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"He has a talent that few others have in the world because he is a complete biathlete," Bjoerndalen said. "He is a good shooter and a good skier, and he's not one or the other."
After winning five gold medals in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, Bjoerndalen hadn't added to his tally. He'll have two more chances at gold in these games -- with a mass-start race and relay still to come.
Bjoerndalen is the first Olympic biathlete to medal in the same event in three straight Winter Games. He also took silver in this race in Turin. And he's the fourth winter Olympian to collect 10 medals, two shy of Norway's great cross-country skier, Bjoern Daehlie.
America's best biathlete, Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, N.Y., had another tough day. He missed five targets, including three on his final shoot, and finished five minutes back in 41st place in what he figured was his last shot at a medal at the Vancouver Games.
"It's a disaster," Burke said. "The sprint race was not fair, but today I did not succeed."
Burke is the first U.S. biathlete ever to don the coveted yellow bib as the overall World Cup leader, and he was hailed as America's best hope for a breakthrough at Vancouver in the European sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship.
But Burke was done in by a mid-race snowstorm in the sprint, which served as a double-whammy because the start times for the pursuit were based on results from that first race. He finished in 47th in the first race and 46th in the second.
He said earlier in the week that he didn't think he could contend in the mass start because he's not skiing well enough right now. But that's all that's left now for him to end America's drought before Sochi in 2014.
"I have nothing to lose for the mass start," Burke said.
Burke isn't the only American having a tough time at Whistler Olympic Park, where the U.S. team had more training time than any team but the host Canadians.
Jeremy Teela, of Heber City, Utah, awoke with sinus troubles Thursday morning and had to bow out.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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