Medvedtsev, himself a former world champion. Medvedtsev produced the stronger shooting display, with just two misses compared to Roetsch's three, but the German made up for that with a stunning skiing display. He was well over a minute quicker than his rival, giving him overall victory by more than 20 seconds.

A similar story unfolded in the 10km. Roetsch attacked the course with great style and confidence, and again Medvedtsev was his closest challenger. Once more the Soviet biathlete proved more accurate on the range, producing a fault-free shooting display.

Roetsch recorded on miss, obliging him to ski a penalty loop, but his speed across the ground enabled him to make up the lost ground, and he ended up crossing the line 15 seconds ahead of Medvedtsev to win his second gold.

Roetsch turned out for a combined German team at the 1992 Winter Games, before retiring from competition to become a TV commentator.