Neuner not to compete in women's 4x6 km relay

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After winning two gold medals and one silver at Whistler Olympic Park, Magdalena Neuner of Germany has decided she will not compete for Germany in the women's 4x6km relay on Tuesday.

Long before the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Germany was seen as the big favourite to win gold in the 4x6 km relay. Now they will have to fight for a medal without their best biathlete.

"It was her very own decision. She has reached everything - and maybe even a bit more - than she ever dreamt of at these Olympic Games. So she wanted to give her teammates a chance to win their own medals," said Stefan Schwarzberg, German team press attaché.

Neuner has had great success at the Vancouver Games. In the women's 7.5 km wprint she won wilver, in the women's 10 km pursuit she won gold and in the women's 12.5km mass start she took gold again.

"There was this fear that after succeeding three times, she might be lacking mental strength to perform at her best. She said that she couldn't stand the idea of missing shots due to lack of concentration and thus costing her team a medal," said Schwarzberg.

Germany has won once and finished second once in this season's 4x6 km relay competitions. At the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games Germany won silver in the 4x6 km relay and at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games the team won gold.

Martina Bech is expected to take Neuner's place in the team.

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