Winter Games Athletes
Ustyugov is the sole reigning Olympic champion to represent Russia and will have the home crowd behind him as he attempts to defend the mass start title he won in Vancouver in 2010. He became the first Russian male to win a biathlon gold since Sergei Tchepikov captured the sprint in 1994. There are questions about Ustyugov’s form since those Games. His only individual medal in any world championships between 2011-13 was silver in the mass start in 2011. His most recent worlds were a struggle with a ninth-place finish and two in 16th. Ustyugov had left knee surgery in New York in April 2012, getting a tour of Manhattan with billionaire Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov - also the head of the Russian biathlon federation. There are signs that Ustyugov is gaining in form with a pair of fourth-place finishes in World Cup events leading up to the Sochi Games. Both of Ustyugov’s parents were cross-country skiers, and his Ukrainian wife is also a biathlete.