There was a moment of drama during the women’s biathlon relay when Swiss athlete Irene Cadurisch collapsed during the race.
The 30-year-old was given medical attention in the finish area and was responsive before being taken away on a stretcher.
Cadurisch is now back recovering in the Olympic village after suffering from reported ‘circulatory problems’.
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"It is extremely bitter to see such pictures.” Said teammate Selina Gasparin afterwards to Swiss news outlet SRF. “I hope that she can recover well now."
Norwegian coach Sverre Huber Kaas was one of the first on the scene to help the stricken biathlete after her fall.
“I saw that there was a Swiss girl who walked very slowly and looked very tired,” he said of the incident.
“Right after she had passed us, she fell into the line and was in a star position”.
“It was a collapse, it was scary to see.”
Kass told Eurosport Norway that he ran to help Cadurisch, dressing her in warm clothes and assisting with her breathing.
“Luckily she got a lot of help quickly,” he added.
Cadurisch is not the first biathlete to collapse at the Beijing Games, following a similarly scary incident involving Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold two days earlier.
The three-time relay world champion – who had health problems previously - collapsed in exhaustion after crossing the line at the end of the 10km pursuit, and had to be helped out of the finish area by Norwegian team officials, although she never lost consciousness.
“I just think I pushed my limits in the altitude and in a tough race," Tandrevold said. "But since I’ve had issues with my heart earlier in my career, we need to be careful and we need to check it out further.”
“I’m not allowed to compete more in these Olympics so I will go home to Norway.”

Medics and staff tend to Switzerland's Irene Cadurisch (Bottom) after she collapsed during the Biathlon Women's 4x6km Relay event, on February 16, 2022 at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre, during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Image credit: Getty Images

Kass believes the intensity of the discipline could be partly responsible for athletes suffering in such a way.
“It is a combination of several things. Tough driving, the height and the cold make it really tough to push yourself here.”
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