PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Sweden’s Jesper Nelin has seen plenty of medals at the Pyeongchang Games, but they were mostly around the neck of his girlfriend Hanna Oeberg until he won a relay gold in the final biathlon race of the Games on Friday.
Nelin had supported Oeberg as she claimed gold in the 15km individual race and followed up with silver in the women’s relay, but he came up agonizingly short in his own efforts, including the mixed relay race the two contested together.
“I also want to have these medals and I felt like we had a really good chance today - we took it and I’m really happy about it,” Nelin told reporters after Fredrik Lindstroem cruised to victory waving the Swedish flag.
“This so fantastically big and beautiful, I really wished this for him. It’s so huge,” a tearful Oeberg told Reuters as her partner face a battery of cameras and microphones.
“He has been brilliant for me, been with me and supported me, he has meant so much to me,” she added, her voice cracking with emotion.
Oeberg and her team mates received their medals at a ceremony on Friday evening before rushing back to the Alpensia Biathlon Centre to cheer on their male colleagues.
Peppe Femling kept pace with the leaders before handing over to Nelin, who in turn put Sebastian Samuelsson in a good position at the head of the pack before Lindstroem took over.
The anchor man kept his cool on the final shoot, using six bullets to hit the five targets as his Norwegian rival Emil Hegle Svendsen missed four times, virtually guaranteeing gold for the Swedes.
“We knew a medal was possible but that the gold would be very difficult. All four did fantastic legs and we solved the situation in a very good way. We are Olympic champions,” Samuelsson told Reuters.
“They were best today, they performed at their peak, they deserve this gold medal so much,” said Oeberg, who will leave Pyeongchang on Saturday morning and miss Jesper’s medal ceremony.
The couple, who live together in an apartment in the Swedish winter sports hub of Ostersund, have not yet decided how they will celebrate or what they will do with the three Olympic medals they have between them.
“We’ll have to find a nice place in the apartment for them,” Oeberg said with a smile.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond