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Fourth-Place Medal

German biathlete has a heartbreaking day — she falls, loses a ski pole and gets snow stuck in her rifle

Mike Oz
Fourth-Place Medal
Franziska Preuss biathlon 1
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(Business Insider)

At one point, the German women were the favorites to win Friday's biathlon relay. They're a powerhouse in the event, having medalled at every Winter Olympics since the event was introduced in 1992, a streak that included two golds.

Between a drug controversy that hit the German biathletes earlier in the day, and Franziska Preuss' heartbreaking first leg of the race, things went horribly awry for the Germans on Friday.

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(Business Insider)

Preuss crashed early in the race, though it wasn't televised. When TV cameras caught up to her, she only had one ski pole. As you can imagine, that's not good.

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That wasn't her final speed bump, though. When she arrived at the shooting portion of the race, snow was stuck in her rifle, and she had to blow it out. By the time she took aim, all her competitors were already gone.

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(Business Insider)

At the end of her leg of the relay, the Germans were more than a minute behind. It's safe to say that was a spirit-killer for the Germans, who were already reeling from teammate Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle getting kicked out of the Sochi Games following a testing positive for a stimulant. She wasn't supposed to participate in the relay, but the news still impacted the team.

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After the disappointing performance, Germany's Andrea Henkel, who skied the second leg, told the Associated Press: "We tried to focus on the race, like we all do the time. It was not so easy, but we did our best."

You probably already guessed this by now, but there was no medal this year for the Germans.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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