Bjørndalen back on the podium

Bjørndalen back on the podium
Ole Einar Bjørndalen was leading the race heading out on his last lap. Photo: Screen shot

While Ole Einar Bjørndalen officially retired after last season, he is still on top of his game.

The 45-year-old, who has 13 Olympic and 45 World Championship medals as well as 95 World Cup victories on his resume, was third in the biathlon pursuit in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Saturday evening.

Related coverage: A living legend retires 

As Bjørndalen approached the finish line in front of 46,000 fans, fellow Madshus racer Benedikt Doll (GER) was waiting for him and giving up his shot at the podium as a gesture to the King of Biathlon. Bjørndalen crossed the line one tenth of a second before Doll.

“For Doll to give up the podium in front of a huge audience on home turf, was incredibly generous and greatly appreciated,” Bjørndalen said to Norwegian broadcaster NRK after the race.

Athlete spotlight: Benedikt Doll 

The spectators inside the soccer stadium went wild.

“This is probably the best crowd in the world,” Bjørndalen said.

The third place on Saturday evening was Bjørndalen’s second podium at the annual show race in Germany. Earlier in the evening he was third in the mass start that was the basis for the evening pursuit.

After missing one target early in the mas start competition, Bjørndalen shot clean the rest of the time at the range. He headed out on the final lap of the mass start in first place, and finished only 6.9 seconds shy of first place.

Daria Domratcheva and Ole Einsr Bjørndalen after the mass start race in Germany on Saturday evening. Photo: Screen shot