Deedra Irwin skis during the women's biathlon 15-kilometer individual race during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 7, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
Things don’t always go according to plan, but occasionally someone can exceed even her wildest expectations.
Such was the case for Deedra Irwin of Pulaski, Wisconsin, who on Monday turned in the best Olympic performance ever by an American biathlete, finishing seventh in the women’s 15-kilometer individual event at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre northwest of Beijing.
“I was trying to focus on just working on everything I’ve worked on this week,” said Irwin, who is competing in her first Olympic Winter Games, “really skiing the course well and staying calm on the range and being ready for anything — with wind or whatever.
“I had a good game plan, and I was able to execute it. Everything came together. I had no idea how I was doing, and I was just in my zone, and it worked — what the heck.”
What the heck, indeed. Irwin skied and shot with the world’s best biathletes, ultimately finishing just 1 minute, 1.4 seconds behind gold medalist Denise Herrmann of Germany. Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France claimed the silver medal, and Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland took the bronze medal.
Irwin’s American teammates, Clare Egan, Joanne Reid and Susan Dunklee, placed 39th, 57th and 63rd, respectively.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.