Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Before Anastasiya Kuzmina came along, Slovakia had never before won a Winter Olympics gold medal.
Thanks to Kuzmina, it now has two.
Kuzmina successfully defended her Olympic gold medal in the 7.5-kilometer biathlon sprint on Sunday at the Sochi Winter Games, doing so by a comfortable margin over Russian Olga Vilukhina.
The 29-year-old Kuzmina used a time of 19 minutes and 55.6 seconds to capture gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Though she was a tad slower in Sochi, Kuzmina's time of 21:06.8 without a penalty in the shooting stage was not bested.
Vilukhina, who placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships, finished 19.9 seconds behind Kuzmina to grab silver for the host country, while Ukraine's Vita Semerenko earned bronze with a time of 21:28.5.
Semerenko had bronzed as well at the recent World Championships, won by fellow Ukrainian Olena Pidhrushna, who finished 26th in Sochi.
Norway's Tora Berger also was considered a favorite in this event, but came in 10th with a time of 21:40.6.
Though the U.S. failed to earn its first-ever woman's Olympic medal in the biathlon, Susan Dunklee had the top showing by an American in Sochi at 14th with a time of 21:48.3. The previous best showing by an American woman was Joan Smith's 21st-place finish at the 1992 Games.
Rosanna Crawford had the best showing by a Canadian athlete, finishing 25th and 1:04.0 off the gold medal-winning pace.