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Biathlete does equivalent of spiking football early, nearly loses gold

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Emil Hegle Svendsen, left, and Martin Fourcade
Emil Hegle Svendsen, left, and Martin Fourcade
Harry How

Norway biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen would fit in with NFL players who like to celebrate early by spiking the football at the 1-yard line. His premature celebration nearly cost him the gold medal in today's 15-kilometer mass start. It's my favorite OIympic moment so far and was fun watching it live.

Svendsen started to hotdog it a bit too early by thrusting his arms to the sky for that Olympic Kodak moment. He failed to see France's Martin Fourcade lunging at the finish line next to him. The result was a photo finish with Svendsen getting the gold because judges ruled the front of his foot touched first. It's the foot, not the skis that determines a winner.

Celebration-fail_medium


Svendsen even sounded like an NFL player who makes a bonehead play and then tries to say it wasn't that big of a deal.

"I actually had pretty good control even though it looked very, very close," Svendsen said. "It looked closer than it was for me."

Yeah, right. You can't get closer than "photo finish." Shades of Leon Lett and Danny Trevethan. Fourcade has won two biathlon golds this Olympics and would have had a third had he not missed one target during shooting, resulting in a 20-second penalty.  Or if the race was 1-meter longer.