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| Event type

20 kilometres, Men

Date12 February 1968
StatusOlympic
LocationAutrans
Participants60 from 16 countries
FormatVariable penalty for each missed target. The target had two circles, an inner and an outer. Shots outside the outer circle brought a two-minute penalty. Shots between the circles brought a one-minute penalty.
Venue detailsCourse Length: ?
Height Differential: 125 m
Maximum Climb: 85 m
Shooting 1: Prone at 4 km, 150 m range
Shooting 2: Standing at 9 km, 150 m range
Shooting 3: Prone at 12.5 km, 150 m range
Shooting 4: Standing at 17.5 km, 150 m range
Total Climbing: 620 m

Since the 1964 Games Norway had emerged as the strongest opponent to the Soviet biathletes, with individual World Championships for Olav Jordet, the Olympic bronze medalist from 1964, in 1965, and Jon Istad in 1966. The World Champion of 1967, Viktor Mamatov, was considered the strongest Soviet contender for the gold medal. To the surprise of many Norwegian journalists, a 31-year-old newcomer on the international circuit, Magnar Solberg was given the last place on the Norwegian team, and former World Champion Olav Jordet became only a substitute.

The youngest member on the Soviet team, 21-year-old Aleksandr Tikhonov, was the first to start out of 60 competitors from 16 countries. The silver medalist of the 1967 World Championships, the 33-year-old Pole Stanisław Szczepaniak, was wearing start number two, and Magnar Solberg followed with start number three. Those three early starters should more or less dominate the event.

After the first round of shooting the Soviet Union’s Vladimir Gundartsev had a scant lead, only two seconds ahead of Solberg, with Nikolay Puzanov 42 seconds behind in third place, all of them with 5 hits. On the second shooting round both Solberg and Gundartsev continued with perfect shooting scores, but Solberg had built a one minute lead. Szczepaniak had advanced from seventh to third place, another minute behind. The third shooting session turned out to be decisive. Solberg once again was perfect, while both Gundartsev and Szczepaniak sustained one-minute penalties. Tikhonov, with two penalty minutes on his two first shooting rounds, was now in second place, over one and a half minutes behind, with Gundartsev another minute behind in third place. The last round of shooting brought no change among the medal candidates. Solberg made his fourth perfect shooting round, and would finish the race as a surprising gold medal winner, 55 second ahead of Tikhonov, the fastest skier of the day. Gundartsev secured the bronze medal half a minute ahead of Szczepaniak, but was 4:42 behind the gold medalist.

Magnar Solberg, a police officer from Trondheim, was an unexpected winner. He had never before done all perfect shooting rounds in a competition, and he had never even won a national championship. His only national championships was won four years later, just before his second Olympic appearance in the 1972 Sapporo Games. The silver medalist Aleksandr Tikhonov was at the start of an impressive international career which included three more Olympic appearances.

PosNrBiathleteNOCTimePenaltiesSkiing (Pos)
13Magnar SolbergNOR1-13:45.901-13:45.9 (2)Gold
21Aleksandr TikhonovURS1-14:40.421-12:40.4 (1)Silver
331Vladimir GundartsevURS1-18:27.421-16:27.4 (5)Bronze
42Stanisław SzczepaniakPOL1-18:56.811-17:56.8 (10)
525Arvo KinnariFIN1-19:47.921-17:47.9 (8)
616Nikolay PuzanovURS1-20:14.531-17:14.5 (7)
758Viktor MamatovURS1-20:20.811-19:20.8 (23)
817Stanisław ŁukaszczykPOL1-20:28.141-16:28.1 (6)
938Kalevi VähäkyläFIN1-20:56.531-17:56.5 (9)
108Horst KoschkaGDR1-21:37.731-18:37.7 (16)
1142Jon IstadNOR1-21:43.121-19:43.1 (24)
125Theo MerkelFRG1-22:10.541-18:10.5 (13)
1357Ola WærhaugNOR1-22:12.931-19:12.9 (20)
1411Constantin CarabelaROU1-22:52.201-22:52.2 (41)
1540Pavel PlocTCH1-23:05.051-18:05.0 (11)
166Roger BeanGBR1-24:07.551-19:07.5 (19)
1710Lars-Göran ArwidsonSWE1-24:08.961-18:08.9 (12)
1819Dieter SpeerGDR1-24:13.361-18:13.3 (14)
1924Olle PetrussonSWE1-24:31.261-18:31.2 (15)
2041Holmfrid OlssonSWE1-25:01.861-19:01.8 (18)
2153Hansjörg KnautheGDR1-25:04.921-23:04.9 (42)
2226Vilmoș GheorgheROU1-26:07.361-20:07.3 (26)
2350Gheorghe CimpoiaROU1-26:36.511-25:36.5 (53)
2444Heinz KlugeGDR1-26:55.271-19:55.2 (25)
2514Yrjö SalpakariFIN1-27:11.671-20:11.6 (27)
2628Ragnar TveitenNOR1-27:17.4111-16:17.4 (3)
2729Ralph WakleyUSA1-27:32.951-22:32.9 (40)
2827Miki ShibuyaJPN1-27:37.161-21:37.1 (33)
2939Nicolae BărbășescuROU1-28:05.341-24:05.3 (49)
3060Nore WestinSWE1-28:09.471-21:09.4 (32)
3154Mauno LuukkonenFIN1-28:15.891-19:15.8 (21)
3235Gerhard GehringFRG1-28:26.881-20:26.8 (29)
339Isao OnoJPN1-28:47.881-20:47.8 (30)
3446Shozo OkuyamaJPN1-28:51.071-21:51.0 (37)
3530Jean-Claude ViryFRA1-29:16.2101-19:16.2 (22)
3634Frederick AndrewGBR1-29:21.371-22:21.3 (39)
374Bill SpencerUSA1-30:17.7101-20:17.7 (28)
3832Bayanjavyn DamdinjavMGL1-30:30.761-24:30.7 (50)
3923Xaver KrausFRG1-30:40.2121-18:40.2 (17)
4037Paul ErnstAUT1-31:47.961-25:47.9 (54)
4149Herbert HindelangFRG1-31:48.5101-21:48.5 (36)
4213Aimé Gruet-MassonFRA1-31:50.4111-20:50.4 (31)
4351Hajime YoshimuraJPN1-32:05.591-23:05.5 (43)
4418Alan NotleyGBR1-32:23.171-25:23.1 (52)
4548Edward WilliamsUSA1-32:24.591-23:24.5 (45)
467Esko KaruCAN1-32:42.9111-21:42.9 (34)
4755Horst SchneiderAUT1-33:49.691-24:49.6 (51)
4847Józef StopkaPOL1-34:17.7121-22:17.7 (38)
4933Jon ChaffeeUSA1-34:21.1111-23:21.1 (44)
5020Adolf ScherwitzlAUT1-34:21.741-30:21.7 (59)
5143George EdeCAN1-34:41.881-26:41.8 (56)
5221Bizyaagiin DashgaiMGL1-34:55.881-26:55.8 (57)
5352James BoydeCAN1-35:02.081-27:02.0 (58)
5415George RattaiCAN1-35:03.0111-24:03.0 (48)
5522Ladislav ŽižkaTCH1-35:45.3141-21:45.3 (35)
5612Franz VetterAUT1-36:25.0201-16:25.0 (4)
5759Louis RomandFRA1-37:55.2121-25:55.2 (55)
5836Guy DuraffourgFRA1-41:51.4181-23:51.4 (47)
5956Marcus HallidayGBR1-42:40.5191-23:40.5 (46)
AC45Józef Gąsienica SobczakPOL– (–)DNF