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

Fourth-Place Medal
(Business Insider)

Franziska Preuss biathlon 1

(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.

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.

[Photos: Heartbreaking look at Team USA's loss to Canada]

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.

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.

[Video: Mikaela Shiffrin on Bode Miller]

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.

More Olympics coverage on Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

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

What to Read Next